New York CEO Caught In Bahamas Legal Mess
Tommy Belesis, founder of John Thomas Financial, is caught in a legal bramble in the Bahamas that could turn into big trouble with the authorities
The trouble began with Belesis’ plan to take control of America West Resources, a penny-stock coal producer based in Salt Lake City.
Belesis reached out to Gordon Mascarenhas, an Ontario-based financier, to assist on the deal. He asked Mascarenhas to establish a shell company in the Bahamas, called AWSR, which would raise about $3 million to buy America West bank debt.
In late March, Belesis wired his partner $60,000 to get the deal going — including $10,000 to pay legal bills. But $50,000 of investment cash never made it into AWSR’s bank account and no money was ever raised, Belesis claims.
In early May, Belesis demanded his money back, but Mascarenhas said Belesis is to blame for the soured deal.
Bahamian lawyer, Tara Dorsette, hired to shepherd the process through the Bahamas’ administrative red tape, raised numerous red flags. She said she tried to get legal information from Belesis to complete the legal and financial paperwork — but never received it. She later resigned as AWSR’s lawyer.
Mascarenhas was getting nervous about Belesis’ plan to send profits from AWSR to a Cyprus entity owned by Belesis.
In June Belesis filed a lawsuit accusing Dorsette and Mascarenhas of fraud to which Mascarenhas responded with legal fire in the Bahamas — claiming the AWSR deal may “constitute a suspicious transaction” in violation of the Bahamas’ various laws, including anti-money laundering.
Mascarenhas also sent a complaint to the Central Bank of the Bahamas and said he would be contacting the Attorney General there.financial, fraud, law