Investor Says Mystery Men Bilked Him

     WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CN) – A Chicago real estate developer says he was swindled by a group of mystery men who masqueraded as stock brokers and operated a “labyrinthine” web of fraudulent firms stretching from Belize to Florida.
     In a lawsuit filed May 6, developer Cullen Davis claims he has nothing to show for more than $700,000 that he and his companies entrusted to the as-yet unnamed fraudsters between 2012 and 2014.
     Davis claims the men, under the guise of stock brokers, conned him into handing over the cash to their trading firm, BSI Capital, and then stole the funds.
     According to his complaint in Palm Beach County Court, Davis believed the money would be deposited into a trading account on behalf of himself and his companies, so that he could buy and sell securities through BSI’s “direct market access” platform.
     Unbeknownst to him, Davis claims, BSI was “nothing more than a ruse and false front created by the Defendants to steal and convert” investor funds.
     BSI Capital (a now-dissolved Florida corporation) and its identically named corporate counterpart in Belize are named as defendants, along with the alleged individual conspirators, who are listed as John Doe defendants.
     According to the lawsuit, the defendants operated a maze of corporate entities — BSI, BSIC, Broad Street International, and Titan Equity, among others — all designed to obscure the defendants’ fraud. They completed company registrations in Belize and the Carribbean island of Nevis, to sidestep the regulatory requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Davis claims.
     So as to give Davis a false sense of security, the defendants sent him bogus financial statements showing that his stock positions were generating hefty profits, according to the lawsuit.
     The defendants further covered their tracks by bandying about fictitious names and using “e-mail addresses to non-existent persons,” Davis alleges.
     Davis is demanding recompense for fraud and conversion as well as treble damages on the civil theft count, to the tune of $2.17 million.
     The largest single investor mentioned in the complaint was Davis’s company, plaintiff CJD Projects X LLC, which purportedly lost $500,000.
     Courthouse News obtained an alleged letter from BSI’s attorney Glenn Godfrey to a BSI investor, stating that BSI’s funds were frozen by Belize Bank International in 2013.
     “We assure you that we have made all efforts that are legally possible to negotiate an early resolution with the bank to lift the hold on the account. The bank nevertheless continues to hold the account in suspense and we have no other choice but to commence a claim in the Supreme Court of Belize for the immediate return of the funds as well as other reliefs. Our firm view is that the suspension of [BSI’s] account by the bank is unwarranted and has no basis in law or fact and we believe that [BSI’s] prospects of success are great,” the document states.
     “In the meantime, we ask that you continue to exercise patience and maintain your confidence in the integrity and reputation of our client,” the document reads.
     Godfrey did not respond to requests for comment on the lawsuit and alleged letter.
     Although the complaint states that nonparty Angelo Abbenante served as the “titular president” of BSI Capital in Florida, his name is not mentioned in the plaintiffs’ narrative of the purported fraud.

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