Monday, June 27, 2011

This blog has been created to redress insinuations, allegations, misinterpretations, and falsehoods

This blog has been created to redress insinuations, allegations, misinterpretations, and falsehoods concerning Voyageur Foundation and the Jarman family. It also tries to show how the media can manipulate information to foster it own view of a situation instead of reporting the facts as it should. These statements are drawn from a series of articles written by Alison Macgregor published in the Montreal Gazette between April and June 2011.
     “Teetering on the Edge”
by Alison Macgregor
The Montreal Gazette, April 9, 2011

Fact


“Voyageur presents itself as an investment club.”
 Voyageur Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in Panama, and is an investors club. Voyageur is employed by its members and represents exclusively their interests when dealing with international companies.
“…annual membership fees of up to $2,000 get clients access to privileged investment opportunities.”  Annual membership fees for services range between $205 and $750 a year.

“Up to 1,000 investors from Quebec and Alberta could be out up to $65 million."
 Not even half this number of members is affected by the default of this one company, and the capital outstanding is closer to $20 million counting interest accumulated.

“They tell you that if you put $25,000 in Voyageur, in 10 years you’ll have $800, 000,” one disaffected Quebec member said.

The source of this statement can’t be confirmed. Voyageur Foundation has always stressed that past results are no guarantee of future performance.



Philip Jarman manages millions in offshore investments.



Phil Jarman does not manage millions of dollars, and has never represented himself as a financial manager. He is one of the founders of Voyageur Foundation. He speaks at conferences and publishes newsletters emphasizing the need for individuals to get involved in their own financial planning and to be responsibly aware of their financial situation.

“Voyageur is a pyramid scheme.”
Voyageur has no multilevel multi-level payment plan. Voyageur does not pay Canadians for referrals. Voyageur has grown by word-of-mouth, due to recommendations from satisfied members.

“Voyageur would invest money on behalf of members.”
 Voyageur is not an investment company. Through its private web site Voyageur presented reports from enquiries made on behalf of the members, on companies that were arm’s length and independent to Voyageur.


“Voyageur has asked members to fork over an additional $460,000 to cover legal fees.”
Voyageur Foundation has covered all of the legal costs from the legal defense fund built by members. It asked members to contribute $460,000 to pay the Security for Costs bond that was requested by the Defendant in a court action taken to recover member’s loans. The Security for Costs bond will be released upon the conclusion of the court case.
“Despite withdrawal problems, the company held an investors conference in February 2010 in Florida, where more than 20 members paid about $7,000 to attend.”
Voyageur held a conference in Florida. The ticket cost was $1,000. 

"Voyageur is registered as a charity in Costa Rica."
 Voyageur is a foundation registered in Panama, which, by definition is a not-for-profit organization. It is not a charity and has never presented itself as such.

Voyageur claims to advise members on “safe and guaranteed investment opportunities…”
Voyageur Foundation has always stated that it serves members who seek high yield investment on the international market. Voyageur also stated that these opportunities are only for “adventure class” investing.

“Voyageur has not issued a prospectus.”
Voyageur has not issued a prospectus because it is not an investment company and is not a Canadian entity.

“People mortgaged their homes to become involved.” 
Voyageur Foundation’s mission was to educate its members on risk-taking strategies. Voyageur has always urged people not to mortgage homes or use credit cards for high-return, high-risk investments.
 “Does Voyageur family own school?” by Alison Macgregor
The Montreal Gazette, May 12, 2011

Fact
“The family that runs Voyageur Foundation – a Costa Rican organization that refused to return $65 million in investments, has managed to pull together enough money to build and staff a private Christian elementary school and campus.”
Voyageur Foundation is not an investment company and has not refused to return funds. It is diligently working for its members to recover assets.
Two founders of Voyageur started Tree of Life International School in 2007 with school teacher Maria del Mar Segovia, and two other parents.



“A school that family members claim not to own…”

In fact, what happened was a reporter named Carolina Acuna called and asked Christian White who owned the school when he was in a meeting. He asked her to call again, but she never called back. If she had, she would have learned that the school is owned by Maria del Mar Segovia, Angela Jarman and Christian White. The school was financed by bank loans and loans from family in Canada. 

“The school is located in the upscale Santa Ana neighborhood of San Jose…”
The school is located opposite a horse field, down the road from a mechanics shop, next to low-budget housing on one side, and a mid-rent condo on the other.
Christian White Hernandez claimed that his wife, Angela Jarman, did not work at the school. Angela Jarman frequently volunteers at the school but is not on payroll.

