CANADIAN scam artist Monte Friesner and his wife/business partner Tatiana Nazarova enter the new year facing trouble. Serious, massive, omnipresent trouble, as in, criminal investigations, bank accounts frozen, allegations of fraud, evictions and so on.
Monte Friesner has, since arriving in Panama, tried to project an image of a former career criminal who had chosen the isthmus as a place to build a new, better and honest life. Cultivating an aura of the successful and connected financier, yachtsman and Maserati aficionado, he sought access to Panama's rich and famous together with Tatiana Nazarova, working out a variety of businesses and deals.
However, all of that is now imploding with a bang that leaves the recent Christmas fireworks displays pale in comparison. A string of criminal investigations, financial troubles, evictions and other problems proves it.
Your Bananama Republic has learned, for example, that there is much more to the Friesner's apartment in the Bellagio tower being for sale. According to a criminal complaint for aggravated fraud that prosecutors are currently looking into, the sale is illegal and a desperate attempt by the criminal couple to get out of a case of mortgage fraud.
Our crime couple bought the apartment through a corporation they owned for that purpose, Bellagio Properties SA, of which Tatiana Nazarova owned all shares (Friesner, still being bankrupt in Canada, can't legally own anything without committing bankruptcy fraud).
Early 2009, Friesner needed to raise some cash and attempted to get a mortgage on the apartment, but the banks wouldn't give him one. Subsequently, he and Nazarova made a deal with their landlord at the Global Bank tower, where they were renting office space. The landlord would buy Bellagio Properties SA from Nazarova, and she could buy back the shares after a year. Meanwhile, the couple, which thus no longer owned the apartment, would have to pay rent.
However, they soon got behind on their rent payments and Tatiana Nazarova never opted to buy back the shares. When promises to pay the outstanding debt were not met and they became even more delinquent on payments instead, the new owner of the apartment set everything in motion to have the Friesners evicted.
For that, they needed a so-called paz y salvo, a document showing that there are no liens and mortgages on the property. And when trying to get that document, the landlord discovered that there was a mortgage on the property, that the mortgage was in default, and that the apartment was to be sold by the lender.
What happened? Fraud. After having sold the apartment, the Friesners now tried to take it back illegally and sell it again. That's why Nazarova didn't try to buy back Bellagio Properties SA; they were going to steal it!
For that they could count on the help of their corporate lawyer, the notorious Herbert Young, law partner of José Isabel Blandón, a Panameñista legislator who currently fronts for Bosco the Clown's garbage mess. Young's company, Isabel Investment Corporation, provided a mortgage with a maturity of only three months. Nazarova signed that mortgage contract, fraudulently pretending to be an officer of Bellagio Properties SA - as if she had never sold that company. These counterfeited papers were then filed with the appropriate registry. As it looks right now, no money ever changed hands, it was just a paper transaction.
Isabel Investment Corporation's president is Rita Moreno de Young, Herbert's wife, who also heads the Friesner real estate outfit Swiss Hannover International Realty Corp. In between heading these shady schemes, Mrs. Moreno still finds time to work at Banco Nacional - the only bank in Panama that still wants to do business with the Friesners.
Subsequently, the Friesners defaulted on the fake mortgage, and Herbert Young sprung into action again, getting all papers ready to repossess the apartment and have it sold. That's where things stood when the landlord discovered this scam.
Tatiana Nazarova, when confronted, "turned three shades red", according to someone present at that meeting. She admitted that this was fraud, but stated that, "they told me to just sign the papers". The Friesners & Co were given a week to clear this mess up or else. After two weeks, they had not done that, and the landlord has now filed a criminal complaint as well as several civil cases. These include not just Tatiana Nazarova and Monte Friesner, but also Herbert Young as well as other accomplices. Young could also face losing his lawyer license over the case.
