UPDATE: In SEC’s TelexFree Case, Agency Says Department Of Homeland Security And Sheriff’s Deputy Stopped Nearly $38 Million From Leaving Firm’s Massachusetts Office During Execution Of Search Warrant; Money Is Now Frozen

This check for more than $10 million is dated April 3, 2014, and is made out to XXX, according to an SEC exhibit. Redactions by PP Blog.

This check for nearly $10.4 million is dated April 3, 2014, and is made out to TelexFree Dominicana SRL, according to an SEC exhibit. Redactions by PP Blog.

EDITOR’S NOTE: See story from earlier today on the SEC’s complaint and fraud allegations against the TelexFree “program,” executives and key promoters.

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A Bristol County Deputy Sheriff at the scene of a Tuesday raid by the Department of Homeland Security at TelexFree headquarters in Marlborough, Mass., stopped nearly $38 million in cashier’s checks from leaving the premises in a “bag,” the SEC says in court filings.

On Wednesday, a federal judge froze the money, securing “millions of dollars of funds” and preventing “the potential dissipation of investor assets,” the SEC said.

Joseph H. Craft, TelexFree’s chief financial officer, was at the scene Tuesday and attempted to grab “a laptop and bag,” asserting that he was a TelexFree “consultant” assisting with the firm’s bankruptcy and that the items were “personal items,” the SEC said in an affidavit.

Craft, 50, of Boonville, Ind., is a defendant in the SEC’s TelexFree action announced earlier today. He and several other defendants are accused of fraudulent or deceptive conduct in connection with the purchase or sale of securities, fraud in the offer or sale of securities and the offer or sale of unregistered securities.

He is a certified public accountant, has prepared financial statements for TelexFree and has worked for other MLM companies, the SEC said.

TelexFree, the SEC said, was a massive pyramid scheme that may have more than $1.1 billion in liabilities.

“The Deputy Sheriff told Craft he could not take the laptop and bag and that these items would be subject to the search,” the SEC said in the affidavit. “[Homeland Security Investigations] Agents searched the bag and identified ten Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. cashier’s checks totaling $37,948,296.”

Nine of the checks were dated April 11, 2014, just two days before TelexFree petitioned for bankruptcy in Nevada, according to the SEC affidavit and other court filings.

The nine checks were “remitted to” James M. Merrill, TelexFree’s co-owner and former president. Of the nine, five were made out to TelexFree LLC “totaling $25,548,809, and one was made out to Katia B. Wanzeler,” believed to be the wife of TelexFree co-owner and treasurer Carlos Wanzeler,” the SEC asserted in the affidavit.

The Katia Wanzeler check was for the sum of $2,000,635, the SEC alleged.

A check dated April 3 was “remitted to” Carlos Wanzeler and made out to “TelexFree Dominicana SRL in the amount of $10,398,000,” the SEC alleged in the affidavit.

TelexFree Dominicana SRL’s relationship to TelexFree was not immediately clear.

On April 15, two days after the TelexFree bankruptcy filing and apparently just hours before the raid, Merrill “submitted an unsolicited order to sell $1,150,000 of his mutual fund holdings” and to have the money transferred to a bank in Massachusetts, the SEC said in the affidavit.

“Bank statements show that two companies controlled by Craft received more than $2,010,000 between November 19, 2013 and March 14, 2014,” the SEC said in its complaint.

The SEC complaint also references American MLM attorney Gerald Nehra, though not as a defendant.

Nehra, the SEC said, said in a TelexFree video posted online in August 2013 that “[t]he special ingredient is that you have a real product.”

The product, the SEC said today, was a VOIP system used to mask a massive pyramid scheme that collapsed.

And the video appeared after a TelexFree-related probe in Brazil had begun, according to the SEC complaint.

Carlos Costa, another TelexFree figure not named a defendant in the SEC action, also was referenced in the SEC complaint. Costa is based in Brazil, where an arm of TelexFree has been under investigation amid pyramid-scheme allegations since at least June 2013.

In a video posted online weeks after the Brazilian pyramid probe began, “Costa stated that TelexFree ‘never was, never will be an illegal pyramid because of the sales of the VoiP service,'” the SEC said. “He asserted, ‘We do not depend on everyone coming in in order to pay the people who are already in.'”

The reality, the SEC said, “is quite different.”

NOTE: Our thanks to the ASD Updates Blog.

 

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4 Responses to “UPDATE: In SEC’s TelexFree Case, Agency Says Department Of Homeland Security And Sheriff’s Deputy Stopped Nearly $38 Million From Leaving Firm’s Massachusetts Office During Execution Of Search Warrant; Money Is Now Frozen”

  1. Patrick, your picture above is also being used here:
    http://ethanvanderbuilt.com/2014/04/17/telexfree-scam-end-ponzi/

    I recognized the red blocks. The original PDF, available on the Boston Globe web site does not have the red blocks.

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  2. Ethan is a fellow scambuster, FYI.

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  3. Thanks for letting me know, Tony.

    Patrick

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  4. This should definitely be a wake up call to some people. I think what shocks me more is some people still are trying to push this company/program. I am still seeing it promoted. Not sure how though.

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