A Kelowna man who scammed a Google executive out of millions of dollars was found guilty Friday of fraud and theft.
Bart Woytowicz, who is described in court documents as a “financially successful” founding member of Google, transferred $2 million US into a Danimal Productions Inc. bank account owned by Kelowna resident, Dan Keith Andersen.
The condition of the transfer was that the money was only on loan and would not be moved for any reason. The court found, however, that Anderson dishonestly misappropriated Woytowicz’s money by causing Danimal to transfer it to a Spanish company, Rubix Project Management SC. The money was never seen again.
In his written decision of the case, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Gary Weatherill said; “If this case can be summed up with an adage of life, it is this: If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.”
Anderson and Woytowicz first started dealing with one another in 2010.
At that time, one of Woytowicz’s post-Google projects was a start-up 3D video company known as Parallax. He’d invested a great deal of cash and wanted out, Weatherill wrote in the decision.
Andersen, in turn, was interested in buying Parallax and in starting a 3D movie making business in Kelowna, so the two started working out a deal.
In late July 2010, Andersen met with Woytowicz and had numerous telephone calls and meetings with him in Kelowna.
Andersen told Woytowicz that he was in the process of raising funds through the sale of patents and that through his negotiations with Rubix, he expected to receive in excess of $200 million USD from patent sales.
A portion of those proceeds from the Rubix deal would be used to buy Woytowicz’s shares in Parallax, which amounted to $4.2 million US, wrote Weatherill.
To finalize the deal with Rubix, however, Anderson needed to convince European investors that Danimal had financial substance.
He convinced Woytowicz to place $2 million US into Danimal’s HSBC bank account in Kelowna for the Europeans to look at to confirm financial substance. The money, he said, would be frozen or blocked and would not be moved out of the account or be touched in any way. Woytowicz, he said, would be repaid by Sept. 30, 2010.
To ensure there was no risk of the money moving from Danimal’s account, Woytowicz insisted that his friend and nominee, Joe Waskiewicz be the sole signing authority on the Danimal bank account where his money was to be deposited.
However, just six days after the account was created, Anderson removed Waskiewicz as a signing officer of Danimal making him, for corporate records purposes, the only signing officer at the bank.
None of this was made clear to Woytowicz who then transferred $2 million US to Danimal’s Canadian dollar account. On that same day, Anderson had those funds transferred first from Danimal’s Canadian dollar account at the HSBC to Danimal’s US dollar account at the HSBC and then to Rubix.
The money disappeared.
“It is apparent that (Anderson) was the victim of a scam by unscrupulous agents or owners of Rubix and/or others,” wrote Weatherill. However, Anderson had no authority to move around Woytowicz’s money, and that’s why he was guilty of the charges.
In his own defence, Anderson told the court that he did not solicit Woytowicz and it was never his intent to do anything other than to raise money to get Woytowicz “out of hot water” and to “build a dream.”
Ultimately, Weatherhill said his submissions were “rambling, repetitive and to a large extent, incoherent.”
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