“Tree of Life’s students enjoy a swimming pool, playing field, gardens, library, a Mandarin language laboratory and a Bible Club. Basketball and tennis courts are under construction.”
The Tree of Life campus was formerly a single-family dwelling that was renovated to hold 6 classrooms plus a small multi-purpose class room that holds the library and gives space for yoga and drama classes. The Mandarin laboratory is a roofed concrete area that serves for basketball and mini-tennis as well. This same space is where children eat lunch and have their afternoon clubs.
 “Companies connected to money-laundering scandal”
by Alison Macgregor,
The Montreal Gazette, May 12, 2011

Fact


The extended family behind Voyageur Foundation runs 69 corporations in two Central American countries.
Only 5 of the 69 companies named by the Gazette are actually active and have links to Voyageur Foundation. Many of the 69 companies show up on the registry canceled.
The extended family of Christian White and Angela Jarman have nothing to do with the management of Voyageur Foundation.
“Many of these companies are connected to a Panamanian money laundering scandal involving former Nicaraguan president Arnoldo Aleman.”
Now this is creative journalism! There is simply no connection between Voyageur and Mr. Aleman, whose name was genuinely unknown by everyone at the office until Ms. MacGregor’s article was published. For the record, Voyageur Foundation, its members, founders and administrators, have nothing to do with Arnoldo Aleman or any money laundering scandal!
“Corporate records show that three Panama based individuals – Francis Perez, Leticia Montoya and Katia Solano – are part of the clandestine team behind Nicstate…one of several Panamanian firms used by Alem├ín to launder some of the approximately $100 million he was convicted of embezzling during his term as Nicaraguan president from 1997 to 2002.”

The Panamanian registry shows that these 3 individuals - Francis Perez, Leticia Montoya and Katia Solano – serve on approximately 2,000 other corporations! They were assigned to the company as directors by law firm Mossack Fonseca to satisfy Panamanian regulations. The Panamanian registry not only publicly lists their names (which make one wonder about the choice of the word “clandestine”) it also records that Nicstate went on to change directors in 1999, a year before Voyageur Foundation was formed and several years before many of these companies were created.  We suppose it just sounds more exciting to add “money laundering” to the headlines, but journalism is not only about selling papers, is it?
“The same trio has been assigned essential duties at 29 of the Jarman and White Hernandez families’ Panamanian companies.
Hmmmmm. “Essential duties” for inactive companies – we’d love to know more, Ms. MacGregor! Let us know, if you don’t mind, just what these people have been doing for Voyageur, in case they decide to present us with a bill for services rendered!
“Charles White Solano worked as a senior manager at a national co-operative organization in Costa Rica, where he and several co-workers were once accused by the government of stealing housing bond money from poor people. (The charges were forgiven after his former boss, powerful politician Rodolfo Navas Alvarado, reached a settlement with the government.)”
Voyageur Foundation is requesting a copy of the judicial report to set the record straight concerning Mr. White’s stellar reputation and high level of personal integrity. Charles White Solano was not charged in relation to the management of the bond money. The entire event took place one year after he had moved to another organization. He was summoned as a witness. The money was not stolen – the funds were used to finance another housing project for homeless families. 
“While many of the close to 1,000 Canadian Voyageur members are teetering on the brink of financial ruin, the people behind the “investment club” have been buy pursuing other business interests.” The founders of Voyageur Foundation have dedicated the last year exclusively to recovery efforts, funding an expensive court battle in different jurisdictions and informing members every step of the way.
 “Voyageur’s due diligence false”, by Alison Macgregor,
The Montreal Gazette,  May 12, 2011

Fact


“The Jarmans, the Canadian family behind the foundation, told Canadians who invested their savings in firms recommended by the organization that it used independent third-party firms to perform “due diligence” on the investments. That claim has turned out to be false.”
 Voyageur Foundation was at all times independent to the companies that it reported on its web site. Voyageur Foundation did not receive money from these companies, in return for listing them on the web site. Before listing them, Voyageur Foundation hired professionals to comment on the business plans and arranged visits to their installations. After members got involved, Voyageur reviewed the companies on a quarterly basis. Statements issued by the companies were reviewed by Voyageur each month.
“A Gazette investigation has found evidence that undermines the claim that Balmain Trading Corp. and Life Resources Inc. – two Panamanian firms charged with verifying and accrediting investments for the foundation – are independent of the Jarman family.”
This is interesting, because in fact, Voyageur Foundation has never stated that Balmain Trading Corp. or Life Resources Inc. is separate from Voyageur Foundation! It has never claimed that either company is independent of the Jarman family either. We think this freelance reporter may have had a low budget or tight deadlines, or might have had a misinformed source. 
“Panama corporate registry records and internal Voyageur documents obtained by The Gazette reveal the Voyageur employee Christian White Hernandez, the husband of Voyageur director of Member services Angela Jarman, is also the president of Balmain…”
Investigative reporting is alive and well. The Gazette is “uncovering” something known to all members who have had any business dealings with Balmain Trading, or have ever read the Voyageur web site. Christian White has signed on Balmain Trading Ltd. loan contracts since the company was formed, and has represented the company on all reports related to Balmain Trading published on the web.
Interesting note: Balmain Trading is listed nowhere on the Panama Registry, because it’s not a Panamanian company, so one wonders what “corporate registry records” this reporter is talking about?