Aggravated fraud is serious business in Panama with severe prison sentences and for which people can even be held in preventive custody. The latter might not be a bad idea in Friesner's case, as he is not a resident of Panama and could be considered a flight risk. After all, Friesner avoids traveling to the US because of an $11 million judgment against him that one of his victims obtained - clearly proof that he'll run from whatever the courts impose on him.
On top of that, the Friesners will be evicted on or just after the 15th of this month from the Bellagio tower. That is usually an impressive affair with police and other officials, and you can be assured that your Bananama Republic will be there to cover this festive event. We heard the couple is trying to move to Clayton (landlords alert: ask for at least six months rent in advance!).
(UPDATE 7/1/2011: We just received a complete copy of the criminal complaint, which was filed along with 20 pieces of evidence. The accused are: Tatiana Nazarova, Monte Friesner, Herbert Young Rodriguez, Rita Gisella Moreno Pretto, Raykza Young, Marcos Young Vega, and Raul Ivan Castillo Sanjur. The most serious crime they're accused of is "estafa agravada", which carries a minimum sentence of five years imprisonment. Next to that they're accused of criminal association and falsification of documents. A request has been made to forbid the accused to leave the country and to place them in preventive custody. It's worth noting that Herbert Young and his associate José Blandón have already another - unrelated - case for fraud pending against them in the Supreme Court - more on that to follow.)
BANK ACCOUNTS FROZEN, CLOSED
And that's not the end of Nazarova's and Friesner's legal and financial worries. Bananama Republic also learned that a bank account in the name of Nazarova with the Coconut Grove Bank in Miami, Florida, was frozen. The account was used to receive money from the elusive Lawrence B. Heath, a lawyer from Toronto and business partner of Friesner who is also named as a conduit for looted Russian funds in a report of the Russian parliament about wholesale corruption in the former USSR.
Similarly, it appears that CitiBank in Panama also ended its relationship with the crime duo and its string of fake enterprises, while MasterCard has reduced its involvement with the Pronto Cash debit card scheme as hardly any of these cards are being sold (which doesn't stop Nazarova from falsely promising credit lines of $50,000 on these cards to prospective customers, as we found out when one of our readers posed as a wannabe client).
There are also more criminal cases. Prosecutors have adopted a criminal case against Tatiana Nazarova and Monte Friesner, filed by their former webmaster Rogelio Alvarado. The case is related to the website Wanted SA, a fake investigative outfit that purports to offer business due diligence services but in reality - in classic underworld PR fashion - serves a vicious smear campaign by Nazarova and her husband against various individuals and businesses (your author being one of the many victims as well).
Wanted SA as a company doesn't exist. It's a fraud (we're sure you are shocked, dear reader, to hear this....).
Nazarova and Friesner have tried to conceal ownership of the website. The domain is registered and hosted privately and after pushing and prodding Friesner would only admit that he was "funding the initiative" and later announced that he was hired as a "crime consultant" - all that while playing his favorite game of assuming a myriad of fake identities.
Nazarova has opted to stay largely invisible, but evidence shows that she in fact controls the site.
Various victims of Nazarova's Russian mobster-style smear campaigns started to cooperate and gather evidence, and authorities were helpful too.
For example, the phone numbers listed in the signature of Wanted SA emails turned out to actually be the same numbers that Carlyle-Coutts Capital Corporation owns, of which Tatiana Nazarova is the company secretary, the treasurer and a director. Taken from a Wanted SA email:
(202).787.3861 - WASHINGTON, D.C.
