What goes around: High West Capital Partners linked to stock loan fraud
If you’ve lost money through stock lending with High West Capital Partners, LLC, or are a broker for the firm and your commission has been withheld, you are not alone.
Federal and international regulators are now investigating High West Capital Partners and its management for a range of offenses including securities and wire fraud, money laundering and identity theft.
In fact, prosecutors believe they are running the exact same racket to bilk unsuspecting victims as that carried out by Argyll Equities, LLC and Amerifund Capital Finance, LLC eight years ago.
Let’s take a look at the scam:
High West Capital Partners claim to help companies ease liquidity worries by loaning them money in exchange for borrowing their stock.
A borrower, usually a company CEO or similar, lends stocks in order to secure financing, without realizing that High West Capital Partners intend to sell it immediately to pay for the loan.
High West Capital Partners then works with Look’s Securities, a brokerage in Hong Kong, to dump the newly-acquired shares in Asian markets. This often causes the borrowing company’s share price to slump and trigger a default on the loan agreement.
If the borrower does manage to pay off the loan, even though the contract is full of several clauses not in their favor, the trail goes cold when it’s time to give the stock back. High West Capital Partners use all the excuses in the book as a reason for not returning the shares, ripping off businesses like yours and leaving it to fail.
The investigating authorities are concerned that not only is this same fraud being played out again by High West Capital Partners and Look’s Securities, but it is being masterminded by the same individuals who were pulling the strings in the Argyll-Amerifund fraud.
These shadowy individuals escaped justice by covering their tracks and ensuring no communications trail was left as they fled to Asia and let their staff take the fall.
A simple check on the addresses High West Capital Partners are linked to is enough to see that these are all fronts to help them hide the murky ownership structure of their company. This complex trail also enables them to divert cash through channels that are almost impossible for members of the public or private investigators to trace.
High West Capital Partners gives different details about its operations to the authorities in each of these areas in order to deceive the public and circumvent rules which force companies to declare more information about their finances and structure.
Let’s break that down:
High West Capital Partners LTD is registered at Kingston Chambers, Town Road, VG1110, British Virgin Islands (BVI). It uses the jurisdiction’s notoriously opaque and secretive company register to funnel away cash.
High West Capital Partners PTE. LTD of 8 Marina View, #43-01, Asia Square Tower 1, Singapore 018960 is another shell company used to route money out of Singapore in a manner that obscures the identities of the individuals behind the businesses.
High West Capital Partners, LLC is registered to 91 Pantigo Road in East Hampton, New York.
This is a residential address linked to multiple shell companies in the area. High West Capital Partners US agent Allison Zelledon lives at the address and is registered as the legal contact, allowing the company to hide details of its true management structure and provide a front for activities involving US clients.
The cryptic nature of High West’s activities is also evident in the mystery surrounding the company's agents and management.
The High West Capital Partners managing director Jim Locke, and senior agents Daniel Ginacola, Eric Disbrow and Chasen Nevett are in the crosshairs of federal investigations over their fraudulent activities, but how much do we know about them?
None of the High West Capital Partners victims willing to speak out have met any of these individuals other than Chasen Nevett, who is being investigated for identity theft alongside the other charges of fraud, and none of them appear on any legitimate register of licences.
Image 1 - United States Federal Indictment Warrant for the ringleaders of the High West Capital Partners scam.
Image 2 -Arrest warrant issued by Northern California for Chasen Navett, a suspect in High West Capital Partners federal investigation.
In fact, Nevett appears to be lined up as the patsy who will do the jail time and suck up the multi-million-dollar fines, just as the Argyll and Amerifund management did, while the true kingpins behind the fraud get away with it again.