Imperial Consolidated

Imperial Consolidated swindled clients out of more than $300 million via a range of offshore banking and investment products and services that it offered through dozens of companies domiciled in at least 11 countries, most notably the Caribbean island of Grenada and England, home of the group’s controlling principals, Lincoln Fraser and Jared Brook. After OffshoreAlert began exposing Imperial Consolidated in 1999, the group sued for libel in Miami but dropped the action after the judge ordered it to produce its financials as part of the discovery process. The group collapsed in 2002 and the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office later brought criminal charges against Fraser, Brook, and others. Remarkably, the SFO never once contacted OffshoreAlert to ask for our testimony or mountain of documentary evidence and, as is typical of U.K. law enforcement, botched the prosecution, failing to secure guilty pleas against Fraser and Brook in two trials, probably causing another principal, Bill Godley, to rue his guilty plea. A minor consolation for victims was that, in a separate civil action in the U.K., Fraser and Brook were disqualified as company directors, albeit for a prior scam.
Timeline
30

November

1999

Imperial Consolidated moves from Bahamas to Grenada after pressure from regulator

Imperial Consolidated Securities S. A. has moved its investment division to Grenada following consultations with regulators in the Bahamas, where the company is registered and physically based. The move, which was due to be completed by November 30, followed concerns about the company's involvement in the sale of unregistered securities.
31

December

1999

Year in Review: 1999

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
29

February

2000

Imperial Consolidated Group launches new offshore credit card

Bahamas-based Imperial Consolidated Securities, which has had several scrapes with regulators over the way it promotes its mutual funds, has launched a new offshore credit card with an aggressive promotional campaign that repeats claims that its funds guarantee returns of up to 18 per cent per year. "The Imperial Consolidated HINT MasterCard can be used like a regular credit card but the card offers superb advantages when used in conjunction with Imperial Consolidated mutual funds," states promotional literature.
lincoln-fraser-jared-brook
31

March

2000

Imperial Consolidated Group’s links to High Yield Investment Programs

Offshore Alert has obtained documents which implicate the Imperial Consolidated Group in the sale of investment programs purporting to offer guaranteed returns of as much as 30 per cent per month. In one program, Imperial Consolidated offers to pay a return of 9.25 per cent per month while simultaneously paying a 40 per cent commission to brokers who introduce investors.
30

April

2000

‘It all seems very strange’ – A look at the Imperial Consolidated Group in the UK

In the course of our inquiries into the Imperial Consolidated Group, which has regional offices in the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and Grenada, Offshore Alert talked with a local journalist in Lincolnshire who visited ICG's offices at Brookenby about 12-18 months ago. His report, which appears below, confirmed that the group is one of the largest private employers in the area and has added to the mystique that surrounds ICG, which has become one of the highest profile offshore companies over the last few years.
30

June

2000

Insider Talking: June 30, 2000

Finance Merchants Bank sells 'paper' banks for between $29,000 and $100,000 each, Imperial Consolidated Securities threaten litigation against individual members of the Bahamas Securities Commission, wheels falloff Bahamas-registered International Financial Privacy Association Ltd., liquidators for the Bank of Credit and Commerce International Overseas Ltd. announce third payout to creditors, First Cayman Bank creditors receive first dividend of 25 cents in the dollar.
31

July

2000

Insider Talking: July 31, 2000

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.
31

August

2000

Insider Talking: August 31, 2000

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.
30

September

2000

Bahamas fund group forced into receivership

An unlicensed, unaudited mutual fund group into which over 550 investors invested approximately $13.2 million has been forced into Receivership by the Bahamas Securities Commission. It has triggered a bitter legal battle for control of the Hawthorne-Sterling family of funds between their Receiver, accountant Clifford Culmer, and their founder, American Ian L. Renert.
30

November

2000

Offshore criminal activity continues unabated in Grenada

Regulators in Grenada are continuing to allow banks belonging to the First International Bank of Grenada group to operate on the island despite FIBG's massive insolvency, we can reveal. The National Commercial Bank of St. Vincent, which is government-owned, is also continuing to provide banking services despite having its UK assets frozen recently over the FIBG fiasco.
30

November

2000

Insider Talking: November 30, 2000

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.
21

December

2000

Imperial’s HINT MasterCard terminated by Bahamas bank

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.
31

December

2000

Bahamas firms terminate Imperial Consolidated’s HINT MasterCard

The UK-based Imperial Consolidated Group has suffered another blow with the forced termination of its HINT MasterCard offshore credit card program, which was operated from the Bahamas. Leadenhall Bank & Trust, which issued the card, and Axxess International, which administered it, withdrew their support in November due to concerns over Imperial Consolidated's credibility.
31

December

2000

David Voth client alleges $50,000 loss, links to unlicensed Bahamas fund

A Canadian businessman who offers unlicensed investment products and services through Bahamas-registered IBCs is under fire from a client who lost $50,000 in suspicious circumstances. David M. Voth's group received funds from Bahamas-registered Geebung Corporation in December, 1998 for investment in a scheme that offered a 25 per cent return per quarter for 12 months.
15

