We are posting this in order to let people dealing with Darren Smith and/or LC Capital & Associates (Darren) see what we went through so people can decide whether they should be doing business with same. In other words, this is for educational purposes; its lengthy, but informative buyer beware!
We were referred to Darren in early February of 2012 and signed a contract with him to begin setting up an aged corporation and get lines of credit so we could fund our project it is a very big project requiring approximately $33M. The referral came from a friend that had used Darren in the past to help him with his mortgage and was currently using him for the same services we sought. The contract was for $5,300 to be deposited directly into Darrens bank account. We dont actually know if this was his personal bank account, his business bank account (LC Capital & Associates), or some other account not even related; however, the paper Darren sent us with deposit information was headed with LC CAPITAL & ASSOC. BANKING. Before we started we asked Darren what his experience was and he said hed been doing this for several years, ever since the housing/loan market dropped out; this information coupled with the fact that he was a trusted referral from a friend helped us to decide to go ahead and we deposited the funds. After we paid him, we were told by Darren that we should always pay by credit card (even though a cash deposit was the ONLY way to pay for Darrens services) so that if someone didnt follow through we could simply reverse the charges. At this time we were told by Darren that he would get us the shelf corporation and he then sent us to a group called A7 Financial, LLC.
We began with a personal 790+ FICO score and A7 was given this information. They and Darren told us they had all done this many times before, and they would first have to get us personal credit cards and then have the inquiries removed, they would then get us corporate cash lines so we could pay the personal cards and we would move forward with corporate credit. We didnt know any better and they were the experts so we went ahead. A7 Financial charged us 15% of the limit value of each credit card they got for us. This totaled over $9,900. In one respect we were happy because we had over $66K in usable credit cards, but we werent happy about the debt. Since we were assured we would be getting cash lines to pay off the debt we now had, we moved forward.
In mid-April we were told by Darren that he had gotten a shelf corporation. Darren sent us the corporate documents via email (not originals) but when we received the paperwork we found one of our names had been forged on the documents. We then contacted the Secretary of State and found that the corporation was a business that was still in use by the owners. We were told by Darren Smith that the guy who got the corp., Joshua Ray Wells or Josh, had been in this business for some time and never did this before (although Darren said he didnt really know Josh and had only talked to him on the phone), but now Josh had apparently done this to several people and Josh now had an attorney and Darren Smith said we couldnt get our money back. We pointed out to Darren that we paid Darren Smith and our contract was with him and not Josh, and it was still incumbent upon him to get us our corp. or give us our money back. In other words, he lost HIS money, not ours. Here is part of the redacted email we sent to Darren:
I have (digital) copies of a State of xxx Secretary of State Limited Liability Company Certificate of Continuation form with Secretary of State file number: ************, and also a Limited Liability Company Restated Articles of Organization form with Secretary of State file number: ************. Both of these documents were signed by someone else using my name and dated 3/19/12 without my prior knowledge or consent. Further, I was on a multiple party conference call when Joshua Ray Wells was on this line and stated, after having the forgery pointed out to him, that it was his fault as it did come from his office. California Penal Code 470 as it relates to forgery is very clear. The primary points of that code are copied here:
California Penal Code 470 forgery is a "wobbler" which means that it may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If convicted of misdemeanor forgery, you face a maximum county jail sentence of one year. If convicted of a felony, you face a California State Prison sentence of 16 months or two or three years. If you are convicted of felony forgery and have at least one or two prior "strikes" on your record, you will be subject to a significantly greater prison sentence under California's Three Strike's Law. In addition to a jail or prison sentence, you may be required to - Pay fines of up to $10,000 for a felony (up to $1,000 for a misdemeanor),
- Pay restitution to any victims, and
- Participate in community service or labor.