“The Gazette has reported that Angela Jarman, the daughter of Voyageur founder Philip Jarman, is the president of Panama-based Red House Development Inc. … Red House shifted members’ money to Eiger Capital Corp., the major shareholder of a firm controlled by Ponzi scheme mastermind Gary Sorenson.”


More stunning discoveries… for the reporter, anyway. In fact, Angela Jarman regularly updated members in her capacity as the president of Red House. Red House Developments Corp. lent money to Eiger Capital Corp. for use in Merendon Mining Corp. Red House has now been awarded a judgment against Eiger Capital Corp. in Belize, after Eiger defaulted on loan payments in 2010.



“A Gazette source has also disclosed that the Jarman Family received a commission of up to 6 per cent on investments made by Voyageur members.”
Debenture companies borrowed funds from Voyageur members and lent them to specific companies. Members were advised how the funds lent to the debenture company would be used. The debenture companies charged 6% and disclosed this fee to members up-front.  Fees were not hidden as they are in most conventional mutual funds. Of the 6% fee, 2% was put aside in a legal defense fund, should the company default and the debenture company need to take action.
“That means that the Jarmans could have received close to $4 million in commission on the $65 million invested by Voyageur members. If 1,000 members paid between $1,000 and $2,000 in annual membership fees to Voyageur over a 10-year period, the Jarman family would have pulled in $10 million to $20 million from these fees as well.
We can find no fault in the arithmetic! The only problem seems to be the research. There aren’t 1000 members. Voyageur doesn’t charge annual fees of $1,000 - $2,000. And there hasn’t been $65 million invested! 




“In essence, the advice provided by a company controlled by Philip Jarman’s son-in law urged investors to invest in a firm run by Philip’s daughter, netting the Jarmans a generous commission. The daughter’s company then handed investors’ money over to a company controlled by a Ponzi scheme mastermind – and investors weren’t able to retrieve their investments.”
In essence, Voyageur Foundation ensured that members could:
  • Access reports about different investment companies and see what was known and what was not known about the company;
  • Meet other members who had invested in the same company, and compare notes;
  • Talk to company managers;
  • Visit the installations of the company;
  • Lend to those companies, without committing tax evasion and in a way that could be legally enforced in the jurisdiction where the company was based;
  • Learn upfront about any fees and costs (no hidden fees);
  • Receive contracts stating where money was invested;
  • Receive monthly statements and annual tax reports.
 “All that glitters”
by Alison Macgregor
The Montreal Gazette, June 3, 2011

Facts

“…Merendon Mining Ltd – the same gold mining and refinery firm at the heart of the Ponzi scheme…”
Merendon Mining Ltd. is not charged with anything related to a Ponzi scheme; Merendon CEO Gary Sorenson is personally facing charges for theft and fraud over $5,000.
“Despite being unable to retrieve an estimated $65 million in investments, Voyageur Foundation members continue to pump money into it….”
Voyageur Foundation does not receive and has never received funds from members. Voyageur Foundation is not an investment company.
"The AMF is investigating Voyageur to see if it is operating a Ponzi scheme."
The order by the AMF from Feb. 28th does not state that they suspect Voyageur Foundation of being a Ponzi.
“Documents suggest the Ponzi scheme and Voyageur both had their genesis in Calgary approximately 11 years ago.”
Voyageur Foundation was founded in Panama in March 2000. The establishment of Voyageur had nothing to do with Milo Brost or Gary Sorenson.
“Like Voyageur, the Ponzi scheme operators used a multi-level marketing model…” Voyageur did not have a multi-level marketing model.
“…the ‘deluxe’ investment program promised potential returns of more than 100 per cent.”
Voyageur Foundation is not an investment company and did not promise any returns. The reports on the Voyageur site stated expected returns based on past performance.
“Furthermore, the internal Voyageur documents reveal that an accountant hired to carry out “independent” due diligence on debenture funds that funneled investors funds into Merendon counts that very firm as one of his main clients.”

Sources are wonderful things, and should be referenced liberally when making important claims. In fact, RHD never stated that it hired the accountant in question. RHD stated that it had received statements of value from this accountant, and further disclosed to members that this accountant had been hired by Merendon. RHD clearly disclosed to members that it had no access to audited financial statements for Merendon Mining Ltd.
“…both the Ponzi scheme and Voyageur flogged investments in the same Honduran gold mining refinery…”
Voyageur Foundation is not an investment company. Voyageur does not sell investment. Members who wanted to meet Gary Sorenson and learn about his business went to Honduras directly and reported back to members on their findings.
“A librarian at the Belize Supreme Court Library was not aware of the alleged May ruling, and was unable to find a record of judgment for the reporter – even though she said she would normally have heard of a $72-million award.”
Voyageur Members were provided with a copy of the May 24th ruling by Justice Oswell Legall, in the case RHD and Balmain Trading Ltd. vs. Eiger Capital Corp. It certainly takes time and effort to get access to source documents, and this is what this story requires in order to be told accurately.

2 comments:

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  2. Question: Who are you, 'Voyageur Member', and why hide behind this persona?

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