BELIZE CITY, Tues. June 23, 2015–Last July, news broke that a company trading under Cynk Technology on the US stock exchange had been stopped from trading after the worth of the penny stock company mysteriously ballooned to US$6.4 billion. At the time, Belizean Javier Romero, who once worked as a Fisheries official in Belize but who had since migrated to the United States, was named as the president, chief executive officer, chief finance officer and main shareholder of Cynk, which was purportedly set up to develop a social network online, featuring a ‘Black Book’ of many notable figures, including Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Lawrence, and claiming to hold the key to contacting some of the most sought-after celebrities. Romero had denied involvement in the company.
The Cynk controversy soon faded off the radar—until this week, that is, when US law enforcement officials announced the arrest of Gregg R. Mulholland, 45, a dual US and Canadian citizen, also known as “Stamps” and “Charlie Wolf,” on charges of securities fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy for fraudulently manipulating the stocks of numerous U.S. publicly-traded companies and then laundering approximately US$300 million in profits through at least five offshore law firms.
An official release by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said that Mulholland was arrested at Phoenix International Airport early Tuesday during a layover of his flight from Canada to Mexico.
The release added that, “Mulholland was the secret owner of Legacy Global Markets S.A. (Legacy), an offshore broker-dealer and investment management company based in Panama City, Panama and Belize City, Belize, which was indicted in September 2014.”
Legacy, which was said to be owned by Brian De Wit, 45, a Canadian, is one of six corporate defendants named by US authorities in an indictment last September, when two prominent establishments in Belize—Gordon House and the Matalon on Coney Drive—were raided as a part of US-led investigations, in an effort to unravel what US authorities allege is a billion-dollar scheme through which US citizens were allowed to use shell companies incorporated offshore in Belize to hide their assets from US officials.
The arrest of Mulholland comes less than a week after the EU included Belize on its first ever list of top 30 international tax havens—an action which, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow has described as “the empire” striking back in a move which he said was intended to further plans by members of the international community to kill Belize’s offshore sector.
Tuesday’s FBI release said that, “…the Mulholland Group used shell companies in Belize and Nevis, West Indies, which had nominees at the helm. This structure was designed to conceal the Mulholland Group’s ownership interest in the stock of U.S. public companies, in violation of U.S. securities laws, and enabled the Mulholland Group to engage in numerous ‘pump and dump’ schemes.”
It furthermore charged that by creating this web of companies, the Mulholland Group was able to manipulate the stock of Cynk Technology Corp.
“Mulholland was intercepted on a court-authorized wiretap in May 15, 2014, admitting to his ownership of ‘all the free trading’ or unrestricted shares of CYNK,” said the FBI’s release.
“Prior to this May 15, 2014 conversation between Mulholland and his trader at Legacy, there had been no trading in CYNK stock for 24 trading days. Over the next two months, the stock of CYNK rose from $0.06 per share to $13.90 per share, a more than $4 billion stock market valuation for a company that had no revenue and no assets,” it added.
The FBI release says that the charges in the complaint are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Mulholland faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment.
Meanwhile, the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) also moved on Tuesday to sue Mulholland.
“This case involves an unregistered distribution of the securities of Vision Plasma Systems, Inc. (‘Vision Plasma’) by Gregg R. Mulholland (‘Mulholland’)—a recidivist who is past due on a $5,309,434.94 judgment owed to the Commission,” the SEC said.
It claimed that, “Mulholland controls and is the beneficial owner of at least nine …IBCs, which were set up by an offshore entity located in Belize that specialized in forming IBCs to help clients evade the U.S. securities and tax laws.”
It identified those nine IBCs as Alladin Marketing LLC, Bristol Trading Inc., Castlegate Financial Inc.,
Grindstone International Ltd., Powerguard International Inc., Prospera Financial Inc., Techtrade Investments Inc., Timeline Resources Ltd., and Vista Resources Inc.
According to the SEC in the U.S., “In May 2012, Vision Plasma issued 230,320,838 shares, bearing a restricted legend to Shilo Capital Inc., another IBC setup by an offshore entity located in Belize. Mulholland controls and is the beneficial owner of Shilo Capital Inc.”
In August 2013, Cynk stopped using 3960 Howard Hughes Parkway as its address in SEC filings and began using Suite 400 at The Matalon in Belize City. In late 2013, the company also began to use Cynk Technology as its name instead of Introbuzz.
The company claimed that Romero offered space free of charge at Suite 400 of The Matalon in Belize. However, Titan International Securities, which does have an office at Suite 403 of The Matalon, has issued a press release, disassociating itself and The Matalon from Cynk.
The company said that, “Cynk never has operated out of the office of Titan, and, to Titan’s knowledge, never has had an office in …The Matalon building. Matalon building management has confirmed that Cynk does not have a presence in The Matalon building.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York had issued a statement on Tuesday, September 9, alleging that three brokerage firms were created in Belize to help US citizens in “fraudulent manipulation schemes” of publicly traded companies, including Cannabis-Rx Inc., in a scheme said to be masterminded by an elderly American along with citizens from Belize, the Bahamas and Canada to offer US$500 million (or BZ$1 billion) in offshore asset protection.
The six-count indictment named Robert Bandfield, also known as “Bob Bandfield”, 70, a US citizen; Andrew Godfrey, 51, a Belizean; Kelvin Leach, 34, a Bahamian; Rohn Knowles, 29, a Bahamian; Brian De Wit, 45, a Canadian; and Cem Can, also known as “Jim Can,” 44, a Canadian – all said to be living in Belize City, Belize.
The 6 corporate defendants named were IPC Management Services, LLC; IPC Corporate Services Inc.; IPC Corporate Services LLC (collectively, IPC Corp) located at Suite 404 of the Matalon on Coney Drive, Belize City; Titan International Securities, Inc. (Titan) owned by Leach, Suite 403 of the Matalon; Legacy Global Markets S.A. (Legacy) owned by Brian De Wit, also located on the 4th floor of the Matalon on Coney Drive; and Unicorn International Securities LLC (Unicorn), said to be established by Jim Can in 2013 and located at Gordon House on Coney Drive, Belize City.
Knowles and Leach, the men associated with Titan International Securities whom the US has sought to have extradited, subsequently faced prosecution by the Financial Intelligence Unit in Belize for failure to declare funds, but the case went nowhere, due to a no-case submission by attorneys for the defendants.