In any big Ponzi scheme, rumors usually fly. The hundreds of victims often scour the Internet hoping to get information about newly found assets and or potential criminal prosecutions. The frenzy surrounding Nikolai Battoo and Tracy Sunderlage is no different.
Recently a victim told me that he once flew on Sunderlage’s private jet and wondered if the feds had sold the aircraft. (For the record, we know of no jets owned by Tracy Sunderlage or Nikolai Battoo…. The planes they used were probably leased.) Another person told us that Battoo was still “partying like a rock star” in his Swiss chalet and expressed frustration that he wasn’t spending his nights in a federal prison cell.
Because we have helped many victims of Battoo / Sunderlage / PIWM / Anchor Hedge Fund / Maven / Galaxy Fund and related entities get back their hard earned money, we decided to put together a website to serve as a clearinghouse of information. Of course the court – appointed receivers are also a great source of information.
Today’s post is directed at the many rumors circulating about Battoo and the whereabouts of the missing millions of dollars of investor monies.
Nikolai Battoo and / or Tracy Sunderlage own private jets. There is no evidence that either man or their affiliated companies own airplanes. Investigators have traced payments of $3.3 million to Gold Aviation Services. Presumably any planes they used were leased.
Nikolai Battoo spent millions on decorating his private residence. That rumor appears to have some validity. The court appointed receiver and SEC have identified $11.1 million in payments to Designer Services, an interior decorator company located in Tennessee. Those funds were presumably used to decorate and furnish Battoo’s home in Switzerland.
Unfortunately, the money spent for decorating isn’t easily recoverable. According to the SEC, half of that was spent on labor.
There are millions of dollars sitting in a lawyer’s trust account somewhere. That somewhere is Florida and the lawyer is Nicola Zagarolo. He cooperated with investigators. Of the millions sent to Zagarolo, almost all was spent. The remaining balance of $114,000 was turned over to the receiver.
Battoo paid millions more to lawyers in Switzerland but that money is difficult to reach IF it is even still there.
Millions of dollars are hidden in Monaco. While its difficult to disprove that Battoo is hiding money, the rumor probably has its origins in a previous report that receivers had located money at HSBC Bank in Monaco. The bank acknowledges holding slightly less than $1 million and refuses to turn over the money because of a pending money laundering investigation in that country.
Hundreds of millions of dollars are tied up in the MF Global debacle. Battoo himself started this rumor when he wrote to investors claiming that investor money was somehow tied up in MF Global. According to the receivers, however, there may be just $912,000 at issue.
Bernie Madoff took the money. There is some truth to this one. It always amazes us how fraudsters always seem to gravitate towards one another. The US Attorney’s receiver must pay out any monies that were invested in the Madoff organization by feeder funds such as PIWM.
Remember that the bankruptcy court trustee, Irving Picard, is administering the larger Madoff recovery fund but those monies are not being used to pay claims coming from feeder funds. That means any monies paid out will come from the much smaller fund administered by the District Court receiver.
Don’t expect much.
Sunderlage and Battoo have millions stashed away in safe deposit boxes. We wouldn’t be surprised if this were true. To date, however, all the safe deposit boxes uncovered by regulators have been empty.
So what should investors do?
First, make sure that you file claims with the various receivers seeking to recover money for victims. While we don’t expect much from these efforts, it’s a start.
If you purchased your investment from a stockbroker, investment adviser or insurance agent, give us a call. Financial professionals are responsible for conducting meaningful due diligence on the products they recommend. Unfortunately, many such professionals were more motivated by the high commissions these investments paid and did not act in the best interests of their clients.
We have teamed up with Chapman Law to pursue these claims against PIWM, Maven, Anchor Hedge Fund, First Fidelity, BC Capital and others who may be associated Nikolai Battoo and Tracy Sunderlage. We have successfully brought claims against insurance agents too.
If you have PIWM fraud information you would like to share, we would love to hear from you as well. Obviously, this isn’t an exhaustive list of the many rumors floating around about these fraudsters. Write to the author of this post, Brian Mahany at . We are always seeking new information that can be used to help investor victims.With your permission we will post your information as well.
Post by Brian Mahany, Esq.
Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
Tagged: PIWM fraud, Maven fraud, Battoo fraud, Nikolai Battoo, Tracy Sunderlage