Mezzanine Capital

In 1999, OffshoreAlert revealed that California-based, Bermuda Stock Exchange-listed Mezzanine Capital was involved in pump-and-dump schemes to swindle investors in companies whose shares were listed on the NASDAQ over-the-counter market. Mezzanine Capital existed to provide bogus assets, in the form of its own artificially-inflated shares, to insolvent publicly-traded firms in the U.S., whose insiders, including Mezzanine’s own shareholders, profited from stock manipulation, related-party transactions and other activity. Mezzanine Capital's minority shareholders included subsidiaries of the The Bank of Bermuda and Bermuda investment firm Lines Overseas Management, which were used to hide the identities of beneficial owners. In an indication that OffshoreAlert did not have the influence then that it has now, Mezzanine Capital carried on for a few years before its shares were voluntarily de-listed from the BSX in 2002.
Timeline
26

February

1999

Mezzanine Capital linked to manipulation of penny stocks

A Bermuda Stock Exchange-listed company whose minority shareholders include subsidiaries of the Bank of Bermuda and financial services firm Lines Overseas Management is caught up in what appears to be a scheme to defraud investors on the NASDAQ over-the-counter market, Offshore Alert can disclose. We have uncovered an astonishing list of proven abuses and allegations of fraud and dishonesty against individuals and companies associated with Bermuda-registered investment holding company Mezzanine Capital Ltd., including its Chairman and President, Eric Chess Bronk, although we have found nothing to incriminate LOM or the Bank of Bermuda.
31

March

1999

Insider Talking: March 31, 1999

Further incriminating evidence against Bermuda Stock Exchange-listed Mezzanine Capital, Lines Overseas Management has sophisticated computer software system installed, Marc M. Harris and his Panama bodyguards, 'The Invisible Investor' book provides a plethora of unintentional laughs, Nigerian fraudsters appears in Cayman Islands court, Florida-based scam seeks to take advantage of bona fide firms like Lloyd's Bank and Barclays Bank, Members of Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly shelve plans to award themselves huge pay increases.
30

April

1999

Second Mezzanine Capital affiliate adjudged ‘stock of the month’

For the second month out of four, a company closely associated with Bermuda Stock Exchange-listed Mezzanine Capital Ltd. - which has been implicated in the manipulation of penny stocks - has been adjudged 'Stock of the Month' by www.hotstocknews.com, which promotes stocks over the Internet. NetVoice Technologies Inc. received the 'honor' in April, following on from a similar award in February to XtraNet Systems. Both companies gave the stock promotion firm shares in return for the plugs.
31

August

1999

Insider Talking: August 31, 1999

In February, Offshore Alert reported about stock manipulation allegations involving Bermuda Stock Exchange-listed Mezzanine Capital; Viktor Kozeny, the 'Pirate of Prague' who allegedly defrauded his countrymen in the former Czechoslovakia of tens of millions of dollars before fleeing, buying an Irish passport and going to live in the Bahamas, has apparently fallen out with the Grenada government, according to Grenada Today newspaper; A letter to the editor that was published in the Caymanian Compass newspaper on August 20, 1999 caused rum amusement in knowledgeable law enforcement circles; and In the ten days after we posted the Harris Organization/OBNR libel judgment on our web-site, 638 people had downloaded the entire 17 pages, making it the most popular document on the 'Free Documents' section of our web-site.
30

November

1999

Mezzanine Capital writes off $10 m of worthless German bonds

Bermuda-registered Mezzanine Capital Ltd., which appears to be involved in the manipulation of penny stocks in the US, has reported a loss of $10.57 million for the 12 months ended June 30, 1999 after writing off $10.1 million of German bonds. The company, whose shares are listed on the Bermuda Stock Exchange, had disclosed in 1998 that the bonds, which it acquired for one million of its common shares, might be worthless but did not decide to write off the investment until the current fiscal year.
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

Insider Talking: February 29, 2000

Keith King and the Transglobal Investment Fund, Antigua PM Lester Bird seeks to have financial advisory lifted, Viktor Kozeny sued in the Bahamas, U. S. and Bermuda discuss new treaty, Quantum Trading offers suspiciously high returns, Mezzanine Capital in middle of pump and dump, and Michael Creft: From Manitoba Department of Highways employee to Grenada's chief offshore regulator
31

May

2000

A look at the dubious GTrade ‘stock exchange’ and its principal, Andy Mann

Nevis-based Hanver Trust Company boss Robin Cotterell, who was arrested on May 23 for allegedly laundering the proceeds of securities fraud, is also the chairman of a dubious Internet stock exchange, Offshore Alert can reveal. Cotterell has set up several companies and provided a number of services to the 'exchange', which is known as GTrade, and his firm may have even partially operated it in Nevis without a licence.
30

April

2001

Fraud case involving XtraNet Systems to move to lower court

More than two years of legal action involving parties related to Bermuda-based Mezzanine Capital has been wasted, with a US judge expected soon to rule that a lawsuit be moved from Federal to State court. Nevada-registered plaintiff Voice Media Inc., which has alleged racketeering against several defendants, intends to continue its civil action at the lower court, OffshoreAlert has been told.
31

July

2001

Lines Overseas Management lists on Bermuda Stock Exchange

Shares of the parent company of Bermuda-based stockbroker Lines Overseas Management were listed for the first time on the Bermuda Stock Exchange on July 24.A statement that the shares had been approved for listing was made on July 20 without any prior public announcement that an application had been submitted.
28

February

2002

Insider Talking: February 28, 2002

The scam committed by Morrison Cross Financial Investments, which fleeced investors while operating as a stock broker in Panama without a license, has entered a new phase; Justice Ephraim Georges, sitting in the Antigua High Court, has apparently recused himself from legal hearings relating to the liquidation of Eurofed Bank after an objection by attorneys acting for former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, who considered that the judge's partiality was compromised by his son being employed by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which is liquidating the bank; On February 12, 2002, a Dallas County Grand Jury in Texas returned 24 indictments against Cameron O. Bailey relating to the sale of unregistered securities, namely Certificates of Deposit issued by Cambridge International Bank & Trust, of Grenada, and promissory notes issued by Omne Srl; As Julien Giraud waits in custody in Florida for the start of his trial on money laundering charges, his wife Lyn has been writing letters of outrage to the local press in their native Dominica, protesting at the arrest of her husband in Puerto Rico last November while he was traveling with Dominica's Finance Minister, Ambrose George; OffshoreAlert has previously reported on stock scams and other frauds perpetrated by firms linked with Bermuda Stock Exchange-listed Mezzanine Capital; and Complaints are starting to be made publicly by people who have either bought shares from, or have been approached about buying shares by, Goodman Hart Associates, Morgan Paris & Company and/or St. James & Company, who have been promoting two stocks particularly heavily: AdRentaCar Inc. and Spantel Communications Inc.
30

June

2003

Affiliate of former BSX-listed firm accused of securities fraud

The Hartcourt Companies has become the latest affiliate of Bermuda-registered Mezzanine Capital, whose shareholders have included subsidiaries of Lines Overseas Management and the Bank of Bermuda, to be accused of securities fraud in the United States. A civil lawsuit was filed by the SEC at the U. S. District Court for the Central District of California on May 27, 2003 against The Hartcourt Companies Inc., which is registered in Utah and based in California; Alan V. Phan, 57, of Long Beach, California; and Yongzhi Yang, 45, of Los Angeles, California.