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Amazingly close
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, August 12, 2011

Posted: 10/27/2002 10:45:22 AM

By: Sooltauq

Guano deposits is right -- and people wonder why we criticize these bogus shell banks in micronations like Nauru and Grenada.

As for Van Brink, I am hoping that the victims seek "extrajudicial remedies" -- the Haitian method of placing a tire around his neck and setting it on fire while he is still alive would seem to be a satisfactory form of such relief.


Anonymous
Posted: Friday, August 12, 2011

Posted: 10/27/2002 10:34:56 AM

By: BUNCH OF DOGS

After two or three years of following stories on HYIP scams, I am convienced that crooks rule. Reposted the original post and a follow-up post at the Diligizer board.

HERE IS THE FOLLOW-UP POST.

Subject on previous post should include a whole mess of folks. The article is such a good example of how some folks get sucked into these programs. Reminds me so much of some of the investors in Global Investments Inc. who got sucked in by Brent Duncan and others. I am sure the big dog players above Duncan and some of the ones mentioned in the article celebrate all hours of the night when they hook a well-respected religious man who will promote the heck out of their program and show off their wealthy status when they get that initial payout. Investors seem to open the coffer when a well respected religious man shows up promoting a secret banking system. Helps if this religious man is driving a new Mercedes when from initial payouts when he spreads the word and wealth to his followers.


DID THOSE OF YOU WHO READ THE ARTICLE CATCH THIS EXCUSE BY SOME BIG LAW FIRM.
Michelle Hall, a lawyer who worked for Rencher, said in a recent deposition that the guarantee was prepared by David Spencer at Stoel Rives. Kenyon, the law firm's spokesman, says it is his understanding that Spencer only reviewed the guarantee but that it was actually Rencher who prepared the document.

Gee, please tell us what this lawyer thought of the guarantee when he reveiwed it!!!!!! I would also like to know if he got paid for this so-called review????

And, is there any reason the big dog players should stop????? The answer appears to be NOPE.
"None of the principals--Skirving included--has faced prosecution. That's not surprising. One of the attractions of offshore banking is that promoters can operate outside U.S. jurisdiction, often in countries that have little or no regulation, while still tapping U.S. investors. Pricewaterhouse's records show, for instance, that the FBI investigated at least some elements of the Grenadian bank but that bank officials, several of whom are American and currently living in this country, have not been charged with crimes.
With the Grenadian bank under pressure in mid-1999, Skirving and his longtime sidekick, Paul James Peiffer, 66, apparently set about marketing a similar scheme in Portland. According to the Oregon Department of Justice, they formed Bank of the Nations, which was headquartered in Nauru, a Pacific atoll known for its lax banking regulations and guano deposits. "

Nice that the Oregon Department of Justice is following events so closely.


Hunter


Internal Administrator
Posted: Friday, August 12, 2011
Joined: 10/12/2010
Posts: 5780


Posted: 10/26/2002 11:21:33 PM

By: A Van Brink Copycat? Or Partner in crime?

http://www.wweek.com/flatfiles/printstory.lasso?autonumb=2908.
 
