Money Center Exposed
Ask Joe Bonannos Question: Are they a member of NAELB?
Joseph Bonanno, Esq.,CLP, is the legal counsel for the National
Association of Equipment Leasing Brokers. It is his intention that
if a funder is not a member of NAELB, a member should not do business
with them. He states this because the association then has no recourse
in negotiating matters.
The other day, Leasing News stated he should get a medal. He responded:
Thank you for your kind words of suggestion that I should receive a medal.
However, realize that the entire process involving CMC was an NAELB matter.
Neither myself nor the NAELB takes any delight in what occurred with CMC and apparently you are finding out about even more issues that can potentially make the overall situation even more unfortunate.
The actual announcement of the expulsion of Commercial Money Center
came from its president, Mike Meacher, on November 19, 2001.
Dear NAELB members:
The Board of Directors has unanimously voted to expel Commercial Money Center ( 221 WestCrest Street, #200, Escondido, California ) for membership in the National Association of Equipment Lease Brokers based on the filings of a complaint by a member for ethical violations. The action was taken in accordance with the NAELB ethics procedures. As always, the NAELB advised that members conduct business with other members so that the ethics program can benefit our members.
Sincerely Mike Meacher NAELB President
In writing the story, Leasing News asked Mr. Bonanno for a comment. He stated at the time President Meachers statement was sufficient. We asked him off the record,
why did NAELB expel Bill Hanson, particularly since he was a big support of the association, major financial contributor, a major sponsor, and was very well liked in the leasing business.
He said, If a company cant return an advance rental, no matter what
the circumstances are, including an expulsion form NAELB, then something
more is wrong than just this one incident. We have other complaints, but I can tell you,
not returning the advance rental, this is a red flag. They dont have the money. Something is really wrong here. We need to notify our members not to do
business with this company.
The Leasing Industry should have listened. It is more than Commercial Money
Center is out of business. There appears to be fraud involved; many lawsuits,
a Federal Bureau of Investigation inquiries, the advance rentals that were to be returned,
may be an illusion, Leasing News knows many vendors have not been paid, lessee money not returned, unwarranted liens filed, and there is more. It appears the situation is
going to become even worse for all those involved.
American Motorist Insurance Company (Safeco) on March 26, filed a $6,265,715 against all officers and Capital Markets Corporation and Commercial Money Center regarding deposits and payments on their bond. This is perhaps the first of many.
Part of this suit includes leases for Kiosks, reportedly never delivered, never existed, and the vendor who was to build these allegedly was only paid fifty percent, so he reportedly never completed nor delivered the Kiosks, but the partnership with some officers of Capital Markets Corporation testified in leasing contacts they were accepted and payments were being made on the lease. Money for the payments allegedly came from CMC.
One of the signers of this transaction, has gone to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Florida, it is reported, to tell all with the hopes of a reduced sentence, very
to the Enron Auditor plea .
Dun and Bradstreet states the company started in 1998. The chief officer is Wayne Pritle. Amwest Surety Insurance Company, San Clemente, California, is listed as a secured party
on many UCCs. Leasing News spoke with them and they told us Commercial
Money Center closed their doors ...for a lot of problems, and we cant go
into them at this time. We were told they were able to negotiate insurance
for transactions, but due to all the investigations, did not want to discuss
Other officers of this company are Mark Fisher, Tom Matthews, Brian McMichael, Bill Hanson, Sterling Pirtle, and Ronald A. Fisher.
D&B states that Capital Markets was started in 1997 and operated as a
holding company ( Commercial Money Center.). The Nevada Charter shows officers as Wayne Pirtle and Ronald A. Fisher.
On January 16, 2001, Dun & Bradstreet records show that Ronald A. Fisher is listed as an officer in Ronald A. Fisher, DUNS #92-675-9457, which filed a voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy on May 10,1996. Ronald Fisher is also listed as an officer of Care-Med Centers, Inc. Pompano Beach, Fl. Duns #18-296-5591, which was reported to have discontinued operations in 1991 leaving unpaid debts.
