In a 23-page lawsuit filed Dec. 1 in federal court for the Southern District of Texas, the MyAdvertisingPays “program” claims it has been ripped off to the tune of $60 million by VX Gateway, a payment processor with alleged business divisions in Texas, Panama and the United Kingdom. The complaint does not say whether MyAdvertisingPays has reported the alleged huge theft to law enforcement.
MyAdvertisingPays, a purported advertising business with model similar to “programs” that have been prosecuted for fraud and the sale of unregistered securities under U.S. laws, operates online and is known variously as MAP or MAPS. The complaint was filed in the name of MyAdvertisingPays (MAP) Limited, “an Anguillan corporation” that claims a “principal place of business” at a residential address in Ocean Springs, Miss.
Anguilla is a British overseas territory in the Caribbean.
Why an offshore entity was claiming a principal place of business in Mississippi was not immediately clear. MAPS said it 2015 that it was pulling out of the United States. Mississippi business records show a company known as My Advertising Pays L.L.C. was situated at a different Ocean Springs residential address and was dissolved in September 2013.
Named defendants in the complaint were VX Gateway Corp. of Houston, VX Gateway Inc. of Panama City, Panama, and VX Gateway Limited of Leeds, United Kingdom. Also named defendants were apparent VX executives Timothy MacKay and Celia Dunlop of Houston.
In May, the PP Blog reported that Roger Alberto Santamaria Del Cid, an apparent nominee director for offshore companies who once was listed as the contact person for the Perfect Money payment processor and a corporate “subscriber” for VX Gateway in Panamanian business records, was referenced at least three times in the “Panama Papers.” Del Cid, whose name also surfaced in the context of the notorious Finanzas Forex fraud scheme in 2010, was not named a defendant in the MAPS lawsuit against VX.
MAPS, which lists Michael Deese as it CEO, contends that the lawsuit it brought against VX and its associated companies and executives “is about the recovery of $60 million of stolen money.”
The complaint paints a picture that MAPS believed VX “itself would process payments made to MAP.” Instead, according to the complaint, VX “only provided the online portal itself, and outsourced all payment processing to various third-parties.”
Beyond that, according to the complaint, VX “initially, and for an extended period of time, refused to disclose” the identities of the third parties.
From the complaint (italics added/light editing performed):
Around the time that MAP and VX Gateway entered into the Agreement, MacKay required MAP CEO, Michael Deese (“Deese”), to sign numerous documents, including but not limited to, bank signature cards and/or power of attorney agreements allowing VX Gateway and/or MacKay to act on behalf of MAP and/or Deese, that MacKay stated were necessary to set-up various bank accounts to facilitate the processing of payments by MAP’s customers.
VX Gateway retained all the original documents signed by Deese, including but not limited to, the original copy of the Agreement and any and all documentation necessary for setting up various bank accounts on behalf of MAP. VX Gateway provided no copies of any of the formational documents including, but not limited to, the Agreement to MAP.
The complaint did not explain why Deese ever would do business with a firm that allegedly operated in this manner. Regardless, over time the defendants allegedly didn’t return about $60 million due MAPS.
Law360.com wrote about the specific allegations here. (Registration may be required.)