Sterling Group

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This page contains more information regarding Howell Woltz, his wife Vernice Woltz, and their companies, the Sterling Group of Companies. For an overview, please start by reading Anatomy of a stock fraud.

Howell Woltz and his wife Vernice were arrested on April 18, 2006 at their home at 255 Woltz Lane in Advance, NC 27006. They listed their home address as 42 Sea Beach, Nassau, Bahamas.

They are being held without bail in Charlotte, NC. They might be there for a long time. Howell Woltz faces a maximum of 65 years, Vernice Woltz 55 years.

You can view them here: MCCJIS INMATE SEARCH. Howell is PID 0000327855. Vernice is PID 0000327867. Their mug shots are pictured here.

They were arrested at the same time as former judge Sam Currin, 57. Currin faces up to 43 years in prison after agreeing to plead guilty to money laundering, tax fraud and obstruction of justice. See: Charlotte Observer 10-05-2006 Former prosecutor to plea in fraud case.

In the US Attorney's charges,

  • Mr. J=Jeremy Jaynes,
  • Mr. O=Don Oehmke,
  • Mr. K=Bryan Kos,
  • Mr. R=Jere Ross,
  • Mr. H=Walter L. Hannen, Sr.
  • Mr. Y=Richard Y., an honest attorney in North Carolina who has been cooperating with the US Attorney

Here are some court documents:

Here are some recent press clips:

And an email I received on 12-18-06 from one of my sources:

BUT WAIT, read the unsealed plea agreement.
READ PARAGRAPH 2... "not prosecute the defendant for additional offenses, if any, arising from the Governments investigation of Absolute Health and Fitness, Inc., Concorde America, Inc., Bio-Heal Laboratories, Inc., GTX GLOBAL CORP., and related individuals and entities.
WOW. What this means is that Ole Samuel T. Currin, disgraced judge, friend to the Hagen's Woltz, Brecher and many others is first, going to jail. And second, looks like he's giving up information on the scams he knew about but may not have been an "active" participant. Why else would he be absolved of and have the government openly acknowledge ongoing criminal investigations that include GTX Global? (since renamed VSTC/Vision TechnologyCorp and a further relationship with SQL Minds)
Read also Section V "Assistance to Government". Not only does he openly agree to testify and give info, but to waive his "work product" exclusion in any dealings where his role was as attorney to these scammers. Hagen, Ovesnik, Brecher, Ivanov, Garth... the whole lot of them are screwed.
Don't think this latest means the fed's are finally closing in or getting closer? Look at what else is in the totality of the info....
  • As documented here, Friday, November 17, 2006 "SMS Prayer OUT OF BUSINESS, is VSTC next?" Ed Ovsenik and Curtis Garth have appeared in front of a grand jury.
  • Plus, I've reprinted articles from the press, Wednesday, April 19, 2006 "GTXC, The end is nearer than we thought" and "GTXC Gatelinx GTX Global, How much longer for the Hagen's?"
  • And, Identifying the "bigger fish" Howell Woltz and his wife Vernice Thursday, May 25, 2006 "GTXC co-conspirator updates" who are still in jail without bail.
  • The clear and convincing link between Woltz and Hagen posted here Tuesday, June 13, 2006 "GTX Global, GTXC.... The Smoking Gun"
  • And more documentation and research into who the players are Tuesday, June 06, 2006 "GTX Global/GTXC Fully Reporting...dig deeper and it still smells like more of the scam" and Sunday, July 02, 2006 "GTXC GTX Global, Digging Deeper gets Interesting"

They are also known as "the Sterling Group of Companies" per this article written by Howell Woltz which Woltz confirmed to me to be accurate (see the second sentence in E-mail from Howell Woltz August 26, 2004). That nomenclature "Sterling Group of Companies" is both in the article body itself as well as the byline at the bottom.

Also, that article references Sterling Precious Metals, Ltd is part of the group, but is not mentioned in Shasta, so the total number of Sterling entities may now be 8, rather than the seven identified in the Shasta litigation.

They have at least 2 different domain names they use:


Who Sterling is[edit]

From Shasta Decision 9-2-05:

(p. 42) The [seven] Sterling entities include Sterling ACS, Ltd., Sterling Alliance Ltd., Sterling Casualty & Insurance, Ltd., Sterling Bank Limited, Sterling (Anguilla) Trust, Ltd., Sterling Investment Management, Ltd., and Strategic Investment Portfolio, LLC. [see note about Sterling Precious Metals, Ltd above]

(p. 25) According to the deposition of Howell Woltz, "a small group of people control and own all the Sterling entities: Howell and Vernice Woltz, Fertina Turnquest, Samuel Currin, Joseph Brice, Hiram Martin, Thom Goolsby, Walt Hannen, Wendell Skeete and Lewis Borsellino."

