Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Jacob Ostreicher is a 53-year-old flooring contractor from Brooklyn, N.Y. After the construction industry collapsed in the U.S. in 2008, Jacob said he heard from a family friend, a prominent lawyer in Switzerland, about a promising investment opportunity: growing rice in Bolivia.
Ostreicher said he put $200,000, his life savings, into the venture and became a very junior partner in a $25 million project.
But in 2011, Bolivian police arrested one of Ostreicher's former employees and accused him of being involved with drug criminals. Ostreicher said he cooperated fully with police -- and then was arrested himself. Prosecutors claimed they were investigating whether the $25 million that started the rice business came from drug money.
Ostreicher has spent the past 11 months at the Palmasola prison in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, accused of money laundering but not charged.
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