Fintech firm WB21 caught in scam storm
The claims of money transfer service WB21 being a total scam have reached epic proportions and the firm appears to have gone off the grid.
On its website, WB21 calls itself a digital bank and offers account opening for 180 countries in 28 currencies.
As reported in November, FinTech Futures was contacted by a source that says two firms are owed $2 million via WB21. One of them the source currently works for, the other was a previous job. Those matters have not been resolved.
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.
In October, 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).
As many users report on Twitter the firm doesn’t like to reply. I have contacted WB21 numerous times to give it a chance to answer these accusations. It has not responded.
In the latest development, Juan F. Bolaños, general manager of Peru-based Blockchain Andina, contacted FinTech Futures with more evidence and the desire to go public on his name.
To keep it brief, he made an international money transfer from his dollar account of WB21 to his BBVA Continental account in Peru.
He explains that the money “does not appear in either of the two accounts and both the issuing bank and the receiver have not been able to tell me where the funds are”.
The amount of evidence – including screenshots – provided by Bolaños is comprehensive as he sought to resolve this.
Items include an image of payment confirmation with WB21 and conversations with the Singapore Police and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). WB21 is registered in that country.
MAS says WB21 is “not an approved WA SVF” (widely accepted store value facility) in Singapore, so recommended he contact the police. That has not brought his money back.
He also contacted Lavanya Mahadevan, an India-based office manager at WB21. She told Bolaños that the company has closed.