(Note: This is not a "summarize Hopsicker" post, although it begins as one. I've published a few articles like that in the past, and am proud to have done so. But this article provides some original research into strange and important areas that Hopsicker has not yet addressed. The new stuff has to do with a very odd biotech firm.)(By the way -- where else will you find a conspiracy theory involving a member of the Osmond family and the blood of a goat?)
I have not yet made proper note of this important story
by Daniel Hopsicker. A high-level ponzi schemer named Art Nadel -- who, though not a Madoff-level operator, got up to his fair share of shennanigans -- had a partner named Louis D. Paolino. Louie's an interesting guy.1. Louie, Louie...
Previously, Louie was best known for garbage. See here
to learn about his infamous "garbage barge," which some of you may recall as the butt of many a joke back in the late 1980s. Paolino also makes Mace. Literally
. [Correction: He ran the Mace company until recently.]
Hopsicker seems to have found a link between Paolino and the infamous 5.5 ton "coke jet" that has been the focus of so much attention on his site and (to a lesser degree) on this one.
The man who owned the barge was Louis D. Paolino. He received funding from Argyll Equities LLC, which also invested in the Kovar Crime family of business fraudsters at St. Petersburg FL's SkyWay Aircraft, owners of a DC9 they kept at the Clearwater-St. Pete Airport which would be busted carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine.
"The cursed cargo of the Khian Sea," as it became known, was so toxic that even New Jersey refused to accept it.
Several years ago Louis Paolino became the grateful recipient of a $6 million loan from a mysterious private equity firm called Argyll Equities LLC, in Boerne, TX, and La Jolla, CA.
It was one of only three loans the secretive company is known to have made. Another was infamous SkyWay Aircraft.
SkyWay Aircraft was a complete fraud which existed primarily to facilitate a pump & dump stock play. SkyWay had no product, no market, and no prospects.
I'm wondering why Lou borrowed money from Argyll. After all, he sold his garbage biz for a cool billion, and he makes Mace. As we shall see, it might have made more sense for Argyll to borrow from him
...2. About that coke jet...
The Kovars used SkyWay as a means to bilk investors (the company did not have a working product) and as an excuse for buying that DC9 jet which was eventually found on a Mexican tarmac with 5.5 tons of white stuff inside.
That jet had an astonishing history. It was once owned by the partner of Stephen Adams, who personally spent a million bucks on billboard ads for George W. Bush in 2000. As coincidence would have it, Adams had also once owned the Gulfstream II which figured in an even more mysterious "coke jet" incident
. Michael Farkas, the afore-mentioned Adams partner, founded SkyWay -- whose illustrious DC9 spent a lot of time in a hangar owned by Bush campaign funder Richard Rainwater.
Argyll Equities' only funded three deals. Their third plunge into the world of investment banking-- after SkyWay Aircraft and Louis Paulino--was arranging a $17 million loan for a Mexican businessman, who then provided "significant capital," according to Chilean news accounts, to “Chilean narcotics trafficker Manuel Vicente Losada."
This news came out after Losada was arrested in the Chilean capital of Santiago. He had been “linked to a shipment of five tons of cocaine which U.S. drug enforcement officials in Miami intercepted over six years ago on the MV Harbour as it headed toward Guantanamo Bay.”
(The italics are ours. We were stunned.)
Why were Caribbean dopers steering a course for a highly-secure U.S. military facility?
To be specific, a Mexican industrialist named Serrano acted as the middleman between Argyll and Losada. But money is, as you know, fungible. (I think Hopsicker is wrong when he speaks of only three deals.)
Stories of this sort have led some people to suspect that companies like SkyWay offer a way for those within the American political and business elites to disguise their involvement with the drug trade. Some
people so suspect. I, of course, would never say such a thing. That's tin foil stuff.
At any rate, Paolino is now suing Nadel's hedge fund. Lou says he was ripped off. He's also suing Argyll.3. Let's look at Argyll...
Argyll is an interesting company. It is run by one Doug McClain
, who, in 2008, was all of 33 years old. How does a kid
get to hold such a position?
He also runs -- and here's where we get into very strange territory -- something called Argyll BioTech
, as well as a firm called Immunosyn
. The two firms are run out of the same office.
Wow. That's quite an impressive list of businesses for a lad of his tender years.
His partner is one James T. Miceli. You'd think that the bright young fellows capable of doing this
kind of business would have figured out that SkyWay was a scam. Well, live and learn.
Argyll BioTech's relationship with Immunosyn
is not clear to me. The companies are (as noted above) run out of the same office and seem to be forever trading stock with each other -- yet we are supposed to think of them as separate enterprises.
Argyll, or Immunosyn, or both, have the honor of distributing SF-1019
, which, they claim, is very useful in treating MS. The FDA has yet to approve the drug. (You can also find, if you scour the web, occasional mention of the drug's potential efficacy in treating AIDS and various forms of diabetes.)
When I read about that drug, I wondered: How did young McClain acquire those distribution rights...?
My attempt to suss out an answer via Google hurled me into a strange world previously unknown to me.4. Paging Jed Bartlett! (Maybe he can figure this out...)
