SEATTLE (CN) – Thousands of Indonesians lost more $152 million in a Dressel Investment Ponzi scheme that targeted “middle class citizens who could ill afford to lose their life savings” an “investor crisis center” claims in King County Court. “As shameful as it may be for Americans to steal from their fellow citizens, it is even more shameful to steal from citizens of developing countries,” the complaint states.
On behalf of 3,481 Indonesian citizens, Perkumpulan Investor Crisis Center Dressel – WBG claims the defendants used now money to pay off the old, and thought that “Indonesian investors would be unsophisticated and could be more easily duped than American investors.”
Dressel’s “investment professionals” included “a disbarred attorney who had been reduced to driving a bus for people in Utah to gamble at casinos located on the Nevada border” and “a retired department manager from Sears,” the complaint states.
Investors say the company “falsely stated that Dressel had formed an association with one of the founding partners of Bear Stearns” and falsely claimed that Dressel invested in projects in Japan and Europe and in public companies, though it actually “invested in only one public company and simply stole most of the funds invested.” Organizers of the Ponzi scheme used investors’ money to buy cars, fishing boats, helicopters and two lodges in Alaska, according to the complaint.
The money that was invested went to “poorly researched and sure-to-fail businesses” that were run by the scammers, including an Alaskan gold mine, a Tongan seaweed operation and a software company, the complaint states.
Regal Financial Bank, its founder and CEO Jesse Tam, and its board of directors facilitated “the collection and theft of funds, by helping to fend off inquiries by federal regulators and by failing to comply with their obligations to report this criminal scheme to the appropriate authorities,” the complaint states.
And accounting firm Tanner LC allegedly “took no steps to protect the interests of members of plaintiff, to report this criminal scheme to the appropriate authorities, or to hinder the scheme in any manner.”
Named as defendants are Danny MK Wong, Frank Ho, Joseph Yau, Jesse Tam, Regal Financial Bancorp, Regal Financial Bank, Dwight B. Williams, Kelly Thacker, David Thacker, Donald Sherer, Michelle Sherer, Glenn Springman, and Tanner LC.
The investors want $152 million. The complaint was filed by Matthew Turetsky with Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt.