Millenium Bank Auction
NORTH CAROLINA, United States, November 19, 2009 -
Almost US$70 million in assets belonging to a former Caribbean banker accused of ripping off more than 375 investors, have hit the auction block.
The cars, art, jewels and wine fine of the missing 58-year-old William Wise of the St Vincent and the Grenadines-based Millennium Bank have been ordered auctioned in a move to recoup some money to repay investors.
The Rockingham-based Iron Horse Auction Co. of North Carolina is conducting the auction, which began yesterday, under a federal court order.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has alleged that Wise used the bank as a front for a Ponzi scheme in which he stole nearly US$70 million from over 300 investors from July 2004.
Millennium Bank has apparently been marketing its financial products to wealthy US citizens since 2004, and described itself as a subsidiary of a Swiss bank, United Trust of Switzerland SA. The investors, lured by the prospect of high investment returns offered by banking offshore, happily snapped them up.
Clients were asked to send checks to the Caribbean, where they were forwarded to California, the SEC said. The money was then deposited in a Las Vegas bank account opened by some of the conspirators.
Only US$3 million of the collected funds was returned to investors, according to the SEC.
No charges have been filed in the case, but after the SEC sued Wise and others in March, the courts froze all of his assets. Auctioneers hoped to raise more than US$400,000 from the sale. (Caribworldnews)