A highly reliable source informs Leasing News that Fisher was a Chiropractor,
who lost his license due to Medicare and other malfeasance. Leasing News
could not find an active license in Florida or California for Ronald Fisher,
although it is know he prefers to be called Dr. Ronald Fisher.
On January 18, 2001, Dun & Bradstreet records show ...Sterling Pirtle is listed as an officer in North Bay Mortgage, Ltd., Englewood, CO. DUNS #80-475-6427, which filed a voluntary Chapter 7 Bankruptcy on February 13,1995.
On January 18, 2001, Dun & Bradstreet records show that Mark Fisher is listed as an officer in CMC Lease In., Escondido, CA, DUNS #17-409-7709, which was also laced on higher-risk status.
On January 12, 2001, Andrew J. Alderete, the CPA for both Capital Markets Corporation and Commercial Money Center, indicated that he prepares an audited, combined financial statement for those two companies....on January 12,2001, a check with the New Mexico Public Accountancy Board revealed Andrew J. Alderete is being investigated for audit competency specific details regarding the investigation were not available.
Dun & Bradstreet states Commercial Money Center, Inc. (subsidiary of Capital Markets Corporation, Las Vegas, Nevada started 1997. According to the many
Uniform Commercial Credit filings, the assigned are Midam Bank, Toledo, Ohio,
Privident Bank, Cleveland, Ohio, Huntington National Bank, Cleveland, Ohio, Second National Bank of Warren, Solon, Ohio. No major banks seem to have been involved.
The relationship of the banks is being investigated.
The officers of both corporations are the same. Ronald Fisher is not the president.
Welcome to Commercial Money Center Inc. Whether you are a broker, vendor, business professional (attorney, accountant, or other professional), business owner or manager with tough credit issues and looking for equipment leasing solutions...the Commercial Money Center is the place to be.
Their website proclaims:
We are full service leasing company specializing in doing the tough credit transaction...discharged bankruptcies, paid tax liens/judgments and slow pays within policy are components of our leasing products. We have expanded our scope to include a limited tax lien and judgment payoff sale & leaseback product that could have many useful applications for businesses working earnestly to solve their credit issues.
We ask that you take a moment and sign-on with us to learn more about the Commercial Money Center and the benefits of our leasing programs for your business and for your client's business.
Application Only Lease
This product is designed for quickly processing transactions $75,000 and under that have certain credit barriers that are acceptable to the Commercial Money Center, Inc. Personal credit reports and guarantees are required for all shareholders/principals of each lessee. Co-signers who are not owners and not involved with the lessee business will not be considered in our credit decision. Spouses are required to co-sign in the following states: Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, and Wisconsin.
The Commercial Money Center Inc. utilize the following scoring elements in our credit decision process:*
Fair Isaac Score as low as 500
Current Account Status
Real Estate Ownership
Time in Business - minimum 12 calendar months
Average bank balance equal to 2 times lease payment over the last 6 months
Gross sales & Net Income
Dun & Bradstreet Score
Bankruptcies are deducted
Tax Liens are deducted (See our Tax-lien payoff product)
Civil Judgments are deducted
Transactions equal to $10,000 to $75,000
Lease Application completed with gross and net income
Last 6 months of bank statements
Equipment description, Cost, Vendor name & Address & Phone & Contact
Letter of explanation for any account shown as currently past due on credit reports
Sale-Lease backs must have letter of explanation indicating use of proceeds
Commercial Money Center hired Dennis Doyon, formerly of Colonial Pacific
Leasing, to solicit business. Doyon previously worked for Total Funding, a dot.com
super broker looking to have brokers submit vendor business and direct business
through their internet connection.
Leading the fray was Bill Hanson, who learned the leasing business while
working for Ron Wagner, who went out on his own . Hanson is now self-employed
as a leasing broker, as reported earlier by Leasing News.
