Bankruptcy court officials accuse Vratsinas of embezzlement and fraud

Former West Des Moines businessman John Vratsinas has been charged with embezzlement, fraud and deception of court officials in his personal bankruptcy case.

In a case in the name of the American trustee Daniel McDermott, Vratsinas is accused of having concealed or transferred assets between his various companies and to his personal accounts, as well as of having lied under oath in bankruptcy hearings. Bankruptcy officials struggled to determine Vratsinas’ true assets. According to a document, Vratsinas did not account for $ 2 million that was transferred to his personal bank accounts in the year before filing for bankruptcy in June 2013.

Judicial authorities accuse 45-year-old Vratsinas of trying to mislead them about hidden assets. At least one issue involving money transfers appears to have been resolved, but the filing by the US trustee threatens the bankruptcy filing and could result in its dismissal, meaning Vratsinas would be liable for its debts.

Vratsinas started a series of Grand Des Moines businesses, including a construction company and employee service providers who are now gone. Vratsinas now lives in Chicago via Clear Lake and Minneapolis, but was a prominent businessman, entrepreneur and investor during his years in Grand Des Moines. His civic involvement was noticed when he promoted the 40 Under 40 Business Record in 2004.

Now Vratsinas presents himself on his website, vratsinas.com, as an entrepreneur, investment advisor and venture capitalist. His LinkedIn profile indicates that he runs a Chicago-based company called Transaction Analytics Inc.

The missing money problem surfaced in October 2012, when the Internal Revenue Service informed some businesses in Grand Des Moines that their employees’ payroll taxes, which were supposed to have been paid under a contract with the employee service provider InFocus Partners of Vratsinas, had in fact not been paid. Businesses have been told that they may be required to pay these taxes again. Merit Resources Inc. took over the accounts of InFocus Partners at the end of 2012.

According to the bankruptcy court record, Vratsinas borrowed $ 4.9 million from his father, Gus Vratsinas, whose former Arkansas-based construction company built the Jordan Creek Town Center, to pay these payroll taxes.

About six months later, he filed for bankruptcy.

Two files filed last week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Iowa in Mason City allude to the difficulty of determining its exact assets.

On March 10, the U.S. trustee – the court official who serves as a watchdog for bankruptcy cases – filed a lawsuit saying the $ 6.4 million in unsecured debt, Vratsinas said, should not be protected from creditors because he misled or lied to court officials.

Two days later, another judicial officer in charge of the administrative details of the case filed a document indicating that he had reached a compromise for the rotation of the assets of a company managed by Vratsinas after determining that he would be too expensive and complicated to seek legal redress.

The US trustee’s file indicated that Vratsinas misused funds for personal expenses, including flights, international travel, hotels, restaurants, his condominium rent in Minnesota, and season tickets for the Minnesota Twins in 2013, according to the court document.

Vratsinas also misled bankruptcy court officials about an international flight that included a stopover in Switzerland, where, according to the court document, he told officials he left the airport to smoke. However, bank statements showed hotel and restaurant charges at various locations in Switzerland between July 22 and July 24, 2013, a month after he filed for bankruptcy. The document does not offer any additional information as to why Vratsinas was traveling.

Vratsinas also initially concealed his involvement in a series of companies with which he was involved as chairman, manager, investor or director. In his initial bankruptcy filing, Vratsinas said he had an interest in 18 limited liability companies. His lawyer then submitted a document titled “Downstream Entities” which noted an interest in 43 limited liability companies and what were called “sub-subsidiaries”. The US trustee’s objection to the clearance of debts in the bankruptcy case focused on transfers of funds from eight companies,

Vratsinas pretended to ignore the operations of at least one company he controlled.

Asked at a creditors’ meeting in the current matter over Heartland Equity Partners LLC, an intermediary entity he controlled, Vratsinas said, “I have no idea. I have no role in this business. The court record indicates that he was the manager of the business and controlled his bank accounts.

Meanwhile, the trustee responsible for collecting the assets and paying the bills of the Vratsinas bankruptcy estate has come to an agreement on a complaint he had filed to request the transfer of the assets of Heartland Equity Partners to the estate. .

David Sergeant said in a court filing on March 12 that he reached a compromise after Vratsinas submitted defenses regarding Heartland Equity Partners.

Vratsinas will settle all claims of the estate against the assets of Heartland Equity Partners in exchange for the transfer of $ 100,000 and the company’s interest in Heartland Agri Partners LLC, free and clear of all lien and security, including those of Vratsinas Capital Resources LLC, Gus Vratsinas, or one of his son’s related entities.

Heartland Agri Partners does business as Insta-Pro International Ltd. d’Urbandale, a manufacturer of food products and
food processors.


A network of vratsinas companies

Transactions with these companies caught the attention of bankruptcy officials:

– Iowa Construction Logistics Inc., which Vratsinas controlled as sole officer, director and shareholder.
– ICL Staffing LLC, which was controlled by Vratsinas as the manager and 100% owner of Iowa Construction
– Logistics Inc., the controlling member of ICL Staffing LLC.
– ICL Staffing Inc., controlled by Vratsinas as president and owner of Iowa Construction Logistics Inc., the majority shareholder of ICL Staffing Inc.
– Arapaho Partners LLC, controlled by Vratsinas as sole member and manager.
– Vratsinas Capital Resources LLC, controlled by Vratsinas as sole manager and majority member.
– Heartland Equity Partners LLC, controlled by Vratsinas as manager.
– DDP Norwalk # 1 LLC, controlled by Vratsinas as manager.
– MycoInnovations Inc., known as John Vratsinas Commercial Builders Inc., controlled by Vratsinas as an officer, director and majority shareholder.


@Vratsinas on Twitter

John Vratsinas’ Twitter account – @vratsinas – for the past few months suggests he enjoys live music, watches television a lot, and follows the Minnesota Wild hockey team. He has posted 867 tweets since opening the account in 2009 and has 569 followers. He identifies himself as “entrepreneur / investment adviser / venture capitalist” and lists these coordinates as his location: 55.7517 ° N, 37.6178 ° E, which would place him in or near the Kremlin.

In addition to promoting his blog posts on his website www.vratsinas.com, published photos and tweets suggest that he enjoyed an Aimee Mann concert at the First Avenue Concert Hall in Minneapolis in November 2012 and a show of the group Foreign Subjects in Chicago last time. month.

Some of his recent tweets:

March 11: I am an aviation nerd, I was obsessed with Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. Was it taken by ALIENS (UFO)? http://tinyurl.com/pa9av9u

March 5: (Former IRS official) Lois Lerner shames US #cspanchat #irs #corruption

February 26: HOW DIGITAL INNOVATION WILL PRODUCE WEALTH AND KILL REAL JOB GROWTH: PART 2 http://www.vratsinas.com/innovation-will-kill-job-growth-part-2/… #PIB #Jobs # unemployment # vratsinas

February 4: Nice victory @mnwild

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