OFFICIALS from the U.S. Embassy this week confirmed that a North American man who committed suicide in his Costa Rican jail cell just after being captured on an extradition order Feb. 20 was a key player in a transnational tax-shelter scheme known as Anderson’s Ark and Associates (AAA).
The man’s name was George Burke, but he was also known as George Kof, George Chester and Gene Cody, according to authorities.
Burke was arrested by agents of the Judicial Investigative Police (OIJ) at 11 a.m., and was found dead in his San José cell around 12:30 p.m., OIJ officials said.
Burke was a Canadian citizen, officials said, but was captured on an extradition order originating from the U.S. District Court, Western District of California, where he was wanted for conspiracy, money-laundering and electronic and wire fraud charges stemming from his alleged participation in Anderson’s Ark.
LILY Ellerton, a spokeswoman from the Canadian Embassy, said the only information the embassy had pertaining to Burke was that he had applied for a Canadian passport in May 2003, but his application was not processed because his paperwork was incomplete.
Authorities believe Anderson’s Ark, suspected of laundering money through Costa Rican companies, cost the U.S. Internal Revenue Service some $28 million (TT, April 12, 2002).
Keith Anderson, the mastermind of the scheme, told The Tico Times in 2002 that he first began intentionally rebelling against the U.S. tax system in 1979, when he learned tax dollars were being used to fund abortion clinics.
“I had to come to grips with one of two things,” he said (TT, April 26, 2002). “Financially supporting the mass murder by giving funds to the government, or deciding to serve God Almighty, our creator, and oppose it.”
ANDERSON nearly avoided extradition after his Feb. 9, 2002, arrest by obtaining Costa Rican citizenship, but his final citizenship documents were withheld after the Civil Registry’s Naturalization Department learned of the charges against him. Before he was extradited to the United States in late 2002, Anderson had needed surgery for a hernia, and spent some time chained to his hospital bed (TT, April 26, Aug. 23, 2002).