= = = = = = = = =
What if the guy
graduated from the prestigious university that he said he had?
What if the investment he was touting was what he
said it was?
What if the profits that he referenced had
What if the promised check in the mail had been
written or even put in the mail?
a much of a which of a wind gives the truth to summer's
Blow King To Beggar
Steven Wessel may have seemed a king with a financial
empire. Wes Wessels may have also come off as a regal chap with Wall Street
savvy. Who were these two folks? Ahhh .
. .now you're rushing me and ruining a raconteur's opportunity to spin a
For those of you with the impatient gene in your DNA,
here's my Executive
NOTE: A criminal Complaint merely
contains allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until
proven guilty in a court of law beyond a reasonable
Blow Friend To Fiend
Ahhh . . . but there is so much more texture and nuance to
this case and I urge you all to take the time to read the riveting and oddly
entertaining criminal Complaint, which I have linked in full-text format below. I mean, geez, consider this wonderful quote
from Preet Bharara, the
United States Attorney for the Southern District of New
As charged, Steven Wessel was much less an
investment adviser than a serial liar. He allegedly lied in telling one
investor that his funds would be invested in securities, and then lied in
soliciting money from a second investor to pay back the
Them thar's fightin' words! I mean, geez, ya got yer crooks and fraudsters
but, whoa, now we're talkin' a "serial liar." I don't know about you
but I was shocked, shocked I say, to learn that folks involved in the
financial services industry would lie . . . and not just once but apparently
many times. Thankfully, we have massive
numbers of politicians of unimpeachable integrity to counterbalance all that
Blow Seeing to Blind
The Complaint sets forth a pattern of
misconduct that, by now, has become all too familiar. Accordingly, it makes you pause and ask
whether anyone is doing any due diligence when it comes to checking out the
background of scam artists such as Wessel or the bona fides of the investments that they peddle. Consider
some of the allegations in the Complaint:
Page 3 of the Complaint
to have received a doctorate degree from the University of Oxford in 1983 and a
bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland. However, neither the
University of Oxford nor the University of Maryland has any record of WESSEL's
attendance or graduation.
Page 4 of the Complaint
In or about
June 2013, WESSEL solicited Investor A to invest $200,000 in Steeplechase USA.
WESSEL told Investor A that Steeplechase USA had a minimum investment threshold
of $1,000,000, but that he (WESSEL) would make an exception and accept an
initial $200,000 from Investor A.
Blow Soon To Never
In September 2013, Investor A requested the return of his investment and profits, which
he thought had blossomed to nearly $250,000. Instead of the prompt return of
his moolah, Investor A encountered delays. Excuses. Explanations. In time, Investor A is told that he will be cashed-out on December 29, 2013: a date which comes and goes without anything
showing up in the mailbox.
You know how it goes from there.
Wessel backpedals. He
stalls. He wrings his hands in mock empathy. And as the histrionics pile up,
the calendar moves from 2013 to 2014. The ever-patient Investor A receives more
fanciful updates and assurances. The check
is coming. Slowly. It's just about around the corner. But. However. Unfortunately. Here's
how the stall is set forth in the Complaint:
On or about December 31, 2013, at approximately
10:29 a.m., WESSEL replied to Investor A's email and promised that his/her
investment and earnings would be returned the same
On or about January 2, 2014,
Investor A received an email that purported to be from Accountant 1 and replied
to WESSELS's email described in paragraph 8(n). The email stated that
Steeplechase USA receives "the disbursement from our two trading accounts,
Dominick and Dominck and Schwab . . . and then divide as appropriate and cut
9. Based upon a review of
documents provided by Dominick & Dominick, a financial services firm
based in New York ("Dominick & Dominick"), and Charles
Schwab, a brokerage and banking firm, I have learned tht neither Dominick
& Dominick nor Charles Schwab have any accounts associated with Steeplechase
USA, Windsor Capital, or STEVEN WESSEL, a/k/a "Wes Wessels," the
On or about April 16, 2014,
WESSEL told Investor A that he (WESSEL) had "signed all the checks"
and that Investor A should expect "a little more" than $249,000.
WESSEL further told Investor A that his/her investment and earnings would be
returned via the "U.S. Post Office."
Seriously, read USA v.
Wessel (Complaint, 14 MAG 1419, June 23,
After pleading guilty on April 23, 2015 to a
Superseding Indictment, on January 19, 2016, Wessel was
sentenced to 55 months in prison and three years supervised release for
securities fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Additionally,
Wessel was ordered to pay $499,000 in restitution.
To end on a classy note, let's give credit to e. e. cummings and his poem "what if a
much of a which of a
what if a much of a which of a
gives the truth to summer's lie;
bloodies with dizzying leaves
and yanks immortal stars awry?
Blow king to beggar and queen to
(blow friend to fiend: blow space
--when skies are hanged and
the single secret will still be
what if a keen of a lean wind
screaming hills with sleet and
strangles valleys by ropes of
and stifles forests in white ago?
Blow hope to terror; blow seeing
(blow pity to envy and soul to
--whose hearts are mountains, roots
it's they shall cry hello to the
what if a dawn of a doom of a dream
bites this universe in two,
peels forever out of his grave
and sprinkles nowhere with me
Blow soon to never and never to
(blow life to isn't: blow death
--all nothing's only our hugest
the most who die, the more we live.