From my research, Samuel Currin, a former judge and US Attorney, is Jaynes' lawyer, is now retired and could be reached at 919-345-8444 (but now through his attorney; see the docket above). Goolsby was Currin's partner and the practice is now called the Goolsby Law Firm. Hiram Martin is a lawyer in Los Angeles (I couldn't find a website, but his office is (323) 756-8324). It's not clear how much, if anything, any of these people knew about what Howell was doing. None of them returned my (repeated) calls.

In April 2006, Lewis Borsellino, legendary Chicago futures trading type, told a NY Post reporter (Roddy Boyd) that he ran a CTA for Sterling Trust called Gustin capital, specializing in trading bond and SP futures that he folded up last year. He said it was unprofitable. LB said he had no idea why Woltz said he had an ownership stake.

From in 2004, Walter L. Hannen, Sr., a director, has over 34 years of banking experience. He currently served as Director of North American Operations and CEO of Sterling Bank Limited, an East Indies based bank. Mr. Hannen served as President, CEO and Director of Bank of Yorban Linda, Yorba Linda, California, from 1984 to 1987 and served in the same capacities for Citizens National Bank of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, from 1981 through 1984.

Interestingly, just like Woltz, both Currin and Goolsby turn up again in the Shasta case. They are the only 2 officers of 620 Market Street, Inc. which was one of the investors in Shasta. Hannen also shows up in the Shasta case (he took the backup tape from Abernethy).

From page 6 of a December 5, 2005 court filing we learn that:

The claim form and supporting documents also provide the identities of the ultimate beneficial owners of CMP Fund and the amounts of their respective investments. Neither Sterling Bank nor 620 Market Street or Intertrust Anguilla has provided such information.

I wonder why they are not cooperating with the receiver. All they have to do is tell the receiver who really owns the funds so that they can have the funds disbursed to them. Seems simple enough.

Fertina no longer works for Sterling (she left near the end of 2004). Sterling claimed she was terminated for embezzlement.

Trading entities used to trade the stocks[edit]

It's likely that all of the trading entities listed below was set up and/or administered by Sterling for reasons outlined in this section.

In examining the data, it's important to keep in mind that Sterling has offices in Nassau, Bahamas, and Anguilla. Vernice Woltz and her mother are from Trinidad so that can explain a Trinidad connection. Fertina Turnquest who worked at Sterling had power of attorney or trading authority on some brokerage accounts that used these names (see Anatomy). DiCienzo Storr had an email address at Sterling and was likely an employee. Some of the entities are also described in the SEC MemoSupportingAssetFreeze and SEC [[Media:97_PIforAssetFreeze.pdf PIforAssetFreeze.pdf]]. The names of people filing affidavits (column 4) were taken from p. 23 of OemkeOpposition.

All of these companies appear ostensibly to be owned by different people according to the affidavits included in OemkeOpposition (see p. 39ff). Yet they all have these things in common: they all have one or more Sterling associations, they all established trading accounts at the same brokerages and approximately the same time Hansen worked at those brokerages, they were all selling only the stocks pumped by Kos and friends, and three of them used the exact same notary in the Bahamas even though the entities were located in Anguilla and Trinidad!

Fertina Turnquest was fired from Sterling in late 2004. Interestingly, Ellen Dembski sent an email on December 30, 2004 to Vince Lijoi at EAD to have Penson (the clearing firm) forward all returned mail of Jonti Warburg and Stromberti to Fertina Turnquest c/o Sterling Group in the Bahamas.

Then, less than 1 week later, on January 5, 2005, Dematee Mohan contacted Richard L. Barrett of EAD to tell him that Fertina Turnquest was under investigation by authorities in Nassau, Bahamas for embezzlement and that Fertina's instructions were not to be complied with. Also, Dee in her conversation with Richard Barrett of EAD on January 5, 2005, gave phone numbers of 242-325-7573 and 704 644 2873. Pretty interesting. That's in North Carolina, the state where Howell Woltz lives.

Dematee Mohan aka Dee Mohan (who has an email of dmohan @ instructed EAD to change the addresses of all of the accounts to Sterling ACS Ltd in the Bahamas on January 5, 2005. This is because the clearing firm refused (Penson Financial Services) to wire out any funds because mail sent to the mailing address provided for these entities kept getting returned as undeliverable. So in order for them to get their funds, Dematee (who works at Sterling) instructed EAD to change all the mailing addresses (for the first 8 entities in the table below) to the Sterling address. Demateeis a director and sole owner of Ryzcek. Her husband, Prakesh Mohan (that is the P. Mohan found on some docs I obtained), is a director of Jonti Warburg. And Mark Turnquest (presumably Fertina's husband) is a director of Stromberti.

