SPECIAL REPORT: Investor In Alleged Florida Forex Caper Arrested For Bankruptcy Fraud; Botfly LLC Ponzi Case Reminiscent Of ASD Case; Female Investigator Called Vile Names; Accused Schemer David Lewalski Shifted Blame To Government, Feds Say

UPDATED 1:14 P.M. EDT (U.S.A.) A Florida man who allegedly received $1.5 million from an international Forex fraudster now jailed in the United States has been arrested on charges of bankruptcy fraud, federal prosecutors said.

The three-count indictment against Jon Jerald Hammill, 39, of St. Petersburg, was unsealed yesterday. It marked the fourth major Ponzi-related event in Florida in recent days. The state is the site of some of the most complex fraud investigations in the nation, and the case against David R. Lewalski — from whom Hammill and his company allegedly received money — is no exception.

Hammill, whose arrest was announced in Washington yesterday by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, was accused of failing “to disclose that he had received more than $100,000″ from Lewalski’s company prior to the filing of his bankruptcy petition” in February 2009. He is further accused of not disclosing his ownership of a shell company into which payments from Lewalski’s Ponzi scheme were routed and not disclosing his business relationship with Lewalski.

Although Hammill’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy initially was granted in July 2009, U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee Donald F. Walton later reopened the case and sought to revoke Hammill’s discharge for fraud. In court filings, Walton said Hammill invoked his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination when questioned about his dealings with Lewalkski’s company, which was known as Botfly LLC.

Breuer is the head of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. The federal probe into the alleged $29 million Botfly Forex caper is being led by U.S. Attorney Robert O’Neill of the Middle District of Florida, with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Washington as the lead agency. O’Neill and his predecessor — former U.S. Attorney A. Brian Albritton — have squared off against against a series of spectacular fraud schemes operating in the region.

Among the cases are the Beau Diamond Ponzi scheme, the David Merrick Ponzi scheme known as TIRN, the $220 million Forex Ponzi scheme of Jamaican David A. Smith and the alleged EMG/Finanzas Forex fraud. Investigators say they have traced proceeds from the EMG/Finanzas fraud to the international narcotics trade. A task force working in the region also did investigative legwork in the alleged AdSurfDaily Ponzi scheme.

Some of the cases have elements that only can be described as bizarre and deeply disturbing. In the Lewalski case, for instance, it is alleged that Lewalski discussed a plan by which he’d divert blame to the government for his legal predicament in a bid to get his victims to pay for his defense.

By making the government the bogeyman, Lewalski hoped victims would come to believe that he — as opposed to investigators — offered the best shot of getting back their money, according to court filings.

At least one person gave Lewalski $50,000 to pay for a lawyer — and this occurred after Lewalski had chartered a private Gulfstream IV jet at a cost of $172,744 to fly from the United States to Belgium one day after he was charged civilly in Florida, according to court filings.

One women — an attorney for the court-appointed receiver in Florida’s civil case — was made the subject of misogynistic rants by Lewalski, according to court filings. The rants were cited by federal prosecutors who argued successfully that Lewalski should not be released on bond.

Prosecutors also argued that Lewalski had spent astronomical sums of investors’ money on luxuries in the United States and Europe and advised investors to take the 5th Amendment when questioned. In court filings, prosecutors argued that Lewalski also sought to tamper with witnesses.

Lewalkski, prosecutors said, told “family members and other potential witnesses to stay quiet and not cooperate with law enforcement.”

The receiver’s attorney was called a “c[$%!]” and a “Nazi,” according to court filings. In one rant, Lewalski allegedly said, “So f[$%!] her what a bitch.” Court documents also allude to a woman who allegedly was called an “FDLE chick” and described by Lewalski as “nuts” and a “bitch.”

It was not immediately clear if Lewalski was talking about the receiver’s attorney or a different woman employed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement  when making the alleged “FDLE chick” remark. In the context of the remark, however, Lewalski is alleged to have discussed a “nuclear option.”

Separately, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service alleged that Lewalski complained to investors he defrauded about “recent ‘Orwellian’ totalitarian tactics” employed by U.S. investigators in Ponzi scheme cases, instead of accepting accountability for his fraud.

But even as Lewalski was grumbling that his U.S. assets had been frozen, he allegedly did not tell his investors what had happened to their money and why they had not been paid as promised prior to the seizure. Instead, according to the investigating postal inspector, he talked about money he was able to access in Europe after he left the United States hastily, saying he had as many as six offshore accounts.

Among Lewalski’s other claims was that he had been “investigated and cleared by the Securities and Exchange Commission,” according to court filings. Members of ASD also have claimed that ASD, which was accused of orchestrating a $110 million international fraud from Florida, was given the green light by the SEC.

No evidence has surfaced in either the ASD case or the Botfly case that the SEC approved of the companies’ operations. Meanwhile, ASD members also have directed rants at prosecutors and investigators, describing them as “goons,” “Nazis,” merchants of “Satan” and criminals. One ASD member proposed that a federal prosecutor be placed in a medieval torture rack, with ASD members at large drawing straws to determine who got the honor of turning the torture wheel.

Another ASD member proposed that a “milita” storm Washington in defense of ASD. Still another said that the company’s critics consisted of “Rats, Bed Bugs, Maggots, Cockroaches And Everything Else.”

Lewalski, 47, operated Botfly from his mother’s home in Bayonet Point, Fla., according to court records.

After being charged civilly by the state of Florida in April 2010, Lewalski immediately left the United States, spending the next seven months in Europe, according to court filings.

He is believed to have returned to the United States in October 2010, but investigators said he pretended still to be in Europe. Lewalski was arrested in New York on November 4, 2010. Prosecutors said he was staying in a luxury suite atop the Mandarin Oriental Hotel for which he had paid $143,000 in advance with investors’ money.

The Mandarin bills itself “the most breathtaking luxury hotel in New York,” and Lewalski’s suite overlooked Central Park, according to court records.

Visit the site of the court-appointed receiver in the Lewalski Forex Ponzi case.

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4 Responses to “SPECIAL REPORT: Investor In Alleged Florida Forex Caper Arrested For Bankruptcy Fraud; Botfly LLC Ponzi Case Reminiscent Of ASD Case; Female Investigator Called Vile Names; Accused Schemer David Lewalski Shifted Blame To Government, Feds Say”

  1. I wonder if Mindy Bales is reading this? She declared bankruptcy and then was bragging about all the money she had made with ASD. Wonder if the Iowa authorities are aware of her claims, but I bet they would love to know about them.

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  2. My guess is that they are short staffed but not dumb and that Ms. Bales may not as be as safe from prosecution for a fraudulent bancruptcy claim as she would like to be.

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  3. A quick note to her bankruptcy trustee should clear that up.

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