The Harris Organization financial services group has been evicted from its offices in Panama City for non-payment of rent; The revocation of the banking license of Baltic Bank Ltd. earlier this year by the Offshore Finance Authority of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has been stayed by Justice Brian Alleyne, sitting in the local High Court, according to a source familiar with the action; The battle for control of $6.5 million of frozen assets of a now-defunct, Dominica-based Ponzi scheme known as Stock Generation is dragging on through the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts; Grenada Prime Minister Keith Mitchell and several other members of his Cabinet have received an award of $200,000, plus legal costs of $10,000, after winning a libel action brought against local journalist Stanley Charles, businessman and radio talk show producer Eddie Frederick and Grenada Broadcasting Network; The Central Bank of Belize has issued warnings about two entities that may be incorrectly holding themselves out to be licensed financial institutions: Trinity Savings Bank and Goldman & Stein; A Bermuda resident has accused the island's biggest law firm, Conyers, Dill & Pearman, of charging exorbitant fees for taking two trustees off her will, reported The Royal Gazette newspaper; A new date of July 15, 2002 has been set for the resumed hearing in the Bahamas of the appeal brought by the directors of Suisse Security Bank & Trust Ltd. against the decision of the Central Bank revoking SSBT's licence; and The lack of concern shown by the operators of the Financial Times web-site for the financial well-being of its visitors continues.
The recent collapse of the Imperial Consolidated Group and the eviction of The Harris Organization from its office space in Panama (see 'Insider Talking') is further proof of the value of OffshoreAlert. Imperial Consolidated's dubious activities were first exposed in OffshoreAlert on November 30, 1999 - 29 months before its offshore bank was taken over by Grenada's regulators and, remarkably, more than two months before it was even established.
OffshoreAlert has received a letter from an Arizona based client of Grenada licensed Cornerstone International Savings and Investment Bank, which was taken over by the Grenada authorities on April 25, 2002 - AFTER the bank's principals had already disappeared without
Business associated with Imperial Consolidated founders Lincoln Fraser and Jared Brook applies for permission to use a property on an old Royal Air Force base in England to store and test military equipment, Offshore Finance Authority of St. Vincent & the Grenadines revokes licenses of nine offshore banks, BVI Financial Secretary L. Allen Wheatley suspended from his duties after being arrested and charged with conspiracy to defraud, Bahamas International Securities Exchange reports net loss of $2.24 million for the 11 monthsended June 30, 2001, criminal action against Yank Barry drags on in Texas, British businessman Sean Quinn charged with US$3 million fraud in Barbados, former FIBG principals fail to comply with subpoeans, and the ego of Marc Harris apparently knows no bounds.
COLOMBIA: News of a kidnapping; GUATEMALA: A tale of embezzlement; HONDURAS: Funny transactions in Honduras; A law against money laundering; NICARAGUA: New charges against Interbank executives; PANAMA: New dirty links between Peru and Panama; Portillo tarnished by accusations; URUGUAY: BCCI's death throes; and REGIONAL: Waves from Washington; Latin America EXTRA.
Subpoenas have been sent out to several former officers of the First International Bank of Grenada, including Rita Regale, Robert Skirving and Van Brink, to appear for examination in Grenada as part of the liquidation process being carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers; Yet another Grenada offshore bank has gone out of business amid allegations of fraud against its clients; The Bank of Bermuda has estimated that its remaining potential liability to outstanding litigation relating to the Cayman-based Cash 4 Titles Ponzi scheme, excluding the $67.5 million settlement of a class action lawsuit in the United States, is no greater than $20 million; A civil complaint alleging 'dumpster diving' against international debt recovery firm Interclaim that was reported in last month's edition of OffshoreAlert has been dropped; The incredibly slow - yet inevitable - collapse of The Harris Organization financial services group of Panama appears to be closer than ever; and Bermuda-based stockbroker Carol Green has been ordered by a local court to repay $143,536 of debt run up with her former employer Lines Overseas Management.
