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A court case that may go nowhere, a lax attitude about fraud when foreigners are victims, some of the usual suspects...
A documentary "expat community" tale
by Eric Jackson
This reporter does a weekly column for the Panama Star, the English section of La Estrella and direct heir of one of Latin America's oldest newspapers and certainly its oldest English periodical. Through connections to the Star, and from when the Star was covering a criminal defamation case brought by convicted felon fraud artist Mark Boswell alias Rex Freeman, this reporter has made a slight acquaintance with a colleague, Marijulia Pujol de Lloyd.
Marijulia wrote this story about a case arising among the English-speaking expatriates in the beach communities of Cocle province. There are a few small flaws in it --- misidentifying one of the principal characters' business associate as her husband, a slight imprecision about the end of a Canadian legal career, and characterizing a trip to Canada as a "flight" only to see the person return --- but the response of one Mary Sloane was both furious and curious. This reporter saw and heard about Sloane's complaints to and demands of the Star. She demanded that a gushy defense of her position by one Donald K. Winner be published in the Star, a total nonstarter given Winner's reputation. Her complaint seemed to be that she was improperly not treated as a victim, not that she had collected millions of dollars, mostly from people in Panama's Canadian community, which had then disappeared.
Stranger yet, Sloane, and Winner's article defending her, did not dispute an apparent factual error that would have infuriated this reporter, a former lawyer, had the allegation come in his direction. Pujol characterized Sloane as "disbarred" and that's about the ugliest thing someone can say about a former member of the legal profession. But that wasn't the complaint.
So, to get to the documents here, what kind of a person did her former peers find Mary Sloane to be? It's a matter of public record in British Columbia:
But Winner, who has been pumping up Sloane's reputation as a leader of the "expat community" for years, took the former attorney's word at face value:
In investigating these cases, rule number one is "follow the money." My question - did Mary Sloane end up with a whole bunch of money that was stolen from investors? The answer to that one is no, she did not. In fact, she and her family members invested more than $50,000 of their own money into this scam, which was also lost.
And what if Mary Sloane, along with others, lost $50 grand on the scheme. How much did she take out? That's one of several interesting bits of information on the following document:
So Mary Sloane takes out nearly $100,000, but allegedly lost (along with other people), $50,000. So that makes her a victim who suffered a net loss of how much?
And who got those commissions, anyway? Did it go to a company with offices in London, Vancouver, New York and Panama, as implied by the fine print under the logo at the upper left-hand corner? (Is this the well-known Royal London Asset Management company?)
Not quite. We are dealing with a Panamanian company here, and not a subsidiary of the British one:
Hmmm --- a company founded in 2006, whose legal representative, president, treasurer and secretary were all one Mary Sloane. So is THAT where the commissions went?
And no, The Panama News could find no evidence that Mary Sloane's Panamanian company has offices in Vancouver, London or New York.
And wait a minute. What about the pitches that Mary Sloane and her partner made? This reporter has heard some of the "she said she said" recollections about oral representations by the allegedly self-described "retired lawyer." But this article isn't about the back-and-forth of what was said, it's a collection of stops along the paper trail.
Lo and behold:
Such a pretty chart of steadily growing earnings. Such symmetry that rarely exists in human affairs.
And miraculously, the chart in the above document that Mary Sloane used to promote investments through a company she created in August of 2006 showed earnings in JULY of 2006 --- and back to 2004! (Should we call in the bishop? To which saint should this miracle be attributed?)
Oh, and by the way --- to whom did Mary Sloane look for help when making her pitch to investors?
Uh huh. Self-appointed pillars of the "expat community." Zonelink owner/censor Bob Askew. Expat Explorers organizer Laura Alexander. Gotta create the cast of characters to set the stage for the pitch.
And when those to be stung have been stung, and some of them seek recourse to the law to fight back, upon whom does Mary Sloane call then?
"Sherman, set the Wayback Machine to Don Winners' writings of February 2007," and:
Mary Sloane, who is one of the respected members of the Ex-pat Explorers committee....
Well, people who have been around the community for awhile know who Don Winner is and what Don Winner is. There has been an English-speaking community in Panama for more than 150 years, but then there's this "expat community" of recent creation, to lure dependent or gullible newcomers. In its less rapacious forms, it's a real estate hustle, as in Mary Sloane's magazine, one of a genre that sells Panama as a land without black people to North Americans with more money than brains and a need to take the next step of white flight beyond suburbia.
But anyway, I'm sure there's an explanation for these documents that have come into the possession of The Panama News. Read that BC Law Society thing above one more time. Mary Sloane ALWAYS has an explanation.
One last document, as a cautionary tale for all you would-be investors: do your due diligence. See, the Comision Nacional de Valores, which says that it has no jurisdiction over foreign exchange operations like Mary Sloane's company purported to be, has nevertheless issued a warning about such operations in general (scroll down the page to point 2), and about certain companies in particular. Last on the warning list is Mary Sloane's company, London Asset Management. But then, if you relied on the "pillars" of the "expat community" to do your research and translating for you, you'd never know.
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