I spoke with someone who is quite familiar with Trinidad. He said that the Trinidad addresses either do not exist (Karamsta Street) or lack a specific address on a street full of businesses (Jerningham Junction Road). So what's the legitimate business reason for listing addresses that don't exist?

Company Incorporated in... Agent for Service Affidavits filed by
(or contact info)
DaSilva, SA Anguilla in June 2004 Da Silva SA
Nassau East #16
Nassau, Bahamas
Yvette Sands
On p. 39 of Oemke where Sands says she controls DaSilva, an Anguillan company, but she signs it in the Bahamas, not Anguilla. And the date is July 16, 2004, the exact same date that Storr signs for Vanderlip! And it's in front of the exact same notary as Storr used!!!
Fertina Turnquest had full trading authority and statutory durable power of attorney (see p. 11 of Oemke).
Vanderlip Holdings, NV Anguilla in June 2004 Vanderlip Holdings, NV
National Bank Corporate Building
Airport Road
The Valley Anguilla
(same street address as Sterling
Trust (Anguilla) Ltd)
DiCienzo Storr on p. 40 of Oemkesays he's the sole owner. But he signs it in the Bahamas, not Anguilla on the same date (July 16) and in front of the same notary as Yvette Sands does for DaSilva.
Note: DiCienzo Storr has a Sterling email address and was the primary contact for the website
Also, DiCienzo Storr gave trading authorization to Fertina Turnquest (see p. 11
and 26 of Oemke). They both worked for Sterling!
Chiang Ze Capital, AVV Trinidad Chiang Ze Capital, AVV
1 Private Road Off Karamsta Street
Tuna Puna, Trinidad
Mavis Chaitan is the sole owner. See p. 41 of Oemke(Feb 24,
Note: Vernice Woltz's mother (Mavis Chaitan) is President and Secretary and Fertina Turnquest has power of attorney (as do Kos and Jaynes).
Also, when Mavis contacted EAD to take Fertina off the account in 2005, Howell Woltz's name was on the fax!
and p. 12 of Oemke
Ryzcek Investments, GMBH Trinidad
Note: The SEC alleged
Oehmke had trading authority
at the Sunstate, EAD, and
Newbridge accounts.
Ryzcek Investments, GMBH
Jerningham Junction Road
Chaguanas, Trinidad
Dematee Mohan is the sole owner. See p. 43 of Oemke. But she declares that the company is in Nassau, Bahamas rather than Trinidad! And the notary is the same notary as used by Sands and Storr! And it is signed exactly one day before Mavis signs her declaration for Chiang Ze. Also, Dematee has an email address at sterling group. SEC CNDD and
Holdings, SA
Anguilla Barranquilla Holdings, SA
National Bank Corporate Building
Airport Road
The Valley Anguilla
(same street address as Sterling
Trust (Anguilla) Ltd)
Connie Ostermann-Webbe. See p. 42 of Oemke SEC CNDD and
Keel Enterprises This name was never actually used that I could find, but was on the list of address changes that Dematee gave to EAD.
Jonti Warburg Prakesh Mohan is a director (he is the husband of Dematee Mohan of Ryzcek). This was an account at EAD used to trade these stocks
Stromberti Mark Turnquest is a director. He is believed to be Fertina's husband. This was an account at EAD used to trade these stocks
Bela Enterprises, LLC an Anguillan company, with its principal place of business in Nassau, Bahamas Sterling Trust Ltd, Anguilla Contact per p. 63 of BioHeal-3-9-06 is Theresa A Pinder

West Bay Shopping Center, PO Box CB12762 STE 146, Nassau, Bahamas (compare with Mail Boxes Etc. # BS0002)
But also got mail at Sterling Trust (Anguilla) LTD see p. 98ff of BioHeal-3-9-06

SEC BHLL and page 11, of BioHeal-3-9-06
Gibson Island Enterprises, LLC an Anguillan limited liability company with its principal place of business in Nassau, Bahamas. Sterling Trust Ltd, Anguilla Contact per p. 27, 56 of BioHeal-3-9-06 is McNair Newton, Manager 2 Darfield Plaza Nassau, Bahamas
But also got mail at Sterling Trust (Anguilla) LTD see p. 103ff of BioHeal-3-9-06
SEC BHLL and page 11, of BioHeal-3-9-06

Interesting links[edit]

Interesting tidbits[edit]

from Bio-Heal-3-9-06....