 SCAMMED!
Modern-day pirates of the Caribbean swindled millions of dollars from Portland investors.
by NIGEL JAQUISS
published: 6/19/2002
One year ago, Don and Shellie Freund were living the dreams of many entrepreneurs. They owned a home in a gated community on an island on Puget Sound. A new Jeep and Ford Expedition sat in their driveway, and their 10-year-old son zipped around the island in a golf cart.
Today, the Freunds, both 40, are flat broke. They've sold their house and their vehicles. Last week, they moved back to Portland, their hometown, to live with Don's parents. The days when Don handed his son a $20 bill for a round of golf and lunch at the clubhouse are a distant memory. "We don't know what to tell our son," Freund says. "He doesn't know why we moved, and he doesn't know that his college savings is gone."
The Freunds (pronounced "friends") are not victims of the dot-com meltdown. They are not even post-9/11 roadkill. Instead, they owe their reversal of fortune to a Portland lawyer named Guy B. Rencher.
Rencher is no ordinary hustler. A bespectacled teetotaler who tithes to the Mormon Church, Rencher, 50, is an estate-planning specialist whose fondness for cowboy boots reflects his Redmond, Ore., upbringing.
Balding and lanky, Rencher may be physically unremarkable, but he stands out in other ways. Over the past two decades, 25 complaints have been lodged against him with the Oregon State Bar, many of them aimed at his aggressive mailings and advertisements in The Oregonian. Although most of the complaints have been dismissed, the bar suspended Rencher's license for 30 days last year and is investigating him again.
In addition, more than a dozen clients and the State of Oregon are currently suing Rencher in civil court, seeking the return of millions of dollars. He is also, according to people familiar with the probe, under investigation by the U.S. attorney's office in Portland.
But to the Freunds, Rencher's disciplinary issues and legal problems are almost beside the point. Their story is complicated, but it's also this simple: Rencher promised them riches without risk--and they didn't just bite, they swallowed the entire hook.
As a consequence, the couple got reeled into the local offshoot of a Ponzi scheme built on premises so outlandish that they would be edited from even the most amateurish screenplay. Key details include offshore banks stretching from the Caribbean to a Pacific atoll famed for its bird droppings, a 10,000-carat ruby named "Boy on a Water Buffalo," and the puzzling participation of Portland's largest law firm, Stoel Rives.
Authorities believe that the operation--which spans the globe but begins and ends in Oregon--fleeced thousands of investors out of more than $200 million. David Tatman, director of enforcement for the Oregon Division of Finance and Corporate Securities, says the scheme is one of most audacious he's encountered. "I'm pretty stunned by the dollar amounts--and everything else," says Tatman.
In 1986, before they had two dimes to rub together, Don and Shellie Freund embarked on a collision course with Guy Rencher. In those days, Don Freund was a student at Mount Hood Community College and a serious bowler who regularly scored in the high 200s.
After Freund began winning money at regional professional tournaments, a friend introduced him to a Portland CPA named Mark Brown.
With Brown's help, Freund eventually parlayed bowling earnings and savings from seven years as a post-office employee into investments in two Seattle-area bowling alleys.
Brown virtually became part of the Freunds' family. He did work for Don Freund's father and brother. He frequently joined Don and Shellie for meals and had signing powers over their checkbook. "Brown was not only my accountant for nearly 20 years," Don Freund says. "He was my friend."
In August 2000, Brown told the Freunds and their business partner, Alan Stanford, about an investment opportunity. Another of Brown's clients had access to an offshore bank that he said could buy securities at a discount and sell them at face value, earning enormous profits. "It was pitched to us as 30-percent return, tax-free with no risk," Freund says.
Brown told the Freunds he was so confident in the deal that he was investing his own money. The Freunds were skeptical, but Stanford cut a check for $150,000 in September 2000.
The Freunds watched their partner's investment closely. As promised, big interest payments rolled in. Don Freund was still torn. "You just don't get those kinds of returns," he says. "I knew that." But Freund was tired of busting his hump in the bowling business, and his wife, a corporate flight attendant, wanted to spend more time at home.
The Freunds ran the numbers again and again. If they scraped together all their assets, they could come up with $200,000. That would provide them with interest payments of $5,175 every month. "We'd be right at 40 years old taking home more than $5,000 a month, with no bills and no stress," Freund recalls thinking.
On Feb. 20, 2001, he picked up a cashier's check for $200,000 and followed Brown to meet the man who had access to the lucrative offshore investment. They drove to 5100 SW Macadam Ave., where tucked amid the offices of engineers, insurance companies, banks and other lawyers sat Guy Rencher.
