Bankrupt called before Assignee


Bankrupted former Richmastery promoter Phil Jones was summonsed to a meeting with Official Assignee staff earlier this month to explain his financial circumstances.

Jones (full name Philip Ronald Jones) promotes himself as a business guru and mentor and is best known for his former Richmastery property investment seminars, but he was bankrupted in the High Court in Auckland in January on the application of Westpac Bank.

Jones is believed to owe Westpac about $1 million and his former business partner, Steve Goodey, nearly $500,000.

Goodey worked as a contractor to a company owned by Jones called Property Teachers NZ Ltd (PTNZ), under an arrangement by which Goodey was supposed to have received 60 per cent of the profits.

Jones subsequently moved to the United States and when Goodey did not receive most of the money he was owed, he took Jones to court.

According to the High Court judgment in that case, "PTNZ was insolvent and there is evidence that most of its revenue was diverted to meet Mr Jones's personal expenses."

In July last year the High Court ordered Jones to pay Goodey more than $450,000 but, in spite of that, Goodey said he never received a cent and in January this year Jones was bankrupted.

Normally, bankrupts cannot travel overseas without the permission of the Official Assignee but by the time Jones was bankrupted he had already left the country.

That meant the Official Assignee was unable to require Jones to attend a formal examination at the time, so when he returned briefly to this country at the beginning of this month, he was issued with a summons to a meeting at the Official Assignee's office to be questioned under oath and provide a statement of his financial affairs. If Jones was found to own assets, either in this

country or overseas, the Official Assignee would be able to take steps to recover them and use the proceeds to repay his creditors.

However, the Official Assignee's office said it had no evidence that Jones owned assets overseas and his travel to this country had been provided to him as a gift.

In the meantime, an inquiry by the Insolvency Service into his affairs is continuing.

In 2011 Jones set up an organisation in the US called BlueBanc Capital which promotes financial transactions that it claims will provide investors with extremely high returns within a short period of time.

BlueBanc's structure and ownership are uncertain.

BlueBanc's website gives its address as an office tower in the fashionable Los Angeles suburb of Beverly Hills.

Photos of the offices on BlueBanc's website give the impression of a substantial business operation.

The offices are part of a network of what are called "virtual offices" in the US, in this case managed by a company called Davinci Virtual.

For US$125 a month, Davinci's clients can use the same Beverly Hills address used by BlueBanc as if they were physically based there.

The address can be printed on the clients' business cards and documents and used on their websites. If mail is delivered to the address, Davinci can forward it to the client elsewhere. If the client needs to use the actual premises at the address, say for a meeting, an office or meeting room can be hired for as little as US$10 an hour. It is not uncommon for dozens of individuals and organisations to use the address of such facilities, as their own.

Jones is described as the chief executive and founder of BlueBanc Capital on several social media and business profile websites, but when he was emailed at BlueBanc, an emailed reply was received from Trevor Davies, who described his position there as "senior management".

"Mr Jones ceased all active fulltime involvement with Bluebanc Capital some time ago," Davies said.

At BlueBanc's request, Jones had "stayed in contact with 3 or 4 existing clients while we transitioned those clients to other account representatives. Those transitions are now all complete", the email said.

Because of the uncertainty around BlueBanc's structure, Davies was asked several times: "Is BlueBanc Capital a registered company or other incorporated entity? If so, who are its owners and directors and which jurisdiction is it registered in?"

Davies said: "No New Zealander has any current ownership of BlueBanc Capital."

Jones could not be reached for comment.

Sunday Star Times