Pedro Fort has seemingly been caught out in a web of lies, leading to his attorney withdrawing from the case for a second time.
In a brief April 9th filing, Fort requested a “lawyer of the state” be appointed.
Fort made the request because his “lawyer has abandoned the case”. He also claims to not have “the resources to pay a lawyer of confidence”.
Failure to appoint a state attorney, Fort argued, would harm his right to due process.
On April 10th Fort’s attorney filed a motion to withdraw, claiming he was “unable to communicate with his client”.
As per an April 12th SEC response objecting to Fort’s motion;
This will be the second time the Defendant has refused to cooperate with his attorney.
On or about May 17, 2017, Mr. Jones briefly appeared to represent Berbel earlier in the Commission’s investigation, but within two weeks, withdrew as counsel.
At that time, he stated his client was completely uncooperative.
The SEC go on to reveal Fort seemingly lying about the state of his financial affairs.
Fort also asserts that his bank accounts in the U.S. are frozen as a result of the SEC action.
First, the Commission is unaware of any frozen U.S. bank accounts that contain money.
That would be because Fort moved all of his assets to at least three banks in the Commonwealth of Dominica before the charges were filed.
The Commission has retained foreign counsel in the Caribbean who was successful in obtaining a freeze order against certain of the Defendant’s assets there.
The Court has entered an order prohibiting the sale of any additional assets in Dominica pending the outcome of the case.
Local counsel is in the process of amending those orders, as he continues to locate additional assets.
The Defendant himself is believed to be residing in Colombia
Fort not revealing to the US court his assets abroad is telling.
Perhaps he’s feeling the squeeze as the SEC’s foreign counsel close in on hidden resources?
Fort is charged with cheating investors out of $38 million, $24 million of which is largely unaccounted for.
If this case were to go to trial it would be fairly lengthy and require a large commitment of time and resources from a pro bono attorney.
This case hardly seems like one that should qualify for a free attorney.
On April 20th Fort’s application was denied.
At the time of publication there are no further filings in the case.
If Fort keeps this up though, I have a feeling we’re going to see criminal charges filed at some point.