Sept. 26 Deadline Set For Filing TelexFree Claims; Claims Portal Opens As James Merrill Fights Evidence In Criminal Case
UPDATED 11:53 A.M. EDT U.S.A. Sept. 23, 2016: The claims deadline has been extended until Dec. 31, 2016, at 4:30 p.m. Prevailing Eastern Time. Claims must be filed through TelexFreeClaims.com. Our earlier story is below . . .
TelexFree participants and others who may have a claim against the estate should read this important notice from bankruptcy Trustee Stephen B. Darr. It is styled “Notice of Deadline for Filing Electronic Proofs of Claim and Claims Procedures” and appeared on the docket yesterday.
The electronic claims portal has been established at TelexFreeClaims.com and is operational, according to Darr’s notice. The deadline to file claims is Sept. 26, 2016, at 4:30 p.m. prevailing Eastern time.
BMC Group Inc. is administering the electronic proof of claim (ePOC) form and its name appears on the TelexFree claims portal.
Chief Bankruptcy Judge Melvin S. Hoffman of the District of Massachusetts has ruled TelexFree a Ponzi- and pyramid scheme.
In a separate case, TelexFree principals James Merrill and Carlos Wanzeler were indicted in 2014 on charges of wire fraud and wire-fraud conspiracy. Wanzeler allegedly became an international fugitive by fleeing the United States for Brazil.
Merrill this month sought to suppress evidence obtained as a result of a search of TelexFree headquarters in Marlborough, Mass., on April 15, 2014, two days after TelexFree’s bankruptcy filing, according to defense court filings in the criminal case.
Through attorney Robert Goldstein, Merrill argued that the search by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was “unconstitutionally overbroad and unparticularized” in that it targeted “all computers” and “all records.”
Among other things, agents seized a laptop computer that day from TelexFree “consultant” Joseph Craft, according to the defense. Merrill argues that Craft’s laptop and all other evidence seized that day should be excluded.
In 2014, the SEC alleged that Craft was TelexFree’s CFO and was in possession of nearly $38 million in TelexFree-related cashier’s checks on the date of the search.
As the PP Blog reported on April 17, 2014 (italics added):
“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.
NOTE: Our thanks to the ASD Updates Blog.