This month's edition of OffshoreAlert marks our fifth anniversary of continuous publication, having launched the newsletter on February 24, 1997. In the 60 editions since that date, OffshoreAlert has exposed many financial frauds committed around the globe involving many hundreds of millions of dollars.
A client of financial services provider Marc Harris has confirmed to OffshoreAlert that he is taking legal action in Panama in an attempt to recover an investment of approximately $1 million.An article was published in La Prensa newspaper in November
More has become known about the re branding of the First Nevisian Group, which is now known as The FN Group, and the partial move from Nevis to the Dominican Republic, where its "strategic partner" is H. E. Partners, which
The long-awaited criminal trial of Bahamas resident Yank Barry in Texas on charges that he bribed a prison governor to secure a lucrative contract for his soy-based food firm called VitaPro is due to start on August 7, 2001 following previous delays; A look at OffshoreBanc.com; Kevin Mann, Registrar of Mutual Funds in the British Virgin Islands, has issued a Cease and Desist Order against Ian Renert's so-called Equivest Premier Holdings (BVI) Inc., which has been holding itself out to be an offshore mutual fund manager; Evergreen Security - details about creditors and how much they are owed; The 'New Utopia' farce continues; Bahamian Hubert Bowe is still trotting out press releases at www.alexandersworld.net claiming that he is about to "break ground" on a major development called Alexander's World; The last remains of FIBG's sham insurer, IDIC, disappeared recently when its web-site at www.idic-ec.org went off-line; The purchase of about 10 million shares in Manchester United PLC for some GBP28 million (US$40 million) by BVI-registered The Cuban Expression Company Ltd. - pushing its overall stake up to 6.77 per cent - caused quite a stir among business and soccer reporters in England; Further misrepresentation by The Harris Organization of Panama; and Paul de Weerd leaves his position as Superintendent of the Turks & Caicos Financial Services Commission.
The Harris Organization financial services group has set up yet another Internet bank that is being operated without a license.Operating from a web-site at www.ginvestmentgroup.com, G Investment Group claims that it is "a diversified financial services company providing clients a broad range of international structures involving financial, asset protection and investment opportunities".
Marc Harris clients Tony Vigna and his son, Joseph, have been sentenced to prison terms of 24 months and 18 months, respectively, at the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida after previously pleading guilty to tax evasion.
A sham insurer operated by The Harris Organization financial services group of Panama is being sued by creditors of Lifeblood Biomedical Inc., which is in bankruptcy in the United States.Threshold Insurance Services Ltd. has been accused of providing "fictitious insurance coverage" for about $10 million of Promissory Notes issued by Lifeblood Medical, which itself was a sham firm.
Marc Harris clients Tony Vigna and his son, Joseph, have been sentenced to prison terms of 24 months and 18 months, respectively, at the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida after previously pleading guilty to tax evasion.
Ned Richard Hart, who was criminally indicted on February 23, 2000 along with Nevis based offshore provider Raymond David Finzer and Christian G. Cooper, pleaded guilty to one count each of fraud and money laundering on May 21, 2001 at
The Panama Securities Commission has turned down an investment advisor application by Harris Investment Advisory Inc., which is part of The Harris Organization group. A Commission spokesman said the application was rejected primarily because of "the number of complaints we have received from Harris clients alleging all sorts of dubious practices".
Harris Organization clients Tony and Joseph Vigna have each pleaded guilty to three criminal counts relating to tax evasion at the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, in Miami, in an attempt to minimize their sentence, which is due to be handed down on May 25, 2001.
Former Marc Harris clients Tony Vigna and his son, Joseph, appear to be about to change their plea on money laundering and other criminal charges from not guilty to guilty in Miami.What is described on the court docket sheet as a 'Change of Plea Hearing' has been set for March 2, 2001 before Judge Daniel Hurley at the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Offshore regulators act against banks named in U. S. Senate's 'Correspondent Banking: A Gateway to Money Laundering' report, Marc Harris denounces attempt to strip him of Panamanian citizenship, David Voth comes up with a novel excuse as to why he can't make investment pay-outs, complaints about Morrison Cross Financial Investments start coming in, details of relatively-recent lawsuits involving Jerome Schneider and/or related entities, U. S. court approves settlement plan between Heartland Financial Services and investors who received "false profits", Pittsburgh travel agent Roy Davis Jr. becomes latest victim of John Mathewson's co-operation with US authorities, sset freeze order issued against Midpoint Trading Corporation, Euro Bank Corp. 'Preliminary Inquiry' hearing starts in Cayman Islands.
