We have closely followed the many legal cases surrounding Nikolai Battoo and Tracy Sunderlage. Together they, and entities controlled or involved with them, have cost investors hundreds of millions of dollars. Our clients alone have lost many millions.
A sampling of the entities connected with the two men or engaged in similar activities include PIWM, BC Capital, Maven, PBT, Anchor Hedge Fund, SRG International, SIAM (Sovereign International Asset management), Randall Administration, Fidelity Insurance and Sunderlage Resource Group. Often people are fooled because many of these entities have names that sound similar to legitimate financial businesses.
The primary case against the men in the United States was brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC filed a civil suit in September of last year. In addition to seeking an order to restrain the men from any further violations of securities law, the government also sought to force the two to dislodge any ill-gotten gains.
One year later and it appears that the court will soon be defaulting both men. No monies have been collected, however. In fact, two months ago, the court appointed a pro bono (“free”) lawyer to represent Sunderlage after finding he was indigent. Tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, in missing money and Sunderlage can’t even afford a lawyer.
Battoo and BC Capital was defaulted on August 23rd. The Court denied the SEC’s request to default Sunderlage and gave him one last chance to answer until October 30th. The next court date is November 4th, 2013.
That neither man fought the charges speaks volumes to the little hope for a rapid recovery of funds. In our experience, those that don’t fight the charges against them are either truly broke or believe they have hidden the money so well that they are confident the government won’t be able to find it.
The foreign liquidation proceedings against Nikolai Battoo seem to be fairing only slightly better. There may be some money sitting in the Isle of Guernsey but there is no guarantee that the money will go to his American victims. That is because there are people all over the world clamoring for the return of their lost investments.
Hope for Tracy Sunderlage & Nikolai Battoo Investors
Is there hope? Of course.
We have been most successful going after the people who sold or marketed the investments. Although Tracy Sunderlage did much of the marketing himself, he also recruited stockbrokers, insurance agents and even a few accountants to sell his investment program. Ordinarily, financial professionals are hard to fool but Sunderlage and Battoo put on an elaborate sales pitch and would often lure stockbrokers and insurance agents into their scheme with offshore marketing trips.
Not only can the people who sold these investments be held responsible, sometimes the accountants and lawyers who “blessed” these investments can also be held responsible for their malpractice or negligence. Currently we are looking at the auditors who reviewed these schemes and gave them a clean bill of health.
Time is running out on many of these third party claims, however. In some states, it may already be too late. If you are the victim of a fraud committed by Sunderlage or Battoo, seek help now. These plans were marketed under a variety of names including welfare benefit plans, business protection plans, PBT multiple employer plans, Maven structures, offshore captive insurance companies and so-called 419 plans.
Although each type of plan was slightly different, they all shared a few common themes – the programs were marketed to suggest that an investor can take a large chunk of income and avoid paying tax by calling it an insurance premium. Later the money could be withdrawn, again tax free.
If you think that sounds to good to be true, it is. The IRS began warning about these plans in 1995. Unfortunately, shrewd promoters stayed one step ahead of the IRS by constantly changing the program. (Ultimately, many of the promoters simply stole the money often making the tax issues irrelevant.)
In some particularly tragic cases, not only did the investors lose their life savings but also faced expensive audits and tax bills from the IRS. (The IRS considers many of these schemes to be abusive tax shelters).
What’s next? We strongly recommend that you don’t just sit back and wait for the government or a court appointed liquidator in some small Caribbean island to collect your money. Although each case is very different, we do accept Sunderlage and Battoo cases on a contingent fee basis.
Post by Brian Mahany, Esq.