A little web-searching reveals that some (claimed) MS sufferers have had some very positive things to say about SF-1019, although the treatment -- if the drug is approved -- will be expensive: $300 a shot. Yet the MS community also has questions
I read back and found some things on SF1019. I found a lot of negative. As I read I understood that for the most part people who were commenting were frustrated because of lack of info. I have found that lack of knowledge regarding drug development and how the process works can be confusing and also make persons who are desperate for a cure find fault and look for the scams...
I agree that we need more transparency regarding drug development -- and a lack of transparency may explain why some MS sufferers view Argyll warily.
One reason for wariness: Immunosyn exec Stephen Ferrone says that SF-1019 has been in development for ten years. Who did the developing?
Argyll BioTech went into business in 2006, and Immunosyn is (as far as I can tell) roughly the same age.
An accounting firm looked at Immunosyn's books in 2007 and expressed doubt that the under-capitalized firm
could continue. Yet it's still here, even though, by its own admission, the company has no revenue
and has received a subpoena by the SEC
A number of people within the MS universe suspect that SF-1019 is a scam, or a "money making exercise." Go here
and then follow the links, if you feel up to the task. And then you'll want to visit this blog
, which is devoted to Immunosyn.
Although the author of that blog does not appear to know about the Argyll Equities connection to Skyway and other unusual entities, the anonymous writer seems more than a little suspicious.
1. The Principals of Argyll Biotechologies and Immunosyn are Being Sued, and are Being Accused of Participating in a Fraudulent Stock Loans Scheme. (In fairness, it is important to stress that being accused of something does not mean you are guilty, however the suit is certainly relevant to Immunosyn)
James Miceli, who is the CEO of Argyll Biotechnologies and Douglas McClain, who is the President of Argyll Biotechnologies and also the CFO of Immunosyn are being sued for $4,000,000 in a lawsuit that is alleging seven separate counts, including fraud, RICO, and RICO conspiracy...
Before these two principals got into “biotechnologies”, they were (and still are) players in a niche market called “stock lending” using a company called Argyll Equities, LLC. They loaned money to people who put up publicly traded securities as collateral, and this is not the first time they have been sued for fraud relating to securities collateralized loans.
Argyll, or the Argylls, get sued a lot
, and not just by Mr. Paolino. (Remember good old Louie, the garbage guy? We started with him.) One of those suits derives from a previous
$4.5 million judgment against Argyll Equities back in 2005. The folks who won that suit have not been paid, and they want to know why little Doug has spent so much money on his various enterprises but not on his court-mandated obligation.
The lawsuit also alledges that McClain and his associates purposely tried to move and hide funds by transferring funds and assets to Miceli’s wife and and other companies as well, both in direct violation of the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act.
Hm. Maybe this
imbroglio explains why Argyll Biotech and Immunosyn are two separate entities...?
The afore-linked site also calls into question the SF-1019 drug trials in Malaysia and Utah. Argyll -- or is it Immunosyn? -- says that it (they?) conducted trials of SF-1019 in the tiny town of Beaver, Utah.
Says who? If you search the U.S. FDA website (www.fda.gov) there is not a single mention of SF-1019, Immunosyn or Argyll Biotechnologies. And why Beaver, Utah? It seems odd that a miracle drug would be administered in the US by a family practice doctor in a town with a population of 3,000 people, located in almost the middle of nowhere.
How many MS sufferers can there be
in Beaver?Alan Osmond
, brother to the beauteous Marie, is an MS patient whose professional-looking website extolls the benefits of SF-1019. He does not disclose that he has received four million shares of Immunosyn. Although he boasts of his prodigious SF-1019 intake (he just loves
the stuff), he does not disclose the circumstances under which he was legally administered a drug not yet approved by the FDA.
Alan Osmond is now saying on his site: "Immunosyn was hit hard with these past financial times. But, I am going to test soon, a new batch that is about 20% stronger! Yes, they are still pushing forward to get it out and help us!” Testing a new batch??? 20% stronger??? Can anyone please explain how it is that Mr. Osmond is getting access to a drug that to date has no history of any type of FDA approvals, not to mention a drug that is 20% stronger??? Should someone start speaking with him about this??
By the way, Alan has an odd habit of referring to the drug as "Immunosyn," as though that were the name of the product and not the company. The main ingredient is goat's blood
. I'm not kidding.
As I scan the pro-SB-1019 sites and the anti-SB-1019 sites, I get the queasy feeling that one side or the other is astro-turfing
Attitudes are being rigged within the MS community. Either there is a conspiracy against Argyll/Immunosyn, or Argyll/Immunosyn may itself be involved in shady practices. You may judge for yourself which scenario seems to be more likely.
As far as I know, SF-1019 works. I mean, the Argyll website
features some very nice stock photos of scientists and beakers and scientists doing scientific things with beakers, and it's all very impressive. No reason for cynicism there
Still, if you had MS, would you want to fill your arm with a drug made by a brand new-ish company run by a fetus in a business suit?
Now let's say that you're an investor. Would you want to toss money at a drug company (or brotherhood of companies) that has been sued many, many times in its young life, and which has done business with some rather shadowy figures? Would your investment decision be swayed by Argyll's association with the notorious Kovars, who ran a fake company with a fake product which was pushed by fake testimonials on fake websites?
Just asking.(I have slightly expanded this post since its publication last night.)