Brown introduced the two men and left. Freund recalls that Rencher, whom he had never met previously, was low-key and professional.
Certainly, Rencher was a man of substance--after practicing law for more than 20 years, he owned three homes, including a nearly finished $550,000 vacation house in Sisters; was a member in the Oregon Golf Club; and drove a couple of new SUVs.
The conversation was brief. "I told him, 'This is all I've got, and I can't afford to lose it,'" Freund says. Rencher reassured him. "This was his analogy," Freund recalls. "Even if US Bank closed and the world economy collapsed, we'd still have less chance of losing money [in our investment with Rencher] than we would of winning the lottery."
In truth, Freund was already sold. The combination of his trust in Brown and having seen Stanford get his payments was enough. It took Freund less than an hour to sign away what it had taken him and Shellie two decades to earn.
Today, of course, he can think of a million--or at least 200,000--questions he should have asked before tearing his check to pieces. "I was an idiot," Freund says. "What else can I say?"
Nobody is saying the Freunds are blameless for their misfortune. Had they checked Rencher's file at the Oregon State Bar, for instance, they would have discovered his suspension last year for "dishonesty" and "false or misleading advertising."
Had the Freunds checked court records, they would have learned that in 1995, Rencher settled charges of unlawful trade practices with the Oregon Department of Justice relating to "allegations of misrepresentations and failures to disclose material facts," for which he was fined $3,750 and court costs.
But in fairness to them, the Freunds also encountered Rencher after his approach to clients had become more sophisticated. In 1995, Rencher's estate-planning practice, which he had expanded rapidly to include as many as 10 satellite marketing offices , crashed. His law firm declared bankruptcy. He later described the period as one of extraordinary bleakness. "I had closed my law practice because I was if not suicidal, thinking about becoming suicidal," he wrote.
In the late '90s, however, armed with renewed confidence, Rencher set about remaking his practice. No longer would he be content with the relatively modest fees he earned from cranking out boilerplate estate plans. Instead he set his sights on more lucrative work.
About 18 months before he met Don Freund, Rencher connected with Robert Skirving, a former Amway distributor who had moved on to bigger pursuits. Skirving, 54, is a big man--6 feet 5 inches and 220 pounds--who lives with his wife and six kids in a 6,800-square-foot Southeast Portland home loaded with everything from three full kitchens to a tanning bed. Among his assets are eight other properties including an organic farm in Mulino, Ore., a ranch in Goldendale, Wash., and vacation homes in Nevada and California, with a total value of nearly $14 million.
When he met Rencher, Skirving was president and director of the First International Bank of Grenada, which in almost no time had become one of the largest banks in that small Caribbean country.
Soon after its founding in March 1997, according to an audit prepared by the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, FIBG attracted hundreds of millions of dollars from investors because it offered interest rates as high as 250 percent. The bank's secret? It said it could buy debt instruments, such as bonds, at a deep discount and redeem them at face value, profiting on the difference.
By the time Rencher met Skirving in mid-1999, the Grenada bank had been exposed as a massive fraud. There were no securities and no profits. By April 2000, the flow of deposits had ceased, and in August of that year, the Grenadian government placed the bank under the control of an outside administrator.
None of the principals--Skirving included--has faced prosecution. That's not surprising. One of the attractions of offshore banking is that promoters can operate outside U.S. jurisdiction, often in countries that have little or no regulation, while still tapping U.S. investors. Pricewaterhouse's records show, for instance, that the FBI investigated at least some elements of the Grenadian bank but that bank officials, several of whom are American and currently living in this country, have not been charged with crimes.
With the Grenadian bank under pressure in mid-1999, Skirving and his longtime sidekick, Paul James Peiffer, 66, apparently set about marketing a similar scheme in Portland. According to the Oregon Department of Justice, they formed Bank of the Nations, which was headquartered in Nauru, a Pacific atoll known for its lax banking regulations and guano deposits.
To help them establish Bank of the Nations, the men hired Portland's largest law firm, Stoel Rives, in early 2000. Stoel Rives' managing partner and spokesperson, Steve Kenyon, acknowledges that David Spencer, a partner in Stoel's Seattle office, performed work for the men. "David Spencer did some work advising and documenting the international corporate structure that you're referring to," Kenyon told WW.