Proof of service on Sterling is on p. 13. The contact for Bela Enterprises is Theresa A Pinder, West Bay Shopping Center, PO Box CB12762 STE 146, Nassau, Bahamas (p. 85). Miraculously, Pinder's address matches the PO Box of Mail Boxes Etc. # BS0002 HOFFER SHOPPING PLAZA, WEST BAT STREET, P.O. BOX CB-12762 Phone: 242-327-4106. The contact for Gibson is McNair Newton with an address of 2 Darfield Plaza, Nassau, Bahamas (see p. 27, 56). The wire transfers info beginning on page 103 connects Sterling Trust (Anguilla) LTD with BELA Enterprise LTD. Bela caused money to be wired to Warren Hansen, Currin law firm ( Jaynes' attorney), and I-Max Direct, a media firm used by Jaynes and Kos. This evidence is consistent with the allegation that the same people were behind the promotion of BHLL as CNDD, AHFI, etc.

from shastaDecision-9-2-05...(emphasis is mine)

p. 42: The [seven] Sterling entities include Sterling ACS, Ltd., Sterling Alliance Ltd., Sterling Casualty & Insurance, Ltd., Sterling Bank Limited, Sterling (Anguilla) Trust, Ltd., Sterling Investment Management, Ltd., and Strategic Investment Portfolio, LLC.

p. 45: Specifically, the Receiver asserts that at the deposition of Howell Woltz, he testified "a small group of people control and own all the Sterling entities: Howell and Vernice Woltz, Fertina Turnquest, Samuel Currin, Joseph Brice, Hiram Martin, Thom Goolsby, Walt Hannen, Wendell Skeete and Lewis Borsellino. For example, Howell Woltz is the managing director and President of Sterling ACS Ltd., a director and President of Sterling (Anguilla) Trust, a director of Sterling Casualty & Insurance Ltd. and Sterling Bank Ltd., was the incorporator of Sterling Investment Management Ltd., is co-owner of Sterling Alliance Ltd. and signed the claim form submitted by Strategic Investment Portfolio LLC, which, he testified, does not exist but was Vernon Abernethy’s 'idea.' Mr. Woltz also owns 30% of the stock of Sterling ACS Ltd., 9% voting stock of Sterling (Anguilla) Trust, 25% of Sterling Casualty & Insurance Ltd., 10-11% of Sterling Bank Ltd. and 100% of Sterling Alliance Ltd. with his wife, Vernice Woltz. Vernice Woltz is CFO of Sterling ACS Ltd., a director and President of Sterling (Anguilla) Trust, part owner of Sterling Bank Ltd. and co-owner of Sterling Alliance Ltd. One or both of the Woltzs, moreover, had signatory authority over all the domestic bank accounts known to be held in the names of the Sterling claimants for most of the life of those accounts and received the majority of monthly activity statements from the banks." Reply to Response to Motion [132] at 19, n.7 (citing Declaration of Joy McCormack, attached hereto as Exhibit B, ¶¶ 8-9).

p. 46: 21. In support, Sterling asserts "Sterling ACS Ltd. is a financial and corporate services provider organized and licensed pursuant to the laws of The Bahamas. Sterling Alliance Ltd. is a company organized under the laws of the Bahamas. Sterling Bank Limited is a Class One bank licensed in the nation of Saint Lucia. Sterling Casualty & Insurance Ltd. is a Class One insurance company licensed under British law in the territory of Anguilla. Sterling Investment Management Ltd. is a company organized under the laws of Anguilla. Sterling Trust (Anguilla) Ltd. is a Class One trust company licensed under British law in the territory of Anguilla. Strategic Investment Portfolio LLC is a Delaware limited liability company." Sterling Br. at 4-5. 47

p. 45: The Receiver has asserted that the Sterling entities should be aggregated at this time until at least all deficiencies on the Sterling claim forms are addressed. Reply to Response to Motion [132] at 19. This treatment is consistent with the Receiver's proposal that accounts under common control or with joint beneficial ownership be aggregated for purposes of distribution. The basic equitable principal underlying such approach is that investors with more than one account do not receive a higher distribution percentage than single account investors. The Sterling entities are alleged by the Receiver to be under the common control of a small group of people "including Howell Woltz and Vernice Woltz." See id. Moreover, one of the reasons underlying the proposed aggregation is the Receiver's position that the Sterling entities' accounts with Tech Traders "show a number of transfers between them" and that "[n]ot all of the transfers are adequately documented[.]" Id. Moreover, the Receiver asserts that the Sterling entities have failed to disclose the identities of the ultimate beneficial owners of the invested funds or to provide any evidence that the ultimate beneficial owners authorized these inter-entity transfers. Id. For example, the Receiver asserts that "[i]n one case, transfers were made on Tech Traders' books from an account of one of the Sterling entities to an account of another Sterling entity without any actual funds supporting such transfers." Id. at 20. In addition, the Receiver argues that the "Sterling entities themselves clearly treated the accounts as part of a unified group before the receivership" and the Receiver therefore proposes that any distribution be made to them as a unified group and only after all deficiencies in all the claim forms submitted by the Sterling entities are cured.

p. 49: In light of this factor, and the undisputed fact that one Sterling entity, Sterling Trust (Anguilla) Ltd., received a withdrawal of $100,000.00 while it made no Tech Traders cash investment, the Court finds that aggregation at this time for purposes of the interim distribution motion is warranted.


