SPECIAL REPORT: Accused WCM777 Ponzi Schemer Ming Xu Expressed Concern About Being Harmed, Says He Was Cooperating With Government; Purported Texas University Claims It Has Absorbed The Bizarre ‘Joseph Global Institute,’ Raising New Questions; WCM777 Claims Deadline Extended To Dec. 24
EDITOR’S NOTE: The story about Phil Ming Xu’s asserted cooperation with the government appears below the subhead. We’ll lead with the news of extension of the claims deadline for WCM777 victims.
If you’re a victim of the World Capital Market/WCM777 Ponzi- and pyramid scam shut down by the SEC last year, you now have until Dec. 24 — Christmas Eve — to file your claim.
The original claims deadline had been Nov. 9. On Oct. 26, court-appointed receiver Krista L. Freitag asked for an extension. U.S. District Judge John F. Walter of the Central District of California granted the request on the same day, extending the deadline until Dec. 24 and empowering the receiver to take other actions “to increase the number of investor claims submitted,” according to the court docket.
This is the URL of the receiver’s site: http://www.worldcapitalmarketreceivership.com/
This is the URL of the site to file claims: https://www.wcm777claimsprocessing.com/en/Home/Filing
Among other things, the WCM777 case demonstrates the logistical challenges posed by cross-border fraud schemes operating over the Internet and involving cash transactions and potentially thousands of domestic and international bank accounts, including at least 100 linked to accused WCM777 Ponzi schemer Phil Ming Xu alone. Victims from multiple countries piled up potentially by the tens of thousands. Not all of them spoke the same language and, as in similar scams, not all of them paid WCM777 directly. Rather, they paid their “upline” sponsor, making the task of following the money and filing a claim more difficult. (See March 15, 2015, PP Blog story: “WCM777: More Theft And Money Laundering MLM-Style.”
Phil Ming Xu Says He Cooperated With Government
The PP Blog is reporting today that Ming Xu claimed in an application to file certain information under seal in April 2014 that he was cooperating with the government on matters pertaining to alleged misdeeds by attorney Vincent J. Messina, a figure in the WCM777 story. The SEC previously had described Messina, believed to be in his eighties, as an “inactive” Florida lawyer. (Also see March 13, 2015, PP Blog story: “BULLETIN: CLAIM: Former CIA Operative Was Paid More Than $400,000 By Companies Linked To WCM Ponzi Scheme.”
Messina is alleged to have come into possession of $5 million in proceeds from the WCM777 fraud, some of which allegedly was directed to International Market Ventures, a company operated by Gary Messina, his nephew. Gary Messina formerly worked as the chief information officer for the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, an arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Messina has been ordered to return the $5 million, and IMV — the recipient of a transfer from Messina — is on the hook for $941,505 of it.
The effort to lift the seal on Ming Xu’s April 2014 filings began more than a year later, on Aug. 21, 2015, with a filing by an alleged victim of Xu from Daly City, Calif. This individual asserted he’d wired $2,000 to HSBC Bank in Hong Kong as his initial investment in WCM, a company that “represented itself as a leader in China based business and finance.”
Walter lifted the seal in an order dated Sept. 14, after the office of U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker of the Central District of California did not object. Precisely what Decker’s office is investigating remains unclear, although tens of millions of dollars are alleged to have flowed through WCM and related entities.
Ming Xu once claimed campaign ties to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Freitag has alleged a California lobbying firm received $750,000 from the fraud for the purposes of “locating and securing legislators, obtaining access to such legislative leaders in California and Washington, D.C., and communicating and recommending advocacy strategies and effective public relations programs with the government.”
It is not unusual for Ponzi schemers to rub elbows with famous politicians as a means of trying to sanitize their scams, Scott Rothstein being an infamous example.
How dangerous is the world of HYIP Ponzis? Well, the Press Democrat of Santa Rosa, Calif., reported in January 2015 that investigators believe a murder might be tied to WCM777 and a companion scam known as Kingdom777.
Ming Xu also was concerned about being harmed, according to his now-unsealed motion from April 2014 to file under seal. He did not list a source of harm, but with so much money and so many tentacles involved, it could be anybody — from a person down the street to a person overseas.