Kenyon says that neither Spencer nor Stoel Rives knew of Skirving and Peiffer's history with securities regulators here and in other states or of their involvement in the Grenadian bank collapse.
Having established Bank of the Nations, Skirving was in a position to solicit investors. But how could a man with his background gain access to wealthy Portlanders?
That's where Rencher--or more accurately, Rencher's clients--fit in. Starting in November 1999, he established eight limited-liability companies in Portland that would allow investors to funnel money into Bank of the Nations. He began actively telling clients about the offshore opportunity around that time, according to a chronology put together by state investigators.
In their wildest dreams, however, Rencher and his pals probably never expected to reel in a catch the size of Joy Vandervelden. The widow of a Forest Grove construction-company owner, Vandervelden is still spry enough at age 88 to pilot a Cadillac, but she was no match for Rencher and his law partner John Larson, who together had handled Vandervelden's estate since 1994.
At the end of 1999 or early in 2000, according a lawsuit Vandervelden filed last December, Rencher and Larson presented her with the opportunity to invest. Vandervelden was tempted by the lofty returns but demanded more security, perhaps because a big chunk of her money was to be donated to Pacific University in Forest Grove as part of a $4 million bequest her husband made before he died.
To satisfy Vandervelden, the lawyers gave her a personal guarantee from Skirving, reportedly backed by real estate. Michelle Hall, a lawyer who worked for Rencher, said in a recent deposition that the guarantee was prepared by David Spencer at Stoel Rives. Kenyon, the law firm's spokesman, says it is his understanding that Spencer only reviewed the guarantee but that it was actually Rencher who prepared the document. Stoel Rives does not have a copy of the guarantee, Kenyon adds.
In any case, with the guarantee in hand, Vandervelden sold $3 million of municipal securities--about the most conservative investment there is, short of U.S. government bonds--in early 2000, giving Rencher's firm the proceeds. She received interest payments for about a year, but when the payments stopped, the guarantee proved to be worthless.
The Freunds, of course, knew nothing about Vandervelden or the other investors Rencher landed. For a brief, blissful period, all they knew or cared about was the checks--two, in all--that had begun arriving at their home. But in June 2001, as the Freunds prepared to leave for a long Florida vacation, something unexpected happened.
Their third monthly check from Rencher was late. They called their accountant, who was supposed to distribute the payments. "Brown told us not to worry," Freund recalls.
With the confidence that came from a 15-year relationship with Brown and the two payments that they had already received, the Freunds flew to the Florida Keys, where Don and their son fished for mackerel while Shellie soaked up the sun. "We had a great vacation," Freund says. "It was really relaxing."
The Freunds didn't bother calling from Florida to follow up. But when they returned to the Northwest, just after the Fourth of July, there was still no check. Stanford, their business partner, hadn't received his June check, either.
"Shellie was the first one who said, 'Something's wrong,'" Don Freund admits. "I wanted to believe that everything was all right. I told her, 'Brownie [Mark Brown] wouldn't screw us.'"
But Brown's explanations grew less and less credible. "Every day there was a different excuse," Shellie Freund says.
In August 2001, the Freunds hired a lawyer, Portland securities specialist Bob Banks. More than a dozen other investors, including Vandervelden and William Johnston of West Linn, who invested $1.1 million, weren't far behind. State securities regulators, who had gotten wind of Rencher's scheme more than a year previously, cranked up their investigation.
Rencher knew that he was in deep trouble. He retained Bob Weaver, a top Portland criminal-defense lawyer. In October, Weaver asked for a meeting with Tatman, the state securities enforcement chief.
In that meeting, according to Tatman's notes, Weaver sketched out the offshore-banking scheme and a less-than-flattering picture of his client. "Weaver...characterized Rencher as greedy and lazy and someone who was looking for ways to avoid working at the practice of law," Tatman wrote. (Weaver did not return WW's phone call.)
The meeting ended with no resolution. Soon lawsuits from investors--at least 15 so far--began to pile up. The suits, which also name Skirving, Peiffer, Brown and various others as co-defendants, seek the return of more than $6 million. The Oregon Department of Justice also sued the men for securities fraud, which carries a fine of $20,000 for each violation. No criminal charges have been filed.
