A California bankruptcy judge has issued a warrant of arrest, calling for the immediate arrest of alleged Ponzi schemer Greg Martel by the US Marshals Service, suggesting he may be in the country.
Meanwhile, new details have emerged about Martel’s run-in with a private investigator and authorities in Thailand in August.
Martel is the disgraced Victorian mortgage broker that owes about 1,200 investors $226 million after the collapse of a finance scheme that promised clients incredible returns of up to 100 per cent a year in some cases.
Court-appointed receiver PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has been charged with finding out where the money went and recovering any assets benefiting defrauded investors. Martel’s whereabouts remain unknown.
According to new filings filed in the U.S., Martel continues to defy court orders, most recently through interactions with a California investor named Daniel Castellini to whom he owes $2 million.
Castellini is believed to have hired a private investigator who located Martel in Thailand and then arranged for him to be detained by Thai authorities on an expired tourist visa, PwC senior vice president Neil Bunker said in a statement.
Martel ordered to leave Thailand
Bunker goes on to say that Castellini and Martell then “entered into a deal” in which Martell transferred the Las Vegas mansion, two Teslas and “substantial” cash to Castellini, in violation of court orders barring him from disposing of the assets.
The deed to the Las Vegas property was allegedly notarized “via audio-visual communication” on August 29, 2023. Bunker said Martel was released from Thai custody the next day and ordered to leave the country, which he did.
Bunker’s statement said Castellini then contacted a Canadian investor who is paying for PwC’s asset recovery efforts in the US. The purpose of the conversation was to advise the Canadian that the Las Vegas property was no longer operational as it had already been transferred. him.
So far, only 300 thousand dollars have been recovered from the 226 million dollars that disappeared. Martel has not been criminally charged in any state, but is under criminal investigation by the BC Securities Commission.
Martel and his company Shop Your Own Mortgage (SYOM) went into receivership on May 4, an action that consolidated more than a dozen lawsuits filed by individual investors claiming they were owed money.
SYOM was believed to be in the business of pooling investor money to provide short-term bridge loans to real estate developers, but so far investigators have found no evidence that any loans were ever made.
“The absence of records here points to the concept that [SYOM] It was a Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Martel,” Bunker said in a statement.
Martel did not cooperate with PwC in the receivership process despite being forced to do so by multiple court orders.
A hearing has been scheduled for October 24 in the US California bankruptcy court for PwC’s application to recognize the Canadian court proceedings south of the border.
The arrest warrant issued on September 29 states that US authorities agree to recognize and enforce a contempt order Last month, the BC Supreme Court issued an order seeking Martel’s arrest in Canada.
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