January 10, 2002, Bill Hanson, Vice-President and Director of Marketing
states the company will return all Advance Rentals. There are stipulations.
In the Meet the Leasing News Maker, he states:
Is CMC currently not funding transactions and effectively out of business until surety issues are resolved?
[Bill Hanson ANSWERS]
Out of business is a strong word, we are far from out of business we are still accepting applications and intend on processing them and funding them
We are returning everyone's advance rentals
So you are still accepting applications?
[Bill Hanson ANSWERS]
YES, please support us and we will support the brokers.
Everyone talks about CMC being the last resort, what does the credit look like and roughly what would be the rate
[Bill Hanson ANSWERS]
500 fair isaac..closed BK....several NSF's..... released tax liens and judgments.........we have a rate factor ...like renting an apartment .03630 for 64 months we only have 64 months...we are trying to get our shorter leases back
It takes 5 to 6 weeks because we sell the transactions off in pools of 5 to 10 million and this is after all documents are correct
: What about all the vendors who have delivered equipment 6 months ago?
[Bill Hanson ANSWERS]
Good question, we have not given up on being able to fund these transactions and we feel most vendors will be paid We are refunding the lessees advance rentals, but still trying to move forward and fund them as soon as possible
] Approximately how many advance rentals will you be returning?
[Bill Hanson ANSWERS]
All of them
Will you fax copy of lessee letter to broker?
[Bill Hanson ANSWERS]
We are working on a letter for the broker and the vendor! We want to keep everybody working together! That's what America's all about
Since I was late.............is there even a "realistic" time frame for the deals that have been in the funding process for several months?
[Bill Hanson ANSWERS]
To fund? 30-60 days...to get their money back? 2 to 10 days
: Do you have any suggestions as to where to place some of these deals?
[Bill Hanson ANSWERS]
Contact me and I will be more than happy in trying to help...1-800-856-0907
What are the odds of you being able to straighten everything out???
[Bill Hanson ANSWERS]
$19.2 Million Fraudulent Leases? out of $250 Million Portfolio
or is it higher, as others are now coming forth?
are readers comments to Leasing News:
do not use my name. Other employees may guess who I might be
I was involved in ( upper management). I do know that the fraudulent
leases were bonded by ACE (under Illinois Union Insurance Co.), RLI
and American Motorists as these were the last 3 companies who wrote
bonds for CMC.
am concerned in looking for employment that the onus of working
CMC will be working against me. How do I tell a prospective employer
I was not guilty of any wrong doing?
fully expect that all of the sureties will file suits if they have not
yet done so. Knowing what I do about D&B's public records database,
I'm not surprised that they are not all showing up as yet (D&B Public
Records can be slow).
you have access to Lexis/Nexis, you might get a better list of
Accusearch through Data Filing Service/UCC Direct might give you more
information but can be costly. I'm sure you know all of that, but I
thought I'd throw it in. Because special purpose companies were often
formed for bulk sales, a UCC search might not return accurate data.
Any San Clemente addresses showing would most likely be the offices
of Anthony and Morgan Surety and Insurance Services, the broker who
sold the bonds to CMC.
actual bonding process was a simple one, the bonds themselves are something
of a web. In certain cases, bonds were 'wrapped' when one company purchased
the bond from the original seller. Any changes to the bonds were at
the request of either the issuer of the bond or the bank to whom the
leases were sold. The cause for any changes were due to various reasons
including simple mergers and, in certain cases, declining ratings on
existing bonds. To my knowledge the list of bonding companies includes:
America Insurance (ACE wrapped the Frontier, Royal and other bonds)
Union Insurance Co. (A wholly owned subsidiary of ACE)
(these bonds were purchased in the mid summer of last year but were
returned as Kemper's bond rating dropped after 9/11/01 due to the fact
that they had insured parts of the World Trade Center.
