Offshore Trusts to Protect Your Assets?-Warning!!!

 

SECURING YOUR ASSETS IN OFFSHORE TRUSTS

Content provided by:  Ethan Conners-Senior Investigator

Having investigated white collar crime for more than 25 years in both the public and private sectors.  The one question it seems I am asked more than any other is, “how do I avoid loosing what I’ve worked so hard for”, or more simply how does one most effectively protect their financial well being?

Between 2009 and 2012,  an investigative study was conducted by the renowned advocacy/private intelligence organization Global Advocates (globaladvocates.ch).  This organization specializes in due diligence, the investigation of financial fraud and white collar criminal activity. The research team conducting the study was comprised mostly of former criminal investigators who were assigned the task of preforming due diligence on offshore Trust provider companies at the bequest of one of the most prominent international logistics corporations.

The results of this study is the primary inspiration for this article. The purpose is to inform, educate and offer guidance in order to help those who may desire to establish formal financial structures to make informed decisions and navigate the often murky waters surrounding asset protection through international/offshore trust structures, and avoiding crucial mistakes in that process.

Most of us have financial skin in the game of life. However, if you are one of the fortunate few who has been able to acquire above average wealth, then you likely know that you run a much greater risk of becoming “financial target”.  There are individuals and entities that lay in wait for an opportunity to take any and all of what you may have worked so hard for.

Then there’s is always the inevitable for all of us stricken with the human condition, death.  Many estates are torn asunder by greedy family members, our respective governments and lawyers upon our final demise due to lack of proper planning.

Let us not forget the intrusive and often unfair public obligations brought on by our most “well intentioned” governmental tax authorities.

For those who wish to take a proactive approach there are sophisticated legal mechanisms available to shield those who plan accordingly.

Unfortunately, in our current day society it has become acceptable practice to seek what is commonly referred to as “litigious opportunity”. It seems the world is littered with professional vultures circling, just waiting for the opportunity to strike and take what one might have, whether that be in a dissolution action, as more than 50% of all marital unions end in divorce, or other legal actions, you are at risk.

A great number of these potential adversaries come cleverly cloaked as honorable “officers of the courts”, attorneys, lawyers and barristers who make their living off the anguish and misfortune of others, “fee pigs“, as one fellow legal colleague put it.  Now we must acknowledge, that not all of the members of the ‘honored’ vocation are frivolous financial pirates, but enough of them are to have severely warped the once “Just” legal system and given the profession a bad reputation.

One recent study indicated that each of us stand a one in three chance of becoming entangled in a legal battle that could potentially destroy our “financial house”.  As a result of this trending litigious environment within the world we live, one must consider preventative measures, and if you happen to be someone of significant financial status your chances of coming under attack increase exponentially.

Therefore, You MUST take precautions to protect yourself and the legacy of your family.

Perhaps one of the most highly recommended methods to insure that you and your family’s livelihood is protected from adversaries, both pubic and private is that of an offshore trust structure.

Keep in mind however, “not all that glitters is gold.” In fact the Trust company with whom you consult, is just as important as the actual structure itself.  Don’t be fooled by glossy brochures and upscale furnishings.  Not all Trust structures are created equal either.  One must work with a Trust consultant/advisor who is based in moral principle having your best interest at hear, not fee driven and that is properly schooled in asset protection trust structures.

The genesis of the study to which I refer was a Trust client seeking to migrate substantial  Trust holdings from one Trustee company, who had acted contrary to their fiduciary responsibilities, to one of integrity.

As a result, dozens of companies were evaluated during the course of the three year study in jurisdictions ranging from Europe and Asia, to Central America and the Caribbean.  What was uncovered by all accounts was nothing short of startling.  Incidents were revealed in which well known trust companies who manage Millions and in one case Billions in assets had documented incidents of conducting themselves in a manner that was dishonest, incompetent and at times acting with deliberate malicious intent. In fact in some cases the conduct of these companies ended up literally costing the client(s) millions of dollars in losses, not to mention legal fees.

The findings in theses cases were evidenced by way of witness affidavits, official court records and supporting documentation relevant to the specific case. A vast amount of evidence was obtained directly from the former Trust clients that had themselves suffered at the hands of these incompetent and dishonest trustees.  The study revealed numerous instances where prominent highly respected Trust companies had acted in a manner that was not only inefficient, incompetent and adverse, but went so far as to deliberately violate client confidentiality for their own benefit and defense when a claims were raised in response to their questionable conduct.

Within the case study three specific incidents were selected to be closely examined based on the severity of the damages to the client as it directly related to the actions and conduct of the associated Trustee company.  Due to ongoing actions I am not at liberty within this venue to disclose the identities of the offending companies.  But, what  I can state are the international jurisdictions in which these companies are domiciled which were Gibraltar, Jersey-Channel Islands, and Switzerland to be specific.

It’s imperative to note that the three selected Trustee organizations are independent Trust companies and entirely unrelated to each other.

Further, the author MUST state that not all companies examined in these very prominent Offshore Trust jurisdictions were found to be of the same ilk.  In fact, there were numerous Trustee companies located within these countries that had no formal complaints or conflicts registered against them.

That being said, there were numerous cases where complaints had been lodged in varying jurisdictions outside the three mentioned herein. It seemed that no one jurisdiction was completely without tarnish.  However, I again reference these specific cases in the identified jurisdictions simply due to their severity, financial expense and legal burden inflicted upon the Trust client(s) involved, and the fact that each and every case noted could be substantiated by sworn evidence and official court filings.