During the course of 2000, Offshore Alert received many telephone calls and e-mails from clients of The Harris Organization financial services group in Panama who claimed to have been defrauded of various amounts of money; After Tony Vigna was recently deported from Panama to face criminal charges in Miami, further details emerged of a fake British passport that was obtained for him by The Harris Organization when he fled the US before being indicted; Standard Hellier Bank and Allianz Trade Reinsurance web-sites become inactive after investigation by Offshore Alert; We have been told by the Grenada Supreme Court that between 10 and 15 civil lawsuits have now been filed against the First International Bank of Grenada group; The default judgment entered against the Bank of Bermuda in favor of the Receiver of the Cash 4 Titles alleged Ponzi scheme at a US federal court on November 20, 2000 was set aside ten days later; Clyde DHood, the small-town electrician in Illinois who persuaded thousands of suckers all over the world to mail him millions of dollars just by promising high returns, remains in jail after his bail application was turned down; Canadian crook Jordan Bionda seems to subscribe to the philosophy that 'the best form of defense is attack'; and Americans are regarded virtually all over the world as being parochial in that they tend not to travel abroad, generally know little about other countries or world affairs and, rather insultingly to the rest of the world's population, give themselves titles such as 'World Champions' when they win a national championship, be it in basketball, baseball, American football or whatever.
Offshore Alert has uncovered another dubious investment fund being promoted by The Harris Organization financial services group of Panama. The objective of the Washington Pacific Investment Fund is "to achieve a rate of return of 100% per annum" by investing in "mortgage backed securities and liens", according to a prospectus.
The Bahamas-based HINT MasterCard credit card program that was offered by the Imperial Consolidated Group has been terminated by the issuing bank, Leadenhall Bank & Trust, and the data processor, Axxess International, which are both based in the Bahamas. In other news, Brent Wagman has been sentenced to five years in prison in Texas and fined $19.7 million for investment fraud.
In an attempt to more accurately gauge the expectations of investors when they go offshore, we decided not to close last month's Internet poll on offshore investing but to keep it going indefinitely; Approximately 1,911 investors have filed claims totaling US$189.3 million, according to the latest report by the Receiver of the Cash 4 Titles alleged Ponzi scheme, which operated largely out of the United States, the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas; Controversial businessman Yank Barry, who hails from Montreal in Canada, has been given his passport back by Judge Lynn Hughes sitting at the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, where Barry is awaiting trial on eight counts of bribery, fraud and money laundering; The Panama Supreme Court has still not ruled on a dispute between The Harris Organization and La Comisión Nacional de Valores (National Securities Commission), which ordered the suspension of the financial services group's operations for operating without a license; The State of Washington Department of Financial Institutions Securities Division has issued a Cease and Desist Order against Grenada-registered Joie De Vie Ventures Inc., which Offshore Alert exposed earlier this year, and Arthur Kilner, d.ba. Kilner Enterprises Ltd.; and We recently contacted Bill Wallace, of Pannell Kerr Forster, in Nassau, to ask how his accounting firm was able to perform a competent audit of several Bahamas and Grenada-registered mutual funds operated by the Imperial Consolidated Group when the BVI-registered companies upon which the funds' solvency entirely depends do not appear to be audited.
Two more clients of The Harris Organization have been arrested in Panama and deported to their native United States to face trial on criminal charges. Anthony Vigna, 68, and his son, Joseph, 35, were arrested on November 9, 2000 as they left their homes in Panama and immediately flown to Miami, where they are being held in custody.