is noteworthy as this event is THE ONLY impact that 9/11 had on CMC
although they continued to publicize that event as having caused severe
damage to CMC. That has always made me a little sick, quite frankly,
but I had no control
this. It did bother me ******** tried to use such a tragedy to their
advantage. Kemper is not responsible for any CMC leases)
Group of Insurance Companies, in the final days, was negotiating with
CMC to wrap the entire portfolio with new bonds and relieve the obligation
of the original sureties. Once this was done, the entire portfolio
was to be refinanced by Citibank and Chase Manhattan as a joint venture
apart from any routine purchases. Once the lawsuits started coming
down, however, all parties pulled out.
may have been a few other smaller bonding companies, but the names escape
me. Most of those bonds were later wrapped though. The list above
is an accurate list of the big players though.
am sure Safeco and their subsidiaries are especially aggravated as they
were promised but never received relief on the bonds written on leases
for Shandoro Ventures, a gigantic CMC disaster along with Kapco and
of course, will be the biggest suit as they hold the most bonds. ACE
is not without blame, however, they did not investigate what they were
bonding and were unfortunately duped as a result.
would like to help out, but it is not the legality that I am fearful
the fact that I worked for such a company. Please withhold my
noticed that you mentioned "no major banks seem to be involved"
the CMC story. This is not correct: Citibank is in for $50 Million
Netbank is in for more than that amount.
the way, the Citibank deals were sold under a special purpose company
formed solely to sell leases to Citibank. This was agreed upon by both
entities as a matter of risk management. The name of that company was
CMC Lease Funding 2000-220 L.P.
may quote me. I have been sitting on some information since the middle
of last summer involving what I believed to be wrongdoing by the executive
management of CMC. I was not, however, 100% certain that wrong had
been committed until you reported today (Friday) that one of the signers
on the bogus deals had come forward. I was the Processing Manager for
story is going to get much bigger, I can assure you. Much, if not all,
of the information you have been given regarding the collapse has been
either inaccurate or misrepresented with the exception of information
you reported today ( Fridays Leasing News. )
takes a lot of courage to write what you have. You are being considerate
your industry, plus trying to up-hold business ethics. I think once
is noticed, other may follow, and defaults in payment will
without attribution when we can confirm it, or know or
about the source. It has more credence when signed, like Dean Ambrosini.
actual figures on the fraudulent leases I am concerned with total $19.22
million (confirmed figure) and were sold to various banks using bogus
companies for lessees. CMC's entire portfolio was in excess of $250
million in receivable accounts, most of which were misrepresented through
to the respective investors (banks) and sureties.
my knowledge, that entire portfolio is now considered in default by
the investors and sureties.
Ponzi reference is, in fact, correct. CMC was using their own funds
to cover up the default in the portfolio. I was aware of this, as were
others at my level, and we were told that it was necessary to do this
in order to continue to be considered credit-worthy for future bond
actual leader in the lawsuits, however, was not Safeco but ACE American
Insurance Company, which wrote bonds for CMC. ACE, having 'wrapped'
or purchased bonds from other sureties in addition to having written
their own, was the insurer of the bulk of CMC's portfolio (I recall
this figure to be approximately $140 million).
is my understanding that ACE filed a motion seeking relief from their
obligation to CMC in Federal Court this past summer (late June 2001)
and filed a subsequent lawsuit shortly thereafter having lost that round.
I believe that all of the sureties have filed similar suits.
think that Ron Fisher, to return to that subject, was the founder and
original president of the company but was pushed out of that role due
to difficulties caused by his past dealings as the company grew. I
always found odd that he was replaced with Wayne Pirtle in that role,
however, as Wayne's
is a much bigger mystery.
Top Executive Insider, known to Leasing Newsname withheld )
first reader mentioned many insurance companies.