It is vital that I make clear that the intent of this article is NOT to imply or assert that all or even most Trust companies conduct themselves in an unscrupulous manner, in fact quite to the contrary. It was the experience of most of the investigators that a vast majority of  international Trust companies do operate within standard range of ethical behavior.

The point of sharing the results and issues brought to light during this study is to encourage the reader whether they be current international Trust clients or individuals considering formation of a Trust structure, to do their own due diligence regarding placement of their assets in the hands of just anyone claiming to have their best interest at heart of their operations.

In the conclusion, based on the facts examined it is the authors opinion that a properly structured and administrated international Trust structure in most cases involving high net worth individuals and/or corporate entities are by far the best way to protect ones financial well being from potential threats public or private.

Note: {The author does not intend to make any specific recommendation toward any Trust operator or identify the companies referred to herein. Should one wish further information or would like direction to reputable offshore trust consultants and professionals please contact, [email protected].}

If you have been a victim of fraudulent scheme, anywhere in the world then it’s time to real justice and recover your losses, or should you be seeking additional information about this article and reliable international trust consultants please contact GRA for a FREE case analysis and recommendations  @   http://www.globaladvocates.ch/

Or call our U.S. Call Center @: 202.355.6756


 

 

Anatomy of a “Ponzi” Scheme

Anatomy of a “Ponzi” Scheme:

Contributed by: Lucas Trevant-Global Advocates

http://www.globaladvocates.ch

It seems most people are familiar with the phrase “Ponzi Scheme” especially after 2008 when Bernard Madoff and his investment firm, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, were charged by the SEC with securities fraud for a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme perpetuated on his firm’s clients for many years.

In Madoff’s case he appeared to be a successful securities investor.  He had been a prominent member of the securities industry throughout his career.  He served as vice-chairman of the NASD, he was a member of its board of governors, and chairman of the New York region.  He was also a member of the NASDAQ Stock Market’s board of governors and it executive committee and served as chairman of its trading commission.   Over a period of 48 years he established a significant reputation in securities trading and his clients trusted him.

What is a Ponzi scheme?     

A Ponzi scheme is an investment fraud that involves the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors.  Ponzi scheme organizers often solicit new investors by promising to invest funds in opportunities claimed to generate high returns with little or no risk.  In many Ponzi schemes, the fraudsters focus on attracting new money to make promised payments to earlier-stage investors and to use for personal expenses, instead of engaging in any legitimate investment activity.

Why do Ponzi schemes collapse?

        With little or no legitimate earnings, the schemes require a consistent flow of money from new investors to continue.  Ponzi schemes tend to collapse when it becomes difficult to recruit new investors or when a large number of investors ask to cash out.

How did Ponzi schemes get their name?

        The schemes are named after Charles Ponzi, who duped thousands of New England residents into investing in a postage stamp speculation scheme back in the 1920s.  At a time when the annual interest rate for bank accounts was five percent, Ponzi promised investors that he could provide a 50% return in just 90 days.  Ponzi initially brought and traded a small number of international mail coupons in support of his scheme, but quickly switched to using incoming to pay off earlier investors.

What are some Ponzi scheme “red flags”?

Many Ponzi schemes share common characteristics.  Look for these warning signs:

  • High investment returns with or no risk.  Every investment carries some degree of risk, and investments yielding higher returns typically involve more risk.  Be highly suspicious of any “guaranteed” investment opportunity.
  • Overly consistent returns.  Investments tend to go up and down over time, especially those seeking high returns. Be suspect of an investment that continues to generate regular positive returns regardless of overall market conditions.
  • Unregistered investments.  Ponzi schemes typically involve investments that have not been registered with the SEC or with state regulators.  Registration is important because it provides investors with access to key information about the company’s management, products, services and finances.
  • Unlicensed sellers.  Federal and state securities laws require investment professionals and their firms to be licensed or registered.  Most Ponzi schemes involve unlicensed individuals or unregistered firms.
  • Secretive and/or complex strategies.  Avoiding investments you do not understand or for which you cannot get complete information is a good rule of thumb.
  • Issues with paperwork.  Ignore excuses regarding why you can’t review information about an investment in writing, and always read an investment’s prospectus or disclosure statement carefully before you invest. Also, account statement errors may be a sign that funds are not being invested as promised.
  • Difficulty receiving payments.  Be suspicious if you don’t receive a payment or have difficulty cashing out your investment.  Keep in mind that Ponzi scheme promoters sometimes encourage participants to “roll over” promised payments by offering even higher investment returns.

What steps can I take to avoid Ponzi schemes and other investment frauds?

        Whether you’re a first-time investor or have been investing for many years, there are some basic questions you should always as before you commit your hard-earned money to an investment. The SEC sees too many investors who might have avoided trouble and losses if they had asked question from the start and verified the answers with information from independent sources.

When you consider your next investment opportunity, start with these five questions:

  • Is the seller licensed?
  • Is the investment registered?
  • How do the risks compare with potential rewards?
  • Do I understand the investment?
  • Where can I turn for help?

For more information, we suggest you read;  

http://www.sec.gov/investor/pubs/fivequestions.htm

If you have been a victim of fraudulent scheme, anywhere in the world then it’s time to real justice and recover your losses.

 FREE case analysis contact [email protected]    http://www.globaladvocates.ch

Or call our U.S. Call Center @: 202-355-6756

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