The name Connie Oystermann-Webbe appears to have authority over one of the trading accounts (Barranquilla's account at Newbridge). Her name shows up in:

Domain registration of[edit]

The people who registered the WSP website originally supplied contact information matching the Sterling Group. Domain registration information for as it was originally registered on April 12, 2004:

Worldwide Picks Limited
P.O. Box CR – 56766
Nassau, Nassau
Administrative Contact:, admin@
P.O. Box CR 56766
Nassau, Nassau
Technical Contact:, admin@
P.O. Box CR 56766
Nassau, Nassau

On July 22, 2004, when I called that Bahamas phone number (242-325-7573), they answered as Sterling ACS Limited. They will take a message for Howell Woltz there. That make sense since that is the number Sterling uses (see article written by Howell Woltz).

Also, that PO Box 56766 that was used at Rackspace for their website contact as well as on the domain registration...well, that's associated with Sterling too! Check out the address on page 16 of ShastaFourthStatus: Sterling Trust Anguilla LTD, PO Box CR-56766, Suite 1202, Nassau, Bahamas.

So we have two matches to Sterling: phone number and PO Box number.

However, PO Box CR 56766 is merely a Mail Boxes Etc drop (run by Caleb Enterprises LTD 242-394-1521 So "Suite 1202" just tells the MBE people who the customer is.

Also, it is interesting that Leading Edge Marketing Inc used PO Box CR-56766 Suite #1210 Nassau, New Providence BS 810-815-1672 to register which has been used in e-mail spams. And PILLSAVINGS2.COM which has been used in spams used an address of BPI, PO Box CR-56766, Suite #1213, Nassau, New Providence, BS (815) 301-9622. However, according to, Bill Waggoner appears to be behind these not Jaynes.

The WSP domain listing was modified on July 14, 2004 (see also TuCows whois for WSP). They removed the PO Box associated with Sterling Trust Anguilla LTD and phone number that were associated with Sterling Group of Companies and replaced them with a more generic address in the Bahamas and a phone number in New York which was used for taking orders to join the website and try to up-sell you to buy the higher priced membership. Dan Hartal used to do that for them (see his profile on the Anatomy of a stock fraud page.

Martin Russo, Woltz's attorney, told me Sterling Trust LTD is in the business of registering businesses and could very well have registered winningstockpicks or Worldwide Picks LTD as a corporate entity. He says they do NOT register domain names and the company that they registered just used the addresses associated with Sterling Trust. Russo made no mention at all about the trading entities set up by Sterling documented in the section on Howell Woltz on the Anatomy of a stock fraud page.

7/22/04: 2pm: Just got off the phone with Russo. He said his client (Sterling/Woltz) got them to change the address on the form. That of course means that Howell Woltz knows how to contact the people responsible for the website. It's possible my contact with Woltz caused the change on July 14.

Contact information[edit]
Article on Woltz where he is described as "Howell Wolz, President of the Sterling Group based in the Bahamas and Principal of Sterling Trust (Anguilla) Ltd which holds a General Trust Licence in Anguilla"

Here's what I found at the end of an article written by Howell Woltz:

Howell Woltz is the Managing Director of Sterling ACS Limited, Nassau, The Bahamas. For more information on the Sterling Group of Companies, contact Howell on at:Tel: 242 325 7573. Fax: 242 325 8658. Email:hwoltz@sterlinggroup.

I also found the following addresses via web searching using searches similar to this one. I believe that these addresses were originally listed on but they've since been removed.

Sterling Trust (Anguilla) Ltd
Principal Office
Sterling ACS, Ltd.
British American Building
Ground Floor
Marlborough & Navy Lyon Road
Nassau, Bahamas
Tel: +1 242 325 7574 (have also used +1-242-325-7573)
Fax: +1 242 325 8030

Anguilla Office
National Bank Corporate Building
Airport Road
The Valley
Anguilla, B.W.I.
Tel: +1 264 497 5578
Fax: +1 264 497 5589
Contact: Howell Woltz

Howell W Woltz, Director, or Cheryl True Lonning
Sterling Precious Metals, Ltd.
P.O. Box SS-19051
British America Building,
Marlborough & Navy Lyon Road
Nassau, Bahamas

(same address used for Sterling ACS, Ltd.). Also, see Sterling ACS bank account records which also confirms the address.

They also use: PO Box 2216, Advance NC 27006 which is near Howell's home on Woltz Lane in Advance, NC (see for example p. 27 of Sterling ACS bank account records.

