The Law Firm of the Prime Minister of Belize Played a Role in Assisting Sanctuary Belize Parties Named in FTC Scam Complaint

The law firm of Barrow & Williams in Belize has an interesting relationship, one of their founding members was Dean Barrow, the current Prime Minister of Belize. – Source

I bet Dean Barrow is sorry right about now that his law firm ever got involved. The Barrow & Williams website still says Dean Barrow is a partner in the firm. – Source

But he is said to be on a leave of absence since he became Prime Minister in 2008. – Source

In documents filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in their recent complaint against Ecological Fox and related companies, the FTC says Rodwell Williams, of Barrow & Williams “apparently performed the work. His partner at Barrow & Williams, Dean Barrow, became Prime Minister of Belize in 2008, and remains Prime Minister.” – Source

The work referenced maneuvering to assist Andris Pukke and Peter Baker keep debt relief “recidivist scammer” Andris Pukke hands-off the Belize development on paper.

Court documents say, “While lying to the Receiver and the Court, Pukke and Baker engaged in a sham transaction to further insulate the Sanctuary Parcel from the receivership. The transaction attempted to divest Dolphin of its valuable and undisclosed assets by transferring Dolphin’s rights and assets to two new entities: Starfish Development Ltd. (“Starfish”) and Sanctuary Bay Ltd. The divestment unfolded as follows: In September 2005, Pukke, Baker, and Colin Medhurst (Baker’s stepfather), began privately discussing the structure of a possible “NewCo” taking over for Dolphin.

Then, during the October 2005 board meetings for Dolphin and SRWR, they explained that the elimination and replacement of Dolphin was necessary because of Pukke’s inability to continue to fund Dolphin and SRWR (10/6/05 Dolphin board minutes, with Baker as Chairman: “Mr. Pukke’s financial position was detrimental to his efforts to attract new investors to the project. [Baker] was therefore recommending that [SRWR] be approached and asked to cancel their arrangements with [Dolphin] and to enter into a contract for the development, funding and marketing of project with a new company to be formed.”) (10/7/05 SRWR board minutes with Baker recommending that Dolphin be replaced “with a new developer acceptable to Mr. Baker” because “Mr. Pukke was unable to advance further funds and to facilitate new investors”). They originally attempted to divest Dolphin without paying for the land at all, suggesting that Dolphin merely “donate” the land and “lease” its equipment to the new companies, before their Belizean counsel told them that, even in Belize, such a transaction would be a sham.

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Nonetheless, to paper the transaction they decided to “sell” the land titled in Dolphin’s name for $65,320, even though Dolphin had paid $1.5 million for the same land just two years prior.

Following the October 2005 board meetings, Baker instructed Belizean law firm Barrow & Williams (“B&W”) to form Starfish to take over for Dolphin as the development and sales arm for the Sanctuary Bay development and to create Sanctuary Bay Ltd. to take over Dolphin’s real estate holdings.

On paper, Baker owned controlling interests in both.

In short, to help keep the Sanctuary Parcel from the FTC and the Receiver, Pukke transferred his interests to Baker, who attempted to insulate the dubious transactions through newly formed shell companies.” – Source

The FTC court documents also claimed the law firm of Barrow & Williams was actively involved in attempting to resolve legal actions against developer Andris Pukke when they negotiated on Pukke’s behalf to satisfy the Receiver.

The FTC says, “Unbeknownst to the Receiver, the FTC, and the Court, Baker and Pukke had in fact maintained control, using Usher as their front man. In 2016, for the first time, they began to lift the veil of fraud and disclose their active role in the settlement. During the November 2016 SRWR board meeting where Baker was once again SRWR’s Chairman, SRWR distributed a document describing SRWR’s history, including insider details on the settlement with the Receiver, disclosing that the settlement was actually the result of Baker finding “another investor” to buy Pukke’s “shares,” which were then transferred to Baker. In their own words:

The development limped along while Rodwell (Williams of Barrow & Williams) tried to negotiate a settlement with the Receivers [sic]; however, he was unable to do so. Luckily, Peter Baker surfaced another investor who agreed to invest $2 million into the project. With those funds, Rodwell was able to successfully negotiate a settlement with the Receivers [sic] on April 23, 2008. With the settlement payment made, Andris’ [Pukke’s] equity shares were conveyed to Peter Baker and the original core development investors (this should be noted to show he [Pukke] has no involvement)[.]

The role of the law firm Barrow & Williams is also confirmed in the Memorandum and Articles of Association of Sittee River Wildlife Reserve. Which named Andris Pukke, Colin Medhurst, Joan Medhurst, Valerie Woods, and Peter Baker.

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The Sittee River Wildlife Reserve was said to have been formed in 2003 to hide the assets involved from the Receiver. The FTC says, “Pukke formed two entities in 2003, with Baker’s and Baker’s family’s involvement: Dolphin Development LLC (“Dolphin”) and Sittee River Wildlife Reserve (“SRWR”). Dolphin articles of incorporation, identifying the owners, including Pukke, Baker, and Baker’s stepparents); SRWR articles of incorporation showing that the others associated with the companies include the Medhursts, Baker’s mother and stepfather.”

Two issues are clearly unfortunate here. The first is that the law firm of Barrow & Williams became involved in what probably felt like a whale of a client to land. Pukke, Baker, and others have certainly generated legal fees for the firm. According to current reports, the firm and Lisette Staine from the firm still represents Sanctuary Belize. – Source

The second unfortunate event was that Barrow & Williams did not discover Pukke’s troubled past in the United States before they got involved. Too bad they couldn’t foretell Dean Barrow would eventually go on to become Prime Minister.

And here is a bonus document.

Update November 19, 2018

Valerie Woods has allegedly posted the following update on YouTube.

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