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MYD trustee files lawsuit to recover $1MIL in fraudulent transfers

reporters@samoanews.com

MYD Samoa Inc’s federal trustee has filed a five count lawsuit against a Florida company and two individuals in the Sunshine state to recover more than $1 million in money that the suit claims was fraudulently transferred to the defendants.

MYD Samoa previously operated the ASG owned Ronald Reagan Railways shipyard in Satala, until it was retaken by the government last year. The MYD Samoa case remains pending in the federal bankruptcy court in south Florida.

The company’s trustee, Deborah Menotte filed the suit Monday to “recover fraudulent transfers” and defendants named in the suit are Fowler Marine Electric, Inc., Stephen Fowler and Shawn Turnquest. Court documents identify Flower and Turnquest as directors or principals of Fort Lauderdale based Fowler Marine.

According to the suit, the September 2009 tsunami caused certain damages to the shipyard (at the time it was operated by MYD Samoa) and thereafter MYD Samoa applied for a disaster relief loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), who approved a $1 million loan the following year.

SBA wired the loan money to MYD Samoa in three separate transactions, and the Debtor (MYD Samoa) immediately wired the same amounts to MYD Marine Distributor Inc., the lawsuit alleges.

Around Nov. 16, 2009, Fowler Marine was incorporated under the laws of Florida and appointed Joe Moffa as its registered agent.

The trustee believes that around the same time Fowler Marine was incorporated, MYD Samoa transferred about $285,000 to MYD Marine, which was subsequently transferred to Fowler Marine. She claims that this money initially funded Fowler Marine’s operations.

According to the suit, transfers to Fowler Marine, (from MYD Marine), totaled $1.38 million — including the $1 million of the SBA loan — and the money was allegedly for payments of work performed at the shipyard and goods delivered after the tsunami.

The trustee also provided copies of Fowler Marine’s invoices to MYD Samoa. The invoices show that the largest amount of $84,350 on the invoices is for “spray booth” equipment.

The trustee went on to claim that Fowler Marine transferred a total of $1.31 million to Moffa’s trust account and six months later, Moffa — on behalf of Moffa & Gainor P.A., issued a check of $1.31 million ( or the ‘Moffa check’) to Fowler Marine.

Contemporaneous thereto, Turnquest directed Moffa to deliver the ‘Moffa check’ to Daniel Del Monico, who received the funds on Dec. 3, 2010 and gave Turnquest $1.29 million. The trustee also provided correspondence to prove this point.

The short correspondence states in part that Turnquest took possession of $1.29 million “of my funds from Dan Del Monico at MYD Marine Distributors, Inc. on Dec. 3, 2010”.

The memo also states that, “Dan Del Monico’s company, Miami Yacht Divers Inc., was paid a 1 1/2 percent commission for depositing and cashing my check.”

(Although it’s not mentioned in this suit, previous court filings state that Del Monico is principal and owner of MYD Samoa and MYD Marine)

“Upon information and belief, Fowler Marine provided no goods or services to the Debtor after the tsunami and has never provided any services/goods to MYD Samoa,” the trustee claims in the lawsuit.

“The Debtor made the ‘fraudulent transfers’ with the actual intent to hinder, delay or defraud creditors or entities to which Debtor was or became indebted on or after the transfers were made,” the trustee argued, adding that the transferred funds were property of the Debtor.

“At the time of the transfers, Debtor was insolvent, or became insolvent as a result of such transfers, or alternatively, Debtor intended to incur, or believed they would incur, debts that would be beyond their ability to pay as such debts matured,” the suit states.

The trustee requests the bankruptcy court to enter a judgement in her favor against defendants, Fowler Marine, Stephen Fowler and Shawn Turnquest and award damages in her favor in the amount of the fraudulent transfers to the defendants, plus pre and post-judgement interest costs and for such other and further relief as the court deems just and proper.

Not mentioned in the lawsuit is whether a similar suit will be or has been filed against MYD Marine Distributor or Del Monico.



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