From the motion (italics added):
“Xu is making this request because public disclosure of his cooperation with the government, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California and the Securities and Exchange Commission, could jeopardize potential criminal investigations and the use of proactive covert operations. If Xu’s cooperation was disclosed, potential subjects of the ongoing investigations may take certain steps to hide evidence and proceeds of criminal activity, flee the jurisdiction or potentially harm Xu or his family.”
As for what Ming Xu said in his actual declaration docketed in May 2014 and now public . . .
If you were pushing WCM777 during hotel pitchfests and in your church and continue to have doubt WCM777 was a Ponzi scheme, put those doubts to rest. The huckster conceded the Ponzi in his declaration, while alleging Messina also knew it was a Ponzi.
From the declaration (italics added):
“Mr. Messina knew the $5 million transferred to him was proceeds of an illegal Ponzi scheme and is being investigated by SEC and knew I was sending him the money to avoid detection and seizure of the funds by the federal government. I transferred the $5 million to Mr. Messina’s IOLTA account because he warned me the government would seize the money as illegal proceeds of the Ponzi scheme. Mr. Messina told me on several occasions that WCM had serious criminal and civil liability issues, and that he expected federal agents to show up at our office in Pasadena, execute a search warrant, seize all the computers, and other business records of WCM’s business operations.”
Ming Xu continued (italics added):
On or about February 27, 2014, Mr. Messina sent me a document to sign stating that the transfer of the $5 million was a non-recourse loan payable in full in five years. I executed the loan document after being advised to do so by Mr. Messina. The money I transferred to Mr. Messina was not truly a loan and the two-line document purporting to be a loan agreement is false.
On or about March 20, 2014, I wrote and sent a letter to Mr. Messina, wherein I demanded return of the $5 million transferred from the ToPacific bank account into Mr. Messina’s IOLTA account for SEC settlement. Mr. Messina refused to return the monies.
I have subsequently learned that Mr. Messina has disbursed some of these funds to an entity, International Marketing Ventures, a company that is controlled and operated by Gary Messina, his nephew.
I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct.
It is unclear if Ming Xu currently is cooperating with the government and how much his asserted cooperation in April 2014 helped in pursuit of the WCM777 case or other cases.
What is clear is that the WCM777 story has included a series of bizarre developments — everything from a pledge of love for the people of Peru written on the letterhead of a suspended California company and a recitation of the importance of “blood moons” to the appearance of a “Jesus sword” and the apparent involvement of a former CIA operative.
Strangest of all, though, may be the Ming Xu claim he was taking over a company linked to the film “Innocence of Muslims” as part of a bid to “transform nations” and “train a group of Josephs to bless the world.”
Who constituted the “Josephs” and how they would “bless the world” always has been unclear, as has the nature of the purported “training” they required. This particular segment of the WCM777 narrative is deeply strange in other ways. For example, a former reputed member of the Mafia named “Dr. Bruno Caporrimo” is part of the narrative and a purported Ming Xu associate.
So is a purported California university known as the “Joseph Global Institute” of which Ming Xu purportedly was “dean” and Caporrimo reportedly was “chancellor.” As the PP Blog reported last year, one promo for the institute appeared to rip off video footage from Liberty University, a well-known Christian college in Virginia.
‘Joseph Global Institute’ Narrative Evolves
Something that curiously calls itself “Southwestern University” even though it uses the four-letter acronym SWIU (at www.swiu.edu) now claims online that it has absorbed the Joseph Global Institute. Best we can tell, SWIU stands for “Spirituality Wisdom Inspiration Understanding” and appears not to be affiliated with Southwestern University of Georgetown, Texas, which uses www.southwestern.edu. SWIU purports to have a campus at 4040 Saltburn Drive in Georgetown, but the city does not have such a street, the Georgetown Police Department told the PP Blog today. (The city of Plano, nearly three hours from Georgetown, has a Saltburn Drive.)
The Joseph Global Institute previously planted the seed it was affiliated with Harvard.
Some people have blamed the “Innocence of Muslims” film for the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on U.S. outposts in Bengazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The issue has dogged former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, now a Democratic candidate for President of the United States.
The WCM777 Ponzi-scheme story has proceeded through all sorts of tortured twists and turns, creating nonfiction that reads like fiction. Although it not unusual for bizarre narratives to accompany Ponzi schemes, the narratives surrounding WCM777 are particulary bizarre — and Americans should be concerned and follow developments closely.
NOTE: Our thanks to the ASD Updates Blog.