January

2001

Spanish newspaper reveals Imperial Consolidated’s relationship with arms dealer

The Spanish newspaper El Mundo published several articles yesterday and today about a business relationship (turned sour) between the Imperial Consolidated Group, which has offices in the UK, the Bahamas, Grenada and other countries, and Monzer al-Kassar, a Syrian national who has been described in various media articles over the years as one of the world's largest arms dealers and whose clients, according to El Mundo, include suspected terrorist Osama Bin Laden, whom the US believes was involved with the World Trade Center bombing.
05

February

2001

Imperial Consolidated audit rejected by UK regulators

A spokesman for Companies House for England & Wales told OffshoreAlert today that the first ever audited financial statement for Imperial Consolidated PLC, which is the British holding company for the Imperial Consolidated financial services group, has finally been submitted to regulators - and rejected. The audit was due to have been submitted to Companies House on or before December 30, 2000 and had officially been listed as 'OVERDUE' at Companies House until today, when its status was changed to 'PENDING'.
06

February

2001

Imperial Consolidated financials did not contain auditor’s statement, says Companies House

Companies House for England and Wales told OffshoreAlert today that it rejected the statutory financial statement submitted a few days ago by the British holding company of the Imperial Consolidated group because "there was no auditor's statement". Why Imperial Consolidated PLC would submit an unaudited financial statement when the law clearly requires it to file an audited statement is anyone's guess.
08

February

2001

Imperial Consolidated threatens to sue OBNR

A Miami-based attorney representing the British-based Imperial Consolidated financial services group sent a letter to Offshore Business News & Research on February 7, 2001 stating that a lawsuit will be filed against OBNR and its principal, David Marchant, on Thursday, February 15, 2001 unless we retract "a plethora of libelous and slanderous statements" allegedly made against the group.
20

February

2001

Imperial Consolidated Plc vs. David Marchant et al: Libel Complaint

Complaint alleging defamation and Motion for Preliminary Injunction in Imperial Consolidated Plc, of the United Kingdom vs. David Marchant and Offshore Business News & Research Inc. at the Circuit Court of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit, in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida.
22

February

2001

Imperial Consolidated Plc v. David Marchant et al: Order Denying Preliminary Injunction

Order Denying Plaintiff's Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction in Imperial Consolidated Plc, of the United Kingdom v. Offshore Business News and Research Inc. and David Marchant at the Circuit Court of the 11th Judicial Circuit, in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida.
28

February

2001

Imperial Consolidated Plc’s first audit reveals little about health of entire group

UK-based Imperial Consolidated PLC filed its first-ever audit with Companies House in early February but it shed little light on the financial status of the overall group. Although the firm is described as the "Imperial Consolidated PLC Group of Companies" in its audit, the results of none of its overseas affiliates are included, nor are some of the group's UK companies.
28

February

2001

Imperial Consolidated files lawsuit against OBNR, seeks injunction

Imperial Consolidated PLC has followed in the footsteps of The Harris Organization and the First International Bank of Grenada and filed a libel lawsuit against OBNR and its principal, David Marchant. While the previous two lawsuits were filed at federal court in Miami, Imperial Consolidated filed its complaint at state court, specifically the Circuit Court of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit for Miami-Dade County, Florida, on February 21, 2001.
31

March

2001

Imperial Consolidated: Prior debts of principals and more regulatory problems

The Chairman of the Imperial Consolidated Group was threatened with criminal action in England in 1996/97 after being accused of breaking the terms of his bankruptcy, we can disclose. Even then, it took Lincoln Julian Fraser many more months to settle a debt of GBP22,000 (approximately US$32,111) to Lincolnshire-based creditor Heckford Advertising.
30

April

2001

Lincoln Fraser and Jared Brook resign from Imperial Consolidated

Three weeks after OffshoreAlert exposed their role in a failed hotel in England, Lincoln Fraser and Jared Brook resigned their positions with the UK-based Imperial Consolidated Group. The resignations of Fraser and Brook as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, respectively, of Imperial Consolidated was announced in a press release dated April 23.
31

May

2001

Imperial Consolidated changes web-site and postpones deposition

OffshoreAlert's investigation into the Imperial Consolidated Group reached high farce in May when the firm gave a number of Pythonesque answers to questions that we submitted to its UK-based Public Relations firm, Luther Pendragon. Perhaps the most comical response was a claim that it was prevented by UK law from disclosing the qualifications and experience of a 25-year-old man listed as General Manager of Grenada-based Imperium Bank.
30

June

2001

Imperial Consolidated founders take back control of hotel

Imperial Consolidated Group founders Lincoln Fraser and Jared Brook have bought a vacant hotel in Morecambe, England that was the primary cause of their financial problems a few years ago. They bought the Midland Hotel through a UK-based firm they control called Kalber Leisure Ltd. for between GBP350,000 and GBP500,000 (US$496,000-US$708,000) on June 11, 2001, according to the local press.
20

