URGENT >> BULLETIN >> MOVING: Alarming New Allegations Surface In Cook/Kiley Scheme; Receiver Accuses Associated Bank Of Aiding And Abetting Massive Ponzi Amid Allegations That Mysterious Jordanian Trader Linked To Fraud Has ‘Disappeared’
UPDATED 9:56 A.M. ET (JAN. 30, U.S.A.) In a heavily redacted complaint, the court-appointed receiver in the Trevor Cook Ponzi scheme has accused Associated Bank of Green Bay, Wisc., of aiding and abetting the massive caper that has led to jail sentences for Cook and multiple Cook pitchmen. Associated Bank also operates branches in Minnesota, the home state of the $194 million fraud aimed mostly at senior citizens and people of faith.
Among the extraordinary assertions today by receiver R.J. Zayed is that the bank handed $600,000 in cash to Cook, and then allowed Cook “to stuff the cash into a box and walk out the door under the pretext of buying a yacht.”
The cash, Zayed alleged, belonged to Cook’s fraud victims — and Associated Bank transferred the funds from an account in the name of Crown Forex LLC to an account controlled by Cook.
Crown Forex was using an address of a packaging and shipping store in Minneapolis, according to a review of records by the PP Blog. One unredacted exhibit filed today by Zayed showed a photo of the store at 5413 Nicollet Ave. in Minneapolis. Crown Forex LLC purported to occupy “Suite 14,” according to a separate exhibit.
The Cook/Kiley scheme operated in part by using a regal theme and trading on names that mimicked the names of famous financial firms such as UBS. One of the firms identified in court papers is a bankrupt Swiss firm known as Crown Forex SA.
Cook, Kiley and a Jordanian trader identified as Shadi Swais discussed the purported Forex program with Associated Bank, according to Zayed.
But Associated Bank advised the trio that opening an account with the name of Crown Forex SA could raise regulatory concerns in the United States, so the bank recommended “opening an account with a similarly named” U.S. domestic LLC.
That’s how Crown Forex LLC came into being, apparently using the address of the packaging store, according to court records.
Even though Associated Bank knew the entity was never registered with the state of Minnesota “or any other governmental authority,” Zayed said, the bank nevertheless permitted the “sham” account to be opened.
A former bank executive — in an affidavit — claimed he told Kiley that he “must send the documentation to me after he completed a Secretary of State filing for Crown Forex LLC.”
But the former executive said he “did not remember” to follow-up with Kiley about the absent paperwork. Millions of dollars in investor funds were deposited into the account.
Crown Forex SA’s role in the fraud was to “pretend” it was a facilitator receiving investor funds and holding them in segregated accounts, Zayed alleged.
Swiss authorities shut down Crown Forex SA in 2009, just prior to the collapse of the Cook/Kiley fraud.
“Shadi Swais and others who controlled Crown Forex, SA have disappeared along with millions of dollars of investor funds,” Zayed alleged.
Not a “single penny” of investor funds ever was transferred directly from Crown Forex LLC to Crown Forex SA, despite assertions that the Swiss firm was the American firm’s facilitator, according to court filings.
But millions of dollars were transferred to Cook’s personal accounts, Zayed alleged.