Realty Firm Linked To Carlos And Katia Wanzeler Also Linked To Former TelexFree CFO Joe Craft

(2nd Update 2:12 P.M. EDT U.S.A.) Acceris Realty Estate LLC, a Massachusetts company that listed Katia Wanzeler as its registered agent, was formed by Joe H. Craft in February 2013, according to corporation records in Massachusetts.

Craft, accused by the SEC last month of securities fraud at TelexFree, is TelexFree’s former CFO. The appearance of Craft’s name in the Acceris document raises new questions about the length and breadth of his ties to TelexFree. It also raises questions about his knowledge of ancillary businesses with ties to TelexFree and his objectivity when appointed TelexFree CFO on April 13 in what effectively was a board meeting conducted by  co-owners Carlos Wanzeler and James Merrill.

Both Carlos Wanzeler and Merrill now are accused of felonies in the operation of TelexFree, with federal prosecutors alleging they engaged in a wire-fraud conspiracy. Merrill was arrested and jailed on May 9. Carlos Wanzeler has been labeled a fugitive. Records show both men also are under criminal investigation for securities fraud and money laundering.

Massachusetts resident Katia Wanzeler, the wife of Carlos Wanzeler, was arrested last week on a material-witness warrant at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Court papers link her name to Acceris and say she sought to board a plane bound for Brazil.

The extent of her knowledge about TelexFree, Acceris and her husband’s business activities is unclear. A court document in the material-witness case signed by Katia Wanzeler asserts her husband “owns [a] real estate company” and that “some houses” may be in the name of Katia Wanzeler.

The document further asserts that Katia Wanzeler received an “unknown” amount of compensation from a real-estate business and had $3,000 in cash on her person when arrested in New York. The source of the cash and how she had traveled to JFK Airport are unclear in court filings.

Carlos Wanzeler ducked into Canada and flew to Brazil after raids on TelexFree’s office in Marlborough (Mass.) and his home in Northborough (Mass.) in April, according to prosecution filings.

Records in Worcester, Mass., link Acceris to at least four properties: two on Coburn Avenue, and one each on Barnard Road and Mount Avenue. The $162,600 Barnard Road property lists “WANZEIER, CARLOS” as the assessed owner, apparently misspelling the TelexFree co-owner’s last name. “WANZELER, CARLOS” is listed as the assessed owner of the $120,300 property on Mount Avenue. The two Coburn Avenue properties list Aurora Loan Services LLC, a Colorado firm in the mortgage-lending and servicing business, as the assessed owner. The properties have an estimated combined value of $337,100. Aurora appears to have no ties to TelexFree.

The Craft link to Acceris may suggest that TelexFree money was diverted to acquire real estate, not for operational purposes at TelexFree, which says it is a VOIP company. A TelexFree-related entity in Brazil (Ympactus) linked to Carlos Wanzeler and TelexFree figure Carlos Costa also purportedly was in the real-estate development business, perhaps using funds from TelexFree members to fund a purported project involving Best Western Hotels.

“The representation and other suggestions that TelexFree has a business relationship with Best Western is false,” the SEC alleged last month.

It is somewhat common in the HYIP sphere for “programs” to plant the seed they have ties to major companies as a means of leeching off famous brands and sanitizing purported opportunities. It also is common for “programs” quietly to divert resources and plow them into investments or acquisitions external to the “opportunities.”

Much to the surprise of members of the AdSurfDaily “advertising program” taken down by the U.S. Secret Service, now-jailed ASD operator Andy Bowdoin suddenly announced at a 2008 “rally” in Florida that ASD had a real-estate division. ASD later was alleged to have peeled off money from members to retire the mortgage on a Florida home occupied by Bowdoin’s stepson and the stepson’s wife, both of whom later emerged as alleged players in an ASD reload scheme known as AdViewGlobal.

Other ASD money allegedly was peeled off to purchase a building and a lakefront property in Florida equipped with a Cabana boat, jet skis and other marine equipment. The Feds seized the properties and equipment as fraudulent proceeds of ASD’s $119 million scam.

It is believed that AdViewGlobal’s start-up capital consisted at least in part of money not seized in the Secret Service probe of ASD because Bowdoin and others had hidden it to avoid capture by law enforcement. AdViewGlobal, for instance, appears to have had at least one bank account in Switzerland, along with access to cash held by offshore processors such as AlertPay and SolidTrustPay. Both AlertPay and SolidTrustPay later were linked to the $850 million Zeek Rewards Ponzi- and pyramid scheme.

Acceris marks at least the second possible TelexFree offshoot linked to Craft. In April, the SEC said Craft incorporated an entity known as TelexFree Financial Inc. of Coconut Creek, Fla. TelexFree Financial, TelexFree Inc. of Massachusetts and TelexFree LLC of Nevada filed for bankruptcy two days before the SEC brought its fraud action.

When federal agents raided TelexFree’s Marlborough (Mass.) headquarters on April 15, they allegedly found Craft in possession of 10 TelexFree-related cashier’s checks, including one made out to Katia Wanzeler for more than $2 million.

New TelexFree CEO Stuart MacMillan said in bankruptcy court that he did not believe that “Mr. Craft was attempting to divert any of the Debtors’ cash or other resources.”

Both MacMillan (as CEO) and Craft (as CFO) were appointed to their TelexFree positions by Carlos Wanzeler and James Merrill during what effectively was an emergency board meeting in the hours immediately before TelexFree’s April 13 bankruptcy filing.

The Acceris corporation record in Massachusetts that identifies both Katia Wanzeler and Craft was filed 14 months before Craft was appointed TelexFree CFO and raises questions not only about his objectivity when appointed, but also whether he knew TelexFree had planned to divert resources into real estate.

Under certain conditions, such diversions can constitute securities fraud and embezzlement.

MacMillan said during the bankruptcy proceeding earlier this month that Craft resigned as CFO on April 17.

NOTE: Thanks to the ASD Updates Blog.

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5 Responses to “Realty Firm Linked To Carlos And Katia Wanzeler Also Linked To Former TelexFree CFO Joe Craft”

  1. Quick note: **[UNCONFIRMED] Twitter report says judge decided today not to let James Merrill out on bail. [UNCONFIRMED]**


  2. PP Blog has received confirmation that Merrill will remain jailed.


  3. I thought I read BostonGlobe and it said that Katia drove to JFK in a car owned by Aceris? (I wouldn’t be surprised if she just left it in the parking lot) Or did I confused Carlos’ escape on a car registered to Aceris?

  4. K. Chang: I thought I read BostonGlobe and it said that Katia drove to JFK in a car owned by Aceris? (I wouldn’t be surprised if she just left it in the parking lot) Or did I confused Carlos’ escape on a car registered to Aceris?

    Hi K. Chang,

    Carlos Wanzeler allegedly was in a BMW registered to Acceris when he entered Canada at about 11 p.m. on April 15, the date of the headquarters raid.

    Why he chose to fly out of Canada remains unclear. Also unclear is what he did while he was there for all or parts of three days and why he allegedly flew out of Toronto on the 17th.

    Montreal is much closer to the Lacolle border crossing than Toronto. Since TelexFree conducted business in Canada, one wonders if he went up there to retrieve money.