Midasco Gold Corp's dubious offshore private placement participants, Turks & Caicos Islands regulator issues warning against Orion Bank & Trust, Canadian lawsuit filed against Bermuda-based investment firm GulfStream Financial Ltd., prospectus for Bermuda Money Funds identifies long-deceased Bermudian attorney as its chairman, Better Business Bureau in Costa Rica angered by Harris Organization's false claim to be a member, New Utopia scam keeps going and going, superseding indictment brought against Nevis-based offshore provider Robin Cotterell.
After months of ignoring blatant illegalities, Panamanian regulators finally acted against The Harris Organization financial services group this month and suspended its business operations. However, an Order by La Comisión Nacional de Valores (National Securities Commission) was itself suspended by the Panamanian Supreme Court following an application by The Harris Organization.
La Prensa newspaper in Panama reported today that La Comisión Nacional de Valores, which is the Panamanian equivalent of the SEC in the United States, has suspended the business operations of The Harris Organization financial services group, which is headquartered in Panama but has its main entities incorporated in the British Virgin Islands and Nevis.
Investors who claim they were swindled by a Bahamas-based stockbroking firm are preparing legal action in a bid to recover approximately $12 million in lost funds. The investors claim they were sold dubious stocks traded on the NASDAQ over-the-counter market by Equity Management Group Ltd., which operated from the Bahamas Financial Centre in Nassau.
Marc M. Harris, head of The Harris Organization financial services group, has been criminally charged with investment fraud in Panama, according to La Prensa newspaper.Current Harris Organization officer Ilka M. Barria and former employees Alan McAloon, Kenneth Taylor and Christine Ledezma have also apparently been charged.
A Florida motel controlled by The Harris Organization has been put into receivership after the Panama-based financial services group defaulted on an $11,820 per month mortgage. A receiver for Neptune's Hideaway Motel Inc., in Key Largo, was appointed by the 16th Judicial Court for Monroe County on June 20, 2000 after an application on June 6 by creditor LRJ Realty Inc.
The Jeeves Group, which operates out of Liechtenstein and St. Vincent, has been named in a UK government investigation into an alleged scam involving more than GBP7 million. The group represented two St. Vincent-registered companies that were part of an organization involved in the fraudulent sale of shares and timeshare holidays to the public, according to the Department of Trade & Industry.
Granger Brewster Whitelaw, the founding CEO of one of Bermuda's first e-commerce companies, EOCnet.com, pleads guilty to a criminal misdemeanor in New York, arrest warrant issued for Canadian chartered accountant Steven Brown following fraud investigation in the Turks & Caicos Islands, Panama Attorney General Jose Antonio Sossa orders arrests of four journalists, liquidators of Bermuda-based Telecheck group complete liquidation, Imperial Consolidated (Bahamas) boss Bill Godley receives compensation of $65,000 per month.
Robin Cotterell released on bail pending trial on money laundering charge, SG Hambros and Coutts settle Bahamas lawsuit, casino web-site's links to the Bahamas, where Internet gaming is prohibited; Canadian regulators issues warning about Cayman International Holdings, First International Bank of Grenada fraudsters open a new bank, investors in Versailles finance group apply to liquidate BVI firm Trading Partners, Harris Organization has Nov. 24 deadline to obtain investment manager's license in Panama, Imperial Consolidated Securities SA offers "High-Yield Investment Facility", Cayman Islands passes Electronic Transactions Bill and Computer Misuse Bill.
The Panamanian authorities have received yet another request for assistance from a foreign agency investigating alleged crimes involving The Harris Organization financial services group. La Prensa, which is the main newspaper in Panama, reported in June that Interpol in Wiesbaden, Germany, had submitted a written request for help to their counterparts in Panama on March, 8, 2000. According to La Prensa, the Germans are investigating an alleged fraud committed in Germany and Switzerland and allegedly involving Heinz Richard, 52, someone called 'Hintermeier' and a company named Victus Commerz AG.
Harris Organization client and business partner Brent Wagman has pleaded guilty to securities fraud and criminal contempt of court in Texas.Wagman, 42, is due to be sentenced on August 3 and faces up to five years in prison for masterminding a scheme that defrauded mainly elderly Americans out of approximately $30 million.