July

2001

Lincoln Fraser and Jared Brook banned as company directors

Lincoln Fraser and Jared Brook, co-founders of the Imperial Consolidated Group, have each been disqualified from acting as a director of a company for four years in the United Kingdom. The disqualification was ordered at Blackpool County Court, in England, on Thursday, July 12, 2001, following an application by the Official Receiver, which is an executive agency of the Department of Trade and Industry, a government body.
31

July

2001

Imperial Consolidated firm fined for contempt of court

A subsidiary of Imperial Consolidated PLC has been fined GBP12,500 (US$17,845) after pleading guilty to contempt of court in England. The fine and costs of GBP8,516.88 (US$12,157) were handed down to Mirfield Financial at the High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Division, Leeds District Registry, Mercantile Court, on July 18, 2001.
31

December

2001

Reorganization continues at scandal-plagued Imperial Consolidated

Michael Gilbert, who was severely criticized by a New Zealand judge in a recent court ruling (see separate story), is part of a reorganization that involves the Imperial Consolidated Group and companies with the prefix 'Alpha'.The firm that he is a director of changed its name from Imperial Consolidated (New Zealand) Ltd. to Alpha Equities Asia-Pacific (NZ) Ltd. on November 29, 2001.
31

December

2001

Imperial Consolidated loses lawsuit, accused by judge of backdating documents

Imperial Consolidated, whose operations include an offshore bank and offshore mutual funds, has lost a defamation lawsuit that it brought in New Zealand against a former broker. In a judgment in the High Court of New Zealand on December 18, 2001, Judge William Young ruled that defendant David Frederick Stewart was being truthful when he criticized the group on a web-site.
31

January

2002

Insider Talking: January 31, 2002

Less than a month after they were taken down as a result of an OffshoreAlert investigation, references to Grenada-registered Euro Caribbean Bank have been reinstated on the web-site of the 'Stock Exchange' of the sham country known as the Dominion of Melchizedek; Caribbean Media Corporation, which operated the Caribbean News Agency, popularly known as CANA, has suspended operations; Another web-site that has shut down, albeit for different reasons, is that of Prosperitas Internationale Credit Union at www.prosperitasinternationale.com; Vanuatu-domiciled International Seminars Ltd., which organizes offshore seminars at which get-rich-quick schemes are promoted, is operating under a new name - Global Wealth Education Ltd.; John Bourbon resigned as Managing Director of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, effective January 16, 2002 - 18 months after taking up the position, citing "personal reasons"; An ex-SEC officer is critical of his former employer in a book he has written about how the stock markets and the Internet are used to commit fraud against the unsuspecting public; Clyde Hood, the 67-year-old retired electrician from Mattoon, Illinois who persuaded thousands of people from all around the world to collectively send him more than $12 million by offering a return of 5,000 per cent in 275 days, has been sentenced to serve 14 years in prison; A web-site has been set up to raise funds to defend Kenneth R. Weare, of Belize-based J&K Global Marketing, against an SEC lawsuit filed on April 10, 2001, even though the case has ended without the defendants or their legal representatives ever putting in an appearance; The Isle of Man government has granted an online gaming license to Action Online Entertainment (IOM) Limited, which is the fifth firm to receive such a license; Imperial Consolidated is blaming its lawyers for its loss of a libel lawsuit in New Zealand, in which the judge determined they had fabricated documents submitted as evidence and questioned the legitimacy of their investment products; and Justice Hugh Small, sitting at the Bahamas Supreme Court, issued an order on December 20, 2001 that the voluntary liquidation of Americas International Bank Corporation Ltd. be continued but under the supervision of the court.
28

February

2002

Alpha Toronto denies link with Bermuda-registered fund

A new group that is operated from the same offices as Imperial Consolidated by people who are described as ex-Imperial employees has denied that it has become involved with a Bermuda-registered mutual fund. A spokesman for Alpha Toronto described as "incorrect" an article that was recently published in a magazine operated by British-based Charterhouse Communications.
28

February

2002

Merrill Scott reinvents itself with a new name and allegedly stolen property

Items that were stolen from the premises of Merrill Scott and Associates four days after an SEC lawsuit was filed against the firm were allegedly found in the office of a new firm set up by former employees. That is a claim being made by the attorney who has been appointed Receiver for the Merrill Scott group, which was based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the Bahamas.
31

March

2002

Arms dealer obtains asset freeze order against Imperial Consolidated Group

A Spanish court has issued an order that allows an international arms dealer and a related firm to freeze $8.5 million of assets belonging to the Imperial Consolidated Group. The order was issued on March 8, 2002 by the Court of the First Instance, in Marbella against Imperial Consolidated Inc., of Delaware; Imperium Bank, of Grenada; and Consolidated Mining Corporation Inc., of the Bahamas.
30

April

2002

Insider Talking: April 30, 2002

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.