A PONZI MYSTERY: Trevor Cook’s Faberge Eggs, Iraqi Dinars Missing; Appraiser Braves Elements, Accesses Cook’s Frozen Island Retreat In Canada By Snowmobile
R.J. Zayed, the receiver in the alleged Trevor Cook/Pat Kiley Ponzi scheme in Minnesota, says he did not find Cook’s collection of Faberge eggs when, armed with a court order, he searched Cook’s home in Apple Valley. The precise size of the collection is unclear, but it has been described in court filings as featuring “numerous” eggs.
The fabulous jeweled eggs also didn’t turn up at the Van Dusen mansion in Minneapolis, which Cook and Kiley used as an office. Potentially “millions” of Iraqi dinars once stored on the third floor of the mansion also are missing, according to court filings.
Zayed was able to get cursory information on Cook’s island getaway in Canada, though — thanks to a real-estate appraiser who was willing to venture to the Rainy Lake Island property near Fort Francis, Ont., on a snowmobile.
“Given the difficulty traveling to the island during the winter, however, no other licensed appraisers have been able to make an on-site inspection as of [yesterday],” Zayed said.
Additional appraisals will be obtained with the spring thaw, presumably in April, “when the weather allows easier access to the island,” Zayed said.
The Rainy Lake Island property consists of 2.3 acres of land. There are “several structures on the property, including an 1130 square foot log cabin, a guest cabin, docks and sheds,” Zayed said.
“The dwelling structures are newly constructed and weather tight, but unfinished on the inside. The property is serviced with electrical power supplied by under water cable originating from the Minnesota side of the lake,” Zayed said.
He estimated that the property was worth about $400,000 to $500,000.
Cook, who is jailed for contempt of court for not turning over receivership assets, purportedly purchased a submarine to access the island, but discovered the waters were too dark for the submersible craft.
Because of the unfriendly waters, Cook talked about moving the craft to Panama, whose waters he believed more suited for use of his submarine, according to court filings. The submarine purportedly was purchased on eBay.
Zayed was able to locate 31 watches in a collection described in court filings as “vast,” including a “diamond studded Rolex watch that Cook gave to his wife and that she maintained in a safe deposit box.” He also recovered a ROM exercise machine that retailed for $14,165.
Investors in the alleged $190 million scheme may get “pennies on the dollar,” Zayed said.
Prior to being jailed in January, Cook asked Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis for a monthly allowance of $6,679, including a monthly outlay of $105 to cover the expenses of his three housecats and $100 for a gym membership.
While searching Cook’s home, Zayed seized three automobiles: a 2005 Lexus 33 series; a 2004 Lexus L43; and a 1997 BMW 328ic. He is seeking to auction them off.
Zayed already has sold a 1989 Rolls Royce; a 2004 Audi RS6; a 1985 Pontiac Fiero â€œLamborghini Kit Carâ€; a 1998 BMW Z3; a 1989 Mercedes 420 SEL; and a 2000 Lexus. The cars, some of which had high mileage, fetched $73,100, according to court filings.
All buyers were required to “sign a statement certifying that they were not serving as a proxy” for Cook or any other person or entity that is part of the probe, Zayed said.
Meanwhile, Zayed sold Cook’s large-screen, high-definition TVs and other items such as computers and gambling equipment for “at least” $24,000 — higher than the expected amount, according to court filings. A final accounting of the auction was not yet finalized.
An inventory of items suggested that the collection featured 10 TV sets with 50-inch screens and two sets with 42-inch screens. Like the car-buyers, the TV-buyers had to certify they were not acting as a proxy.
The Cook/Kiley entities perpetrated “a massive scheme to defraud and that they never operated as legitimate investment vehicles,” Zayed said, noting that he believes the entities “have no value as ongoing businesses” and that “the value of any ‘investments’ in these entities has a present value of zero dollars.”
Zayed said the Van Dusen mansion has a “still-confidential buyer” willing to pay $1.6 million in cash for the historic structure. A deal could close next month, if no buyer willing to pay more emerges.
The property was marketed for $1.995 million, and racked up some big bills for security, repair of furnaces, repair of the alarm system, snow removal, cleaning and other maintenance.
Cook, Kiley and several companies were implicated in an alleged $190 million Ponzi and forex fraud in November by the SEC and the CFTC. Kiley formerly hosted a show on Christian radio.