The sunny beaches of one of the world's most notorious tax havens will have to wait for some other day for Cheryl Womack.
A feverish effort to appeal a federal judge's decision to shackle the indicted businesswoman from Mission Hills fell on deaf ears late Monday.
Another federal judge rejected Womack's appeal to get her passport back in time to make a jaunt to the Cayman Islands for a New Year's Eve gathering. Womack said she needed to go to the Caribbean island to glad-hand newly elected officials there in hopes of starting some garbage-to-energy project in the Cayman Islands.
The Cayman Islands don't directly tax its citizens or companies and have strict banking secrecy laws, which make the British territory attractive to drug dealers and tax cheats.
Without explanation, a federal judge denied Womack's appeal. An earlier ruling surmised that Womack could carry out her mission by way of video conferencing.
Womack was popped on December 11
for what the government alleges was a $10 million tax fraud that investigators believe was perpetrated in part through her business interests and bank accounts in the Cayman Islands. People who come under the thumb of the Justice Department often lose their passport while their legal issues get sorted out. The indictment, the charges of which have not yet been tested in court, has cast a pall on the career of one of Kansas City's better-known businesswomen.
According to a lengthy online resume
, Womack was the third oldest among 11 siblings from Kansas City, Kansas. The Wyandotte High School (and later, University of Kansas) graduate was making $17,000 a year at an insurance company when she was 33 years old. She got tired of pulling that kind of wage and started her own company, the National Association of Independent Truckers, in 1981. That company sold in 2002 for $35 million. Afterward, Womack got into venture capital and nonprofit foundation management and fundraising, among other things.
But the Justice Department has investigated Womack since 2008 on the suspicion that she raked in unreported income through a byzantine maze of offshore bank accounts and business entities primarily in the Cayman Islands.
Authorities don't want her traveling there, or anywhere abroad. Womack has a residence in the Caymans and is considered a permanent resident there, a distinction that requires her to live a certain number of days on the island.
It's not clear if she will return there anytime soon, or at all.