A fugitive American businessman who has been helping The Harris Organization run investment schemes through IBCs set up in the Bahamas and the BVI was deported this month from Panama to the US. Within days of his deportation, Brent A. Wagman was criminally indicted in Texas on charges of masterminding a scheme that defrauded mainly elderly victims of approximately $30 million.
There are increasing indications that The Harris Organization financial services group of Panama is edging closer to collapse. Several of the group's clients have contacted Offshore Alert recently to complain that their requests to redeem all or part of their investments have been ignored.
Liquidators of First Cayman Bank reach settlement with former Cayman government minister McKeeva Bush, First Nevisian's Keith Leslie King testifies at civil trial in the Isle of Man, Jordan Bionda denies he is a fraudster, conman Keem Kalfon promotes his Global Heritage Asset Protection 'fund', attorney Julian Hall is declared bankrupt in Bermuda, Bermuda's international business sector voices concern over Government plans to introduce tougher new work permit rules for foreign workers, offshore crook Marc Harris compares himself to Albert Einstein, Florida judge orders Harris Organization to pay costs after losing a libel action against OffshoreAlert's publisher.
January In our first exposé of the year, we give details of a multi million dollar fraud being committed by the First International Bank of Grenada, the World Investors' Stock Exchange, the International Deposit Insurance Company and related parties in
Annual OffshoreAlert Awards for: Worst Regulator, Worst Regulated Jurisdictions, Lie of the Year, Coward of the Year, Crooks of the Year, Jurisdiction in Most Need of a PR Make-Over, Most Small-Minded Decision, Most Arrogant Jurisdiction, Most Stupid Comments, Here Today, Gone Tomorrow Award, and Most Responsible Regulators.
A criminal lawsuit has been filed against the head of the Costa Rica office of The Harris Organization financial services group after an elderly US investor claims she was unable to redeem her investment. Floyce Capmany, 72, who lives in Nevada, claims she is still owed $37,668 of a $70,000 investment she made through The Harris Organization's sales office in Costa Rica in 1998.
La Prensa newspaper in Panama and some of its journalists have had a criminal libel brought against them after several articles on The Harris Organization financial services group.La Prensa has alleged improper links between The Harris Organization, the Attorney-General, José Antonio Sossa; and a Panamanian attorney, Carlos Jones; allegations which have been denied by the subjects of the articles.
In the face of an onslaught of pressure from the international community, offshore regulators have been quick to claim over the last few years that they are not havens for criminal activity.However, the proof of the pudding is, as they say, in the eating.
Dominica-registered Overseas Development Bank & Trust has yet to satisfy three judgments totalling US$1.24 million that were entered against it in favor of creditors on January 29, 1999, sham New Utopia jurisdiction claims it is launching "the New Utopia Investment Fund of the Cayman Islands", Ralph Sherman's involvement in the First International Bank of Grenada, comparisons between Van Brink's First International Bank of Grenada and Michael Randy's Canadian Trade Bank, alleged investment fraudster Brent Wagman surfaces in Panama, '60 Minutes' television show goes soft on Alexandre Konanykhine.
The Harris Organization financial services group of Panama has served official notice that it will appeal its loss of a recent libel lawsuit against Offshore Business News & Research Inc., which publishes Offshore Alert. The grounds for the appeal were not known at press time.
The Harris Organization financial services group of Panama has lost its libel lawsuit brought against Offshore Business News & Research, which publishes this newsletter, and OBNR's principal, David Marchant. Judge Michael Moore, sitting in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, issued a strong ruling in favour of OBNR and Marchant on August 10, 1999.
Marc M. Harris et Cie SA et al v. David Marchant et al: Final Judgment, Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law
Final Judgment, Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law in Marc M. Harris et Cie S.A., The Firm of Marc M. Harris, Inc. and Marc M. Harris Trust Company, Ltd. v. David E. Marchant and Offshore Business News & Research, Inc. at the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
The libel trial involving The Harris Organization financial services group of Panama and Offshore Business News & Research ended on July 30 with Judge Michael Moore asking: "Where is Marc Harris?" Harris was nowhere to be seen during six days of testimony even though he was the main subject matter of the March 31, 1998 Offshore Alert article that was being complained about.