Interestingly, MeesPierson Intertrust (see MeesPierson the Private Bankers of Fortis British West Indies and Trust and corporate service provider. Company formation and management services) in Anguilla, B.W.I. +1 264 497 2189 whose phone number matches a phone number listed in the past for Sterling Trust (Anguilla), Ltd.


Joseph Brice, BA, LLB, LLM, Managing Director, worked there at the time I called. I sent him an email on August 27, 2004 with a link to the Anatomy of a stock fraud page. He told me not to contact him again. And according to Howell's deposition (as noted above), Joseph is a partner in Sterling. Joseph didn't mention that when I spoke to him and I didn't know that at the time, but now it makes sense why he told me "do not contact me any further" (Sept 2, 2004 email) rather than trying to find out more. This is even more evidence that Sterling had actual notice as to what was going (i.e., that Brice had the link on August 27, 2004) on and thus that their continued behavior might be considered by a court to be ratification.

Check out MeesPierson's BWI address..look familiar?

MeesPierson Intertrust
National Bank Corporate Building Airport Road,
The Valley,
British West Indies
Tel: +1 264 497 2189
Fax: +1 264 497 5007

I found the following from web searches:

Private International Trust Corporation
Caribbean Suite
The Valley
Anguilla, B.W.I.
TV1 11P
Tel: +1 264 497 2189
Fax: +1 264 497 5007
Website: N/A
Contact: Joseph Brice
Sinel Trust Anguilla Limited
Sinel Chambers
PO Box 1269
The Valley
Anguilla, BWI
Tel: +1 264 497 3311
Fax: +1 264 497 5659
Contact: Joseph Brice
MeesPierson Intertrust (Anguilla) Limited
Caribbean Suite
The Valley
Anguilla, B.W.I.
TV1 11P
Tel: +1 264 497 2189
Fax: +1 264 497 5007
Contact: Joseph Brice

I did a Google search for "Sterling Trust (Anguilla) Ltd" on March 22, 2006 and obtained this result in the search results page:

Financial Services Directory
... & Navy Lyon Road Nassau, Bahamas Email: Contact: Ms Fertina D Turnquest Local Agent: Sterling Trust (Anguilla), Ltd, St Peters Trust ... - 23k - Supplemental Result - Cached - Similar pages

That shows that the information used to be on that page, but it has been removed.

Here's another page that had been changed but the Google cache shows the original address listed for Sterling in Anguilla. Note that Joseph Brice appears several times on that page. Interesting.

Here's a Google search I did on March 22, 2006 on the phone number 242-325-7574 - Google Search.

But the page referenced had been changed since it was indexed. But the Google "excerpt" shows Fertina D Turnquest as the local agent/contact and lists Howell's email address.

Tech Traders, Shasta Capital, and Howell Woltz[edit]

The Sterling companies were involved in the CFTC's action against Shasta Capital.

Here are the two best links to this case:

Howell had written me an email on August 26, 2004 complaining no one had written about this case. In his email, Howell told me "we are the victims."

I took Howell's advice and found this article. It references Jack and Howell and Vernice Woltz:

Court Orders Production of Home Office Backup Tape Created in Connection with CFTC Receivership Electronic Discovery Law

So if Howell wants to go after the bad guys, then why didn't Sterling/Howell just voluntarily comply with the court's request for the backup tape? Why would they not do that if they had nothing to hide? If you know, please contact me. When a government agency asks for my help, I give them everything I have, even things they don't know about or things that to me might to me seem irrelevant! Sterling took the opposite approach according to that article. I cannot figure out how that helps the government nab the bad guys which is what I thought Howell wanted in [[his email to me when he wrote: "I wish you had time to expose guys like these that really hurt people but don't get charged or indicted."

I wish I did too. If Howell would drop his libel case against me, maybe I'd have more time to do that. But Howell spent a lot of time (and money) fighting production of documents that the regulators wanted according to the article about the tape. Wouldn't it have been a lot simpler just to give the regulators what they wanted so they could do their job? That's what I can't figure out. Howell went out of his way to grab the data and keep it from the regulators and fight them in court so he wouldn't have to turn it over. For a guy who complains to me about wasting his staff's time and legal fees, that seems odd for him to do all that since it would have saved him staff time and legal fees just to have given the CFTC the data that they wanted (and are entitled to) in the first place.

On November 28, 2005, the Woltz's provided the CFTC with a blank computer backup tape (see currin_indictment p. 11, pgf. 49).

The receiver in this case is Stephen T. Bobo who can be reached at Sachnoff & Weaver, Ltd.,10 South Wacker Drive Chicago, IL 60606-7507 (312) 207-6480

The receiver's web page on Shasta Capital Associates, LLC webpage has a very comprehensive set of links regarding this case.

See also: December 5, 2005 court filing
Public information and updates regarding CFTC v. Equity, et al.

