Note: Julie McEwen (Investor) sued Accelerated Commercial Consultants (Corporation) and three of its employees (Employees) for, among other claims, negligent misrepresentation, negligence, violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), fraudulent misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, and unjust enrichment.

The claims arose from Investor's US$ 450,000 "investment" with Corporation. Investor's money was to be used by Corporation to obtain a US$ 100 million bank guarantee to fund a particular investment opportunity, and once the bank guarantee was obtained, Investor would be paid US$ 1.25 million. Corporation wired funds (including Investor's funds) to Ron Arneson (Attorney), who was to hold the funds in escrow until Sagrado Oro, LLC (Broker) obtained the bank guarantee in favor of Corporation.

However, Attorney released the funds to Broker before Corporation received the bank guarantee. Shortly after the funds were released, Broker did provide Corporation with a bank guarantee in favour of Corporation for EUREUR 100 million, ostensibly from Banco Santander, but this guarantee later proved to be fraudulent. Despite repeated assurances that the plan was "on track and moving forward as anticipated", and that Investor would receive her money, Investor's principal was never repaid, nor did she receive the US$ 800,000 return she had been promised.

On one of the Employees' motion to dismiss, the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, Philip Pro, J., dismissed all claims related to negligence or a breach of fiduciary duty, because there was no genuine issue of fact that Employees owed Investor a heightened duty of care. However, on all other claims, the Judge denied the motion to dismiss, finding that genuine issues of fact existed.

Comment: Although it is not so stated in the order, this transaction is an example of an advance fee scam. A bank guarantee would not be traded in such a manner, nor would it yield the extraordinarily high (178%) return that was promised to Investor. Good luck to Investor in collecting anything if she obtains a judgment since the funds have probably disappeared.



The views expressed in this Case Summary are those of the Institute of International Banking Law and Practice and not necessarily those of ICC or the other partners in DC-PRO.