(CN) – In separate federal complaints, two businesses say they were conned out of a total of $473,000 by Frank Lorenzo and his Milan Group, of Pennsylvania, with assistance from a Washington, D.C.-based attorney. The defendant is not the airline magnate of the same name.
Both alleged scams involved promises of a $10 million letter of credit, or “leased instrument,” in return for an “investment” of around $250,000. Both plaintiffs say they sent the money for the attorney to hold in escrow, but she released it to Lorenzo and they got nothing for it.
Kuman Banque, a Wyoming LLC, sued attorney Brynee K. Baylor and her Washington, D.C. law office Baylor & Jackson; and Frank Lorenzo and his alter ego, The Milan Group, in San Francisco Federal Court. Kuman says it was taken for $250,000.
In a separate, but similar federal complaint in San Jose, Princeton Developments, a California LLC, sued the same defendants, plus Syed Ali Abbas, described as an associate of Lorenzo who lives in Fremont, Calif.; and Patrick Lewis and his alter ego, GPH Holdings, an Idaho LLC.
Kuman claims that around Aug. 20, 2010, Lorenzo called and promised it a $10 million “letter of credit” if it deposited $350,000 into a trust account held by Baylor.
Kuman claims that Lorenzo told it that “The ‘instrument’ would be ‘monetized’ within 90 days and that the funds would be used by Lorenzo, through Milan, to acquire through lease, a ‘larger instrument’ of not less than $100 million which would be used to fund plaintiff’s ‘participation’ in a ‘private placement platform.'”
Kuman claims that Baylor and her law office, “by and through its managing partner, Brynee K. Baylor, promised in writing to act as plaintiff’s attorney, to hold plaintiff’s $250,000 in escrow in its attorney/client trust account and that it would, under no circumstances, release any part of the money unless plaintiff first gave authorization.”
Kuman claims it ponied up $250,000, then demanded it back, but its demands were “ignored by Brynee K. Baylor,” until she “finally advised plaintiff that on October 25, 2010 that she and her firm had released plaintiff’s funds, on information and belief, to Lorenzo and The Milan Group …”
Kuman says it believes now that “the only purpose for the elaborate scheme was to induce plaintiff to part with its money, which, under the said scheme and with the aid of defendants Brynee K. Baylor and Baylor & Jackson would end up in the pockets of these said defendants with plaintiff receiving nothing thereby.”
Kuman demands punitive damages for fraud, breach of contract and attorney malpractice.
In its complaint, Princeton Developments tells a similar tale, and says it all happened at about the same time.
Princeton claims that Syed Ali Abbas, on behalf of himself and of Lorenzo and his company and Patrick Lewis and his LLC, contacted it on or around Sept. 9, 2010, and promised a $10 million “leased instrument” in exchange for its investment.
The instrument would be monetized, Abbas said, and the money would be used to purchase a new $100-150 million “leased instrument,” according to the complaint.
Princeton says it coughed up $223,000 and got the same thing for its pains that Kuman got – nothing.
Princeton also seeks punitive damages for fraud, breach of contract and attorney malpractice.
Both plaintiffs are represented by Steven Hassing of Roseville.