(888).255.1533 - TOLL FREE FROM USA & CANADA
(44) 207.993.6256 - LONDON CENTRAL, UNITED KINGDOM
And here's the numbers listed in Carlyle-Coutts emails:
USA: Washington, DC (202) 787.3861
Panama: (507).210.1332 Fax (507).210.1326
USA & Canada: (888).255.1533
Then, we'd find interesting tidbits in the headers of the Wanted SA emails, like:
from Monte (unknown [220.127.116.11]) (Authenticated sender: firstname.lastname@example.org) by homiemail-a64.g.dreamhost.com (Postfix) with ESMTPA id 83D8535C092;
In fact, most of the Wanted SA emails came from IP address 18.104.22.168. A so-called "whois search" was then done on that IP address, which turned up that it has been allocated to Carlyle-Coutts and Tatiana Nazarova is responsible for it (see here for yourself):
owner: CARLYLE COUTTS CAPITAL CORPORATION S. A.
responsible: TATIANA NAZAROVA
address: CAMPO ALEGRE, CALLE 50, NUEVA, P12 1201, ., .
address: 083100593 - Panama - PA
phone: +507 0 3404444 [.]
So, this evidence alone (we haven't even mentioned everything, there's much more) proves already that Wanted SA, Carlyle-Coutts and Tatiana Nazarova are actually one and the same thing, linked to each other by their identical phone numbers and IP addresses. Whichever way you turn it, Tatiana Nazarova is responsible for publishing the website and liable for its content.
From the same IP address, by the way, emails from the shady Pronto-Cash scheme are being sent as well. Nazarova is a president and shareholder of that outfit too, together with aforementioned lawyer Herbert Young, among others.
All evidence has been verified and certified by the competent authorities.
PERJURY, FALSE COMPLAINTS, VIOLATIONS OF PRIVACY LAWS
And yet, there are more penal troubles looming for Friesner and Nazarova. We already reported that we're preparing criminal and civil action against them - the Friesners not being intelligent enough to negotiate a way out but instead seeking to pile up their legal problems and spend the rest of their days defending themselves against a myriad of criminal charges, or in jail - for perjury and knowingly filing false criminal complaints.
Then, Friesner recently admitted on a Yahoo forum that he was illegally using his access to Panama's credit bureau to verify the status of individuals that he has no business with and who had not been informed of this action - both violations of the law - and we learned that this will indeed be followed up upon as well.
PANAMA SAILING SCHOOL SINKS DEEPER, FINANCIAL TROUBLES EVERYWHERE
Last but not least: The Panama Sailing School - Friesner's pathetic attempt at posing as a yachtsman - is in serious trouble too. Today January 4th, the electricity was cut at the offices at the Amador causeway, and they owe about $8,000 in rent and are facing eviction there too.
Then, the Sailing School is about to lose its certification by the American Sailing Association because Friesner's outfit isn't complying with the standards. That should hardly come as a surprise for a "sailing school" that has no boats registered in Panama and thus can't charter any boats they may own, or use them for any other commercial purpose.
The FaceBook page of the outfit is updated with fake reports of whale-watching trips, with pictures taken from elsewhere on the web, a bit of research showed.
And that's still not the end of the Friesner's troubles. We also learned that they owe rent at the CrediCorp building as well, also about $8,000. In that building they maintain the offices of the largely defunct Pronto Cash scheme.
The Maserati has already been sold.
IS ANYONE STILL BUYING?
Since we started reporting about the shady activities of Monte Friesner and Tatiana Nazarova, there has been a steady exodus of disgusted employees from Friesner's offices. Others do not have such qualms, however. Friesner's PR flack, the notorious scam pimp Don Winner, is still trying to get the tar and feathers off his head from the last twenty-or-so fraud artists he was promoting on his website and is on a steady course to more public shame and humiliation in the Friesner case. Yet a newcomer in this field is British "journalist" David Young of Newsroom Panama, who enlisted Friesner as a columnist in exchange for some advertising pennies in what can only be described as a disregard for facts and journalistic ethics that sadly indicates the advanced stages of senility.
Luckily, the Panamanian employees of Nazarova and Friesner have more sense of decency. After Friesner went on one of his classic rage-driven tangents at headquarters against his work force, accusing them of stealing (sic!) and spying, none of the employees attended the corporate Christmas party the crime duo had organized....