UCC filings show the security party as Amwest Insurance company, San
Clemente, Inc. The debtor is Commercial Money Center. Perhaps this
to American Insurance Company. It is evident there are several
and insurance companies seeking payment.
particular lawsuit appears different. The plaintiff is the American
Motorist Insurance Company of Illinois, signed by the attorneys for
Royal Indemnity Company and Safeco Insurance Company. It follows a third
Amended Estipulation and temporary restraining order dated February
27,2002 against CMC and CSC and all of its agents, officers and
employees are enjoined and restrained...from withdrawing by any means,
any bonded lease payments and names banks accounts and other matters.
CMC closed doors on March 10. This lawsuit was completed on March 19,
signed by all parties, and filed with the
on March 26,2002. The lawsuit does not appear-yet- in either the CMC
or Capital Markets D&B report, at this time. In the string of leases
to be the alleged non-existing kiosks from a partnership reportedly
suit is addressed to Commercial Money Center, Inc., a Nevada corporation;
Commercial Servicing Corporation, a Nevada Corporation, Wayne Pirtle,
an individual, Anita Pirtle, an individual. Capital Markets Corporation
was not named. Leasing News will seek further information on Commercial
Servicing Corporation. Perhaps there is a reader who can give us the
background on Wayne Pirtle. editor )
People Behind Commercial Money Center
Fisher's Chiropractic career was always a mystery to those of us at
had heard rumors of malpractice, including Medicare fraud, and various
other issues, but none have been confirmed. I can tell you, however,
that the ONLY "President of CMC" ever known to any employee
of CMC was Dr. Fisher regardless of what might be indicated on paper.
Not Wayne Pirtle.
know great measures were taken to keep Dr. Fisher out of sight, however.
I had always assumed that his BK was related to his Chiropractic practice.
Given the number of "out of work Chiropractors" selling at
CMC, I have also suspected that Dr. Fisher's dealings caused some colleagues
to lose their licenses as well. We all
the BK involved his entire practice.
read the claim by CMC Director of Marketing Bill Hanson that he did
any money since last June.
he was a victim along with the rest of us in that he was also given
false information to distribute to our brokers and vendors. Bill is
a most likable person and a very kind man, but I can assure you that
he did make money and plenty of it. Perhaps not directly, but Conrad
and Associates did.
piece on CMC demonstrates a great deal of journalistic maturity and
Congratulations on a very well done piece!
withhold my name.
I like your classified ads, and use them. A very good source for leasing sales people. Perhaps you could shed some light on where your publication is distributed so that we know who will potentially see our classified ads.
VP Human Resources
( to inform, to educate, to entertain, to help )
Do it better, dont run away just because they do it )
We estimated we have 5,000 readers. Many read us at home,
some are doubled listed and may also read us at work. I would say there
is an age factor. We know this from the ISP address. The older the person and the higher up in the scale of a leasing company, the less they are interested in the internet, e-mail, or inside news. This does not apply to entrepreneurs or smaller companies
who compete with the larger companies. Many of them are quite computer
and internet ready.
We have a real cross section from brokers, collectors, managers of departments, salesmen, sales managers, sales representatives, and even attorneys. Our first classified
ad was for an attorney by the way, who got a leasing company job through Leasing News. We have had operations people, collectors, and other people involved in the industry find job , therefore they must be readers. I think they all care about their professional, want to succeed in life, are concerned about others, want to know more about what is going on, and have a very curious mind.
We dont just automatically print any press release sent to us and particularly . We print a lot of controversy and things you will not read anywhere else about the leasing industry. We are not driven by advertisers or charge for our services.
You wont see a full press release that Boeing leased five new aircraft. ( sorry ).
Most of the press releases are so phony, they could be comedy. They are quite
one sided, at best.
One of the things I learned in starting this, most readers want it delivered to their
e-mail address. I originally thought they would like the html, cleaner layout,
that they could print or adjust to a newspaper format or click to the url
mentioned. They like it delivered. Thus the reason I plug the classified
in the e-mail news edition. By the way, we never intended to have a classified
section, it was requested by the readers. It took several months of the requests
for us to act as it is a lot of work to maintain.
April 17 will mark out two year saving these news stories, and in The Day
In American History, we will mark the anniversary.