Additional CFTC links related to Woltz:

Jack used to work for Howell. See the story below for more on Jack. I called Jack Vernon Abernethy at his home and said I wanted to talk to him about Howell Woltz. He promptly hung up on me.

Below is a story I found on the web (which I believe is from the Philadelphia Inquirer). I'm replicating here to preserve it in case I decide to bring suit against Woltz or Sterling and the information is relevant. I cannot attest as to the accuracy of the article. I am just preserving it.

Fund's gleaming profit just a mirage[edit]

With investors missing millions, regulators try to untangle a Medford hedge fund's boasts and the truth.

By Joseph N. DiStefano

Inquirer Staff Writer

The New Jersey Pine Barrens aren't known as a financial center.

But a hedge fund based in a Medford home enjoyed a brief and improbable reign atop lists of the nation's best-performing investments this year, before regulators and a federal judge in Camden shut it down.

Shasta Capital Associates' claims of double-your-money yearly profit evaporated last month when the federal Commodity Futures Trading Commission won a court order from Judge Robert B. Kugler to freeze its assets and suspend its operations.

The commission also filed a civil fraud lawsuit against Shasta founder Vincent J. Firth of Medford; Shasta's attorney Robert B. Shimer of Leesport, Berks County; and Tech Traders Inc., of Gastonia, N.C.

The suit alleges that Shasta's claims of huge commodities trading profit through the North Carolina firm - profit the fund said was verified by certified public accountants - masked millions in actual losses.

The hedge fund told investors it returned 132 percent in the year ended Feb. 28; in fact, the fund lost more than $3.5 million in that period, according to the commission.

Through their attorney, Firth and Shimer denied wrongdoing and blamed Tech Traders for the gap between reported and actual performance. Tech Traders through its attorney declined comment.

Since Shasta's suspension, the probe has broadened, as commission investigators and Chicago lawyer Stephen T. Bobo, appointed by Kugler as receiver for Shasta's assets, try to follow the fund's weedy financial trail across state and national borders.

They are paying special attention to clients and owners of Tech Traders, accountants on both the East and West Coasts who passed Shasta's performance numbers along to investors and hedge-fund promoters, and a network of small, private Caribbean financial institutions whose assets were mixed with Shasta's and have been frozen along with them, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The commission regulates trading in farm, metal and financial futures, just as the better-known Securities and Exchange Commission monitors stocks and bonds.

The April 1 suspension order by Kugler froze accounts for Shasta and firms it did business with, snarling at least $20 million belonging to more than 100 investors - from Pennsylvania retirees to private offshore companies. The investigators say they believe tens of millions more may have been placed with Tech Traders by as-yet-unidentified investors.

Hedge funds use sophisticated investment strategies to try to wring higher, or at least steadier, profit than traditional investments such as mutual funds. Designed for wealthy and knowledgeable investors, many hedge funds are exempt from registering with the government or filing public financial reports. Critics say that makes hedge funds easier to abuse.

The Shasta fraud suit is the latest in a string of cases that shine light on the margins of the fast-growing hedge-fund industry and show the lengths some investors will go to, and the risks they will take, for the lure of bigger profits.

But unlike earlier hedge-fund disasters, in which alleged fraud cost sophisticated Wall Street firms and their pension and university clients many millions, Shasta's troubles appear to have snagged prosperous middle-class citizens who do not fit the profile of hedge-fund buyers as ultra-wealthy.

Its investors include a South Jersey engineer who befriended fund founder Firth in Presbyterian church classes; a $17-an-hour mechanic from the suburbs of Reading who shared a passion for boating with Shasta attorney Shimer and invested his retirement savings in the fund; and a New Jersey state college administrator, who invested $195,000.

All three said they had believed the fund's financial accounting statements; each asked not to be identified because they are embarrassed and do not want neighbors to know about their losses. The three investors did not blame Shasta's operators, preferring to pin responsibility on the fund's commodities traders in North Carolina, or on its accountants.

The accused have unusual backgrounds for money managers. Shasta founder Firth, 49, went to music school in Boston and played the vibraphone for a living before entering the financial service world as a mortgage broker; he filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection last year even as his hedge fund was reporting monthly profit of 10 percent and more.

Shimer is a former U.S. General Services Administration lawyer who practiced law in Boston before returning to his native Berks County to be near family, according to Firth's and Shimer's attorney, Samuel F. Abernethy of New York.

Firth ran the Shasta fund from his home in a pond-studded corner of Medford where the streets curve gently through the pine-and-oak woods and the homes have three garages and sell for $700,000 and up.

Dark-eyed and soft-spoken, Firth answered his door one day this month and said his reputation had been hurt by the government's accusations. He referred questions to Abernethy.

Firth and Shimer "are as shocked and appalled as anyone," Abernethy said. "These guys did not engage in knowing fraud. They are out significant amounts of money."