In December, Rencher declared bankruptcy, claiming the total of his cash on hand and his checking and savings accounts was $58.17. Skirving and Peiffer have also declared bankruptcy. So far, the two men have not hired lawyers, showed up for depositions or responded to lawsuits except to ask questions of their accusers.
Today, Shellie Freund spends much of her spare time sleuthing on the phone and Internet. "Nobody knows where the money went," she says. "Somebody must have given it to somebody."
Beyond that mystery is the question of why those involved in the scheme stuck around for its collapse. Both Rencher and Brown, the Freunds' accountant, have claimed that they were unwitting victims, having lost a lot of their own money in Bank of the Nations.
Rencher, in fact, is trying to build his client base, having presented estate-planning seminars at a Lake Oswego hotel as recently as May 30.
Don Freund, who has signed on a sales rep for a Tacoma-based sportswear company, alternates between fury at the slow pace of justice and his anxieties about the future. "It's not easy starting all over again at 40 without a college education," he says. "We thought we were fine forever, but now I'm just hoping that I won't have to start using the slogan, 'Would you like fries with that?'"
THE HELPING HANDS OF GIL ZIEGLER
Gilbert A. Ziegler (with tie) at his wedding in Uganda two years ago.
Although Robert Skirving is allegedly the brains behind the local version of offshore banking fraud, authorities believe that another Oregonian, a former Washington County mortgage broker and minister named Gilbert Allen Ziegler, is responsible for what has been called the biggest banking fraud in history.
Ziegler, 51, operated both Hometown Mortgage and Helping Hands Ministries in Hillsboro until 1994, when he declared bankruptcy and left the state. Shortly afterward, Ziegler established Fidelity International Bank on the Pacific atoll of Nauru. In 1997, Ziegler established the First International Bank of Granada. (Skirving was president of FIBG and also involved in the earlier bank.)
Among the assets used to establish FIBG, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, which produced an accounting of the bank's collapse early last year for the Grenadian government, were a 10,000-carat ruby named "Boy on a Water Buffalo" and nearly $14 billion in securities.
Pricewaterhouse established that the ruby was real. The problem was that neither Ziegler nor the bank owned it. (The real owner was not identified.) As for the securities, Pricewaterhouse says, they were simply bogus.
A lack of capital proved no impediment to Ziegler and Skirving. In 1999, FIBG reported to Grenadian authorities that it earned $26 billion in net income, which would have made it the world's most profitable company. Such representations led Offshore Alert, a Miami newsletter that focuses on scams, to call FIBG the "biggest banking fraud in history."
PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has the task of liquidating FIBG's assets, says that more than 2,000 investors put well over $200 million in FIBG--and virtually every penny of it is gone.
Ziegler and his cronies spent the money on such investments as a $9.5 million Trinidadian recording studio, a $1.5 million "beer-cooling process," and about $4 million worth of properties in Uganda, where Ziegler fled from Grenada. Pricewaterhouse has been able to recover only a tiny fraction of investors' money.
Despite his large investment in the African country, Ziegler (who now goes by the name Van A. Brink, but was unavailable to WW by either name) told associates in a 2000 email that bad press had followed him and he was feeling unwelcome. "They want to know that there is something for Uganda in it if I stay. Basically I have to demonstrate this or find another country. It's that simple." --NJ
The list below includes people who are suing Rencher and his various associates for the return of $6.375 million. Other investors listed in Rencher's bankruptcy filings have not yet filed suits locally.
LAST NAME, FIRST NAME-- DATE -- $ INV.
Becker, Kirk & Claire-- 02/20/01-- $50,000
V.F. Harker & Co. --01/16/00 -- $60,000
Ghores, Muneer & Deborah --10/30/00 -- $100,000
Ghores, Edwar & Denice --10/30/00-- $ 100,000
Goodman, Harold & Rosalee --07/00/00 -- $100,000
Jenkins, Donald-- 04/02/01 -- $100,000
Johnston, William M. --10/00/00 -- $100,000
Lamb, John --04/03/01 -- $100,000
Laurie, Albert & Marlene --01/12/00 -- $100,000
Pearson, Roger-- 07/00/00 -- $ 100,000
Patel, Adam --04/17/99 -- $125,000
Meade Harker Marital Trust --01/15/01 -- $140,000
Stanford, Alan --09/15/00 -- $150,000
Freund, Donald --02/20/01 -- $200,000
Johnston, William M. --04/00/01-- $ 200,000
Johnston, William M. --05/24/01 -- $200,000
Becker, Kirk & Claire-- 09/27/00 -- $250,000
Philip L. Harker Family and Marital Trust --01/11/00 -- $300,000
Reynolds, Ted & Kim --05/16/01 -- $300,000
Johnston, William M. --10/00/00 -- $600,000
Vandervelden, Joy --1 & 2/00 -- $3,000,000


Anonymous
Posted: Friday, August 12, 2011

Posted: 10/27/2002 3:23:28 PM

By: while we are on the subject of attornys

Has anyone heard of a James Campbell Attorney and any activities he may have in Bermuda or offshore places?


 

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