High West Capital Partners briefing
The following information was gathered by a private investigator hired by myself and two other brokers who are collectively owed more than $1.4m from the lender High West Capital Partners. If these crooks have ripped you off, either as a broker or a company who loaned them stock only for that collateral to go missing, read on.
Basic due diligence
High West Capital Partners promotes itself as a private investment firm specializing in structured finance, but is in fact a shell company used by a shady group of individuals to hide the means by which they extract money from unsuspecting victims and move it around.
Their website is a cover for the fraud and contains several warning signs for anyone thinking of working with the firm. The copy has been lifted from other websites and is not original, and upon cracking the password-protected section purported to be for ‘customer solutions’, there is nothing in the back end. There are no customer solutions. The website is as fake and hollow as the company itself.
There is no registration or regulatory compliance information on the website, because the company is not registered with any financial regulator in any of the jurisdictions it claims to operate in.
It is not on FINRA’s broker check despite performing that function, and it is not registered with the US SEC. It is not registered with the Monetary Authority of Singapore, or the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission or the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, all of which have a list of licensees permitted to perform regulated activities.
In short, High West Capital Partners is an unregulated entity fraudulently performing regulated activities in several markets.
The US connection
High West Capital Partners makes no mention of its US presence in order to avoid the possibility that regulators and prosecutors may get wind of its crimes.
However, in March 2017, High West Capital Partners, LLC was incorporated at 91 Pantigo Road in East Hampton. The residential address away from the road and blurred out Google Maps street view.
Four residents including one Allison Zeledon live at the address. A Zeledon is the process agent for High West Capital Partners, LLC and 10 other companies listed at that address. A Zeledon is therefore the main point of contact for all legal notices addressed to High West Capital Partners, LLC in the US, but several brokers and their lawyers have received no reply when contacting Zeledon to this address.
High West Capital Partners, LLC was created in the countryside of upstate New York as a shell to pose as a legitimate headquarter for cross-border financing transactions that run through the US.
Also registered to that residential address is Hampton Global Invest, L.P. and the name Davis Zeledon. D Zeledon is a Costa Rican who opened Satori Capital Management Ltd in London in 2015 with a German equities trader residing in Spain.
The fund, whose purpose was to help move ill-gotten gains out of the UK, was registered to a central London address with 107 other shell companies, which attracted anger from politicians over the ease at which criminals were abusing the company creation system.
Satori had no assets and was struck off in March 2017, around the same day that High West Capital Partners, LLC was opened in New York. Satori pulled out of the UK under advice as a series of anti-money laundering and criminal corruption laws were entering force that would force companies like his to reveal more about their funding and ownership
The house at 91 Pantigo Road in East Hampton, alleged to be the US base of High West Capital Partners, LLC, has been raided by federal officials looking for evidence of securities fraud, and seizure notices have been issued.
High West Capital Partners, LLC, is a fraudulent operation set up in the US to fool borrowers into thinking the company is legitimate in the eyes of the law.
The Hong Kong connection
High West Capital Partners makes a big deal of its lines into Hong Kong, and instead of listing the address, which may come up in searches, it has a map on its website with an icon pointing to the address where the firm is based
The Hong Kong address listed on the High West Capital Partners website, 15 Queen’s Road, 75J5+65 Central Hong Kong, is used by eight offshore funds.
These funds are shell companies each registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) between December 2006 and September 2007. There is no record of High West Capital Partners ever having a presence at the address, no insignia in or outside the building to indicate the firm is based there nor was it ever based there.
It is not uncommon to have a law firm address listed as a company’s own, to further muddy the trail of anyone seeking to track them down. As previously stated, Hong Kong’s business register has no record of High West Capital Partners, and neither does the Securities and Futures Commission, not any other regulator in Hong Kong; the firm is unregulated in the main market in which it sells itself.
In July 2020, just around the corner from their alleged headquarter and inside the Hong Kong Chinese Bank Building, High West Capital Limited was registered by Dr Thomas Robert Wetzer, a German; and two Austrians, Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly, and Alexander Spitzy.
The three are senior executives at Jebsen Group, a legitimate investment management company. Mensdorff-Pouilly and Spitzy are senior managers at Jebsen, and Wetzer is a general manager of equity portfolio at Jebson Capital.
High West Capital Limited has no website, and the trio have zero links to High West Capital Limited other than the basic paperwork which states they paid HK$1,000 to incorporate the company. The company secretary is listed at the same address and is called Kompliance Limited, a private company formed May 2017.
Another name which repeatedly crops up with links to the High West Capital Partners fraud is Look’s Securities, and we will cover them in more detail below.
Like several other High West Capital Partners variants, Look’s Securities was incorporated in August 2016. Looks Securities is part of Look’s Asset Management, which is regulated to offer securities advice since 2016.
The offshore hubs
High West Capital Partners LTD was incorporated in 2016 in St Kitts and Nevis and its details reside behind a company register database which is inaccessible to members of the public or investigators without high-level approval from the government.
It is unclear what information is listed in the registration documents, but it is likely to have more disclosures and hence greater levels of secrecy than the other incorporation files.
The company has no other presence in Nevis, it is not active in the island, and again, it is suspected that this operation is another shell whose purpose is to move stolen funds around and hide the trail of transactions through a controversial offshore center.
To complete the shadowy trail through clandestine jurisdictions, on 21 August 2017, High West Capital Partners LTD was registered at Kingston Chambers, Town Road, VG1110, British Virgin Islands (BVI) with the Legal Entity Identifier 549300J8JHMPPSYSI103. It has no operations and no collateral at that site, and such as in other areas, the address is shared with 10 other shell companies who are using a tax haven to withhold financial information from tax investigators.
The Singapore base
High West Capital Partners PTE. LTD was registered in August 2018, in Singapore at is 8 Marina View, #43-01, Asia Square Tower 1, Singapore 018960.
High West Capital Partners PTE. LTD bills itself as a “management consultancy” with five unnamed owner-shareholders who paid a cash sum of $5,000 to register. The Singapore office has been occupied by at least one member of staff; however, it has also been raided.
Singapore’s financial regulator was tipped off in early 2020 about unregulated activities and potential fraud taking place at Asia Square Tower 1 by High West Capital Partners PTE. LTD.
The company had listed itself as a management consultancy to avoid the kinds of disclosures required by firms wishing to provide financial services functions. Other than minimal operations at the site to fool potential clients into thinking it has a genuine presence, the Singapore office is another deception.
The invisible employees
High West Capital Partners is listed as having James ‘Jim’ Locke as managing director in an US business directory. This James Locke is not listed as a regulated person in any register in the US, Europe or Asia. No client nor broker has ever met him, and he likely does not exist. There are no management profiles on the website or in any other documentation that would reveal the experience or personalities behind the operation.
High West’s US agents mainly operate in the Miami and Florida region. Only one agent has ever been seen in public; Chasen Nevett. His Whatsapp profile picture has been spread amongst the victims looking for recompense as he appears to be the only legitimate lead to follow.
Police found two passports with Chasen’s picture inside a drawer in the Singapore office, with the names Robert Klein and Gabriel Messorow, who were British and US respectively. Singaporean police are working with their US counterparts to apprehend Chasen, and the UK’s Border Force has also been alerted to his identity.
It appears Chasen has been set up as the fall-guy for the High West Capital Partners scam, and is currently on the run for the multi-million-dollar fraud with several federal agencies on his tail.
Other agents linked to High West Capital Partners that no victim or broker has ever met are Eric Disbrow, a realtor who goes by the alias “Joe”, and Daniel Giancola. These may be clone identities.