They blame their codefendant, Tech Traders, the North Carolina firm that invested Shasta's money in commodity pools using what it said was a proprietary system that generated impressive profits.

According to court documents and testimony, both Shasta and Tech Traders claimed profit of more than 100 percent a year for investors, while the government lawsuit claims the fund has actually lost $7 million since its inception three years ago.

Tech Traders' founder, Coyt E. Murray, did not return phone calls; his New York attorney, Melvyn Falis, declined comment.

According to the federal lawsuit, larger customers of Tech Traders also have been caught in the freeze imposed by the judge - even if they were not Shasta investors - because the trading firm mingled the money in its accounts.

The Bahamas-based Sterling group of companies, including a private bank on the Caribbean Island nation of St. Lucia and an insurer on Anguilla, has at least $13 million now frozen, according to its New Jersey-based attorney, Warren Faulk.

Sterling this month asked Kugler, the federal judge, to permit access to at least some of the money so the bank and the insurer would not be forced out of business by regulators in the Bahamas.

After three days of testimony, Kugler on May 14 said he would not release any funds pending further investigation by the commodities commission, Faulk said.

What attracted investors to an obscure New Jersey hedge fund?

They were impressed by performance numbers approved by Tech Traders' certified public accountant, Jack Vernon Abernethy, a former North Carolina state assemblyman and Republican candidate for state auditor.

(Samuel Abernethy, the attorney for Shasta's Firth and Shimer, said he was not related to the accountant.)

Jack Vernon Abernethy approved the performance numbers that enabled Shasta to be listed as one of the nation's most successful hedge funds by Futures magazine and the Web site, according to the commodities commission and Shasta's own accountant, Elaine Teague of Portland, Ore. Jack Vernon Abernethy did not return messages left for him; two lawyers who have represented him recently had no comment.

Neither accountant has been accused of wrongdoing by the commission.

Given the commission's fraud allegations against Shasta's operators, "it seems those numbers were not accurately reflecting what was going on. It appalls me, because so much of the investment industry is based on trust," said Saul Waxman, owner of Barclay Trading Group Ltd.

Barclay is an Iowa firm that provided fund data to Futures magazine for a February story that listed Shasta among the nation's five top-performing hedge funds with $10 million or more in assets.

One problem with reporting investments from managers such as Shasta is that "it really is an honor system," said Ginger Szala, publisher of Futures. Investors should not pick funds "purely off a list. You have to do your homework."

Officials of Florida-based, cited by the commission for naming Shasta as its "Hedge Fund of the Week" in March, hung up and later declined comment rather than explain why they posted what the commission says were inaccurate returns.

Investors and investigators alike say they want to know more about the role of Tech Traders' accountant, Jack Vernon Abernethy, in creating Shasta's controversial profit numbers.

According to court documents and testimony, Jack Vernon Abernethy, in checking Tech Traders' books and reporting its profit, had a potentially conflicting role: He was an officer of a Tech Trader client.

Jack Vernon Abernethy was president of Sterling Group's insurance company - until he was fired on May 6 after failing to produce company financial records, according to Vernice Woltz, an officer of the Sterling companies and wife of Sterling chairman Howell Woltz, in testimony before Kugler this month.

According to Firth's and Shimer's attorney, the Shasta fund operators did not know about Jack Vernon Abernethy's relationship to Sterling until it was disclosed in court papers.

The Woltzes are not the only former associates who had been looking for Jack Vernon Abernethy and the records he kept.

On April 22, the accountant sent an e-mail message to his fellow officers of the Gaston County, N.C., Republican Party, which Jack Vernon Abernethy served as treasurer for the last 10 years: "With the deepest regrets... I find that I am not in a position to serve any longer... Best regards, J. Vernon Abernethy." The reason for his departure was not disclosed.

Jack Vernon Abernethy cut off contact from his former associates for the next three weeks, said Gaston County Republican Chairman Neil Moore. Finally last weekend, Moore said, he received a box of financial documents sent by his former treasurer; it was all in order, as was the party's bank account.

"I hope he's all right," Moore said.

More info:

"Abernethy was fired as president of Sterling Casualty & Insurance Ltd. in May. Sterling Management LLC, a related company, in July filed a fraud lawsuit against Abernethy in Gaston County Superior Court."

Sterling Casualty & Insurance, Ltd. Howell W. Woltz, TEP, Chairman National Bank of Anguilla Building The Valley, Anguilla, British West Indies Phone: 264.497.2189 • Fax: 264.497.5007 Email:

Sterling Casualty & Insurance, Ltd. is a Class One insurance company in the British Territory of Anguilla, focused on providing affordable Captive Insurance company establishment and management, in coordination with U.S. service providers in South Carolina.