Lawsuit and scam accusations plague fintech firm WB21
The saga of money transfer service WB21 standing accused as a complete fraud is an unrelenting tale of comments, anger and a civil lawsuit.
As reported last month, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revealed a civil lawsuit against Michael Gastauer, CEO of WB21, accusing him of aiding and abetting the fraudulent sale of $165 million worth of shares in microcap stocks. Gastauer denies having ever been accused of fraud. The full document can be found on the SEC website here (PDF file).
It’s a long story, but the SEC says there is no banking empire. WB21, and its tech for international payments, was just a circumvention of regulations designed to disguise the clients’ identities. The SEC also says that Gastauer “repeatedly lied to banks” and made a series of false claims in dealing with various organisations.
On its website, WB21 calls itself a digital bank and offers account opening for 180 countries in 28 currencies. Its last tweet was yesterday (27 November).
This month, FinTech Futures was contacted by a source that says two firms are owed $2 million via WB21’s money transfer service. One of them the source currently works for, the other was a previous job.
The source revealed the company names to us but did not want to go public on his/her name and the firms’ names. I have checked them out and all appear legitimate.
The source says: “WB21 is withholding funds from with no explanation or contact whatsoever. Transfers from WB21 to third parties have not been executed. Impossible to withdraw funds from WB21 account. Scam scam scam!!!”
This user has attempted to contact WB21 repeatedly but to no avail.
The accusations of WB21 being a scam have been going on a while on Twitter, Reddit, Quora and many other sites. A very basic search on its name or other variations will reveal the nature and extent of these alleged crimes.
Some of the accusers have gone public with their names. Others didn’t. Comments included “WB21 Customer Service keep saying my money is safe but I have asked several times to send me the swift confirmation and they have not, so it means they have stolen the money.”
On the whole it’s a very bleak and repetitive situation for a lot of people. There are simply too many negative comments to mention. That doesn’t make a firm guilty of a crime, but it does raise some questions.
FinTech Futures contacted WB21 for its response to these accusations and it has not replied yet.
In the meantime, people can make their own minds up and we can all wait for the outcome of the SEC lawsuit.