An article published on December 24th in the Bahamian online news service Tribune 242 reports that U.S. and BVI liquidators are again squabbling over who should be eligible to receive monies recovered from suspected fraudster Nikolai Battoo. As regulators readers of this website know, Battoo and marketing partner Tracy Sunderlage have been accused by the SEC of harming hundreds of investors. The two men were associated with several offshore investments scams including PIWM, Maven, BC Capital and Anchor Hedge Fund.
The SEC has brought a civil action against Battoo and Sunderlage. The court appointed receiver in the U.S. case is Brick Kane of the firm Robb Evans. A parallel liquidation proceeding is taking place in the Bahamas and overseen by the Supreme Court of the Bahamas.
Earlier this month, Brick Kane told a federal judge in Illinois that the Bahamian liquidators would only honor claims from investors that had directly invested in the BVI (British Virgin Island) funds. Not so says the Bahamian liquidator.
Does it matter who collects the money? Absolutely.
PIWM and Maven victims lost all or most of their hard earned money in several different ways. Some invested directly through Sunderlage or Battoo. Others invested through independent stockbrokers and insurance agents. Still others invested through hedge funds (an example would be Anchor Hedge Fund) while a fourth group invested through a financial firm called Alliance Investment.
Although all the receivers and liquidators are united in collecting as much Battoo money as they can find, each has different ideas on how it should be spent. Making the issue more complicated, both sides are spending precious time and money arguing about who said what. According to Tribune 242, the BVI liquidator, Hadley Chilton, claims:
“The joint liquidators of the BVI Funds are carrying out their statutory duties for the benefit of all of their creditors and investors.Unfortunately, these duties have necessarily included defending the BVI Funds from the actions of the US receiver to usurp those assets belonging to the BVI funds over which they have been properly appointed. The [US] receiver is aware that the BVI liquidators have been attempting for over a year to discuss with him issues including precisely the issue of future distributions to all investors, and he has simply ignored correspondence.”
Said the U.S. receiver, “Robb Evans had launched a full frontal attack on the BVI liquidators in its December 9 filing with the US courts, alleging: “A distribution based upon their narrow view of the worldwide Ponzi scheme will favour a small portion of those victims who were defrauded, while leaving hundreds of investors with little or nothing in the way of recovery.”
The Tribune reports that $83 million came to Battoo through Alliance Investment Management. Depending on how those claims are recognized has a huge impact on whether those victims receive any of the money collected by the receivers.
While everyone who lost money should file a claim with the receivers, in our opinion, the best source of recovery is from the stockbrokers, investment advisers and insurance agents that sold these products. Unfortunately, time is quickly running out to file claims against brokers and other financial professionals. Several victims have told us that they are waiting to see what the receivers can generate. A small handful still believes that Battoo or their broker will miraculously find the missing millions.
Don’t count on either scenario happening any time soon.
If you purchased your investment from a third party (like a stockbroker), give us a call. Financial advisers and agents are responsible for conducting meaningful due diligence on the products they recommend. Unfortunately, many of these “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 wish to discuss fraud losses in general, contact the author at or by telephone at (414) 704-6731 (direct). Have a claim involving PIWM, Battoo, Sunderlage, Maven, Galaxy or Anchor? We can help!
Post by Brian Mahany, Esq.
Tagged: PIWM fraud, Maven fraud, Battoo fraud, Nikolai Battoo, Tracy Sunderlage