I am certain that Federal Laws are much stiffer. On or about 2/10/12, I entered into a contractual agreement, and stipulated in said agreement is a fee of 5,300.00 Dollars (US) to be paid to the Servicer using the LC Capital & Assoc. banking information that you provided me with. Attached are copies of the two (2) Bank of America Receipt(s) of Deposit to the LC Capital & Assoc. Bank of America Account in the amounts of 2,500.00 Dollars (US) and 2,800.00 Dollars (US) respectively.
I want nothing at all to do with Joshua Ray Wells or his attorney as my connection with him is secondary; you are my contact.
END OF EMAIL -
Our contract with Darren Smith gave him three months to fulfill his obligation or we were guaranteed our money back; it had been over three months without the contract being fulfilled, but Darren Smith said he would get a corp. from another source and so we let him try because we wanted to get the rest of the program going. Here is an email from Darren sent to us May 2nd, 2012:
Gentlemen, still tangling with the attys.. however, Im not waiting..and just made another deposit on your corp with the
I am hoping to complete purchase Friday...then get bank acct Monday/tues..then submit for corp lines as intended.
Thanks for all your patience and we will get to the light at the end of the tunnel -
END OF EMAIL -
At this point, the inquiries were not removed regarding the credit cards and because of the debt the FICO Score had fallen to under 700. We had paid for corp. set up fees and were now also paying the monthlies on the cards with no corp. and no funding.
Darren Smith went to another source and got another corp. Darren then tried sending out several loan applications to get initial funding for the corp., a process that failed as all applications were denied. We were also introduced to another team (apart from A7 Financial) that supposedly knew the way to go about doing what we needed they were Tina Conley at Capital Momentum Solutions/GetMeFundingNow.com and Joe ??? at Business Funding Specialists who together as "partners refer to themselves as Team Sovereign. We realized at this point that although Darren said hed been doing this service for years, he didnt know what he was doing and was relying on the expertise of others to help him. This new group said that getting the personal credit cards was the wrong way to go and should never have been done as we were now stuck with the inquiries and a lower FICO score. They also said that trying to get any credit for this new company was a waste of time because it hadnt been set up properly. Joe and Tina pet together a plan to move forward.
We never gave the go-ahead to anyone at that time because we were deciding what to do, but within a couple of days we received a Card in one of our names and the companys name. Both Tina and Joe expressed their surprise and disbelief at this since it was their opinion that the corp. did not have the necessary corporate presence to be accepted by the various financial institutions that were solicited. We were then told by Tina that she got us the card, it was a company card, and it was unlimited, but really worth about $60k and she wanted her commission of $7,500.00; we paid. We then contacted the card and asked about the specifics of the card (how to use it, etc.) and found that it CAN be worth $60k or even more but only after we build up the credit; as it was, it was only good for about $3k and it could take a year or more of continued high dollar usage to get it to the value of $60k.
We now had the initial $5,300 we paid to Darren Smith, plus the $9,900 to A7 Financial, $7,500 to Tina Conley, plus all the setup fees for the two corps, no funding in sight and it was June. At this time we talked to Darren Smith about getting our money back again. Instead we were introduced to Kevyn Jerome Nelson by Darren in mid-July. Kevyn Jerome Nelson was introduced to us as the guy who wrote the book on corporate credit, so we gave him and Darren Smith a last chance youll find Kevyn Jerome Nelson on RIPOFF REPORT, too, although we didnt know it at the time (if we had only come to RIPOFF REPORT first!!) and weve since added our experience.
Kevyn Jerome Nelson said he could get everything done and get primary funding within 4 to 6 weeks, but it would cost us $4,114.85 in expenses. We agreed and gave him the information to charge two of our personal credit cards.
On August 6th Darren Smith got us involved with another group called Shumen Enterprises (A.K.A. Shumen Enterprises, LLC, Concepts Funding, Latisha N. Shumen) with our contact named Tangy Wiggamore; they could supposedly get us a cash line of around $100k+/-. We contracted with them for $2,900 up front and put this on our credit cards and moved forward with them.
Kevyn Jerome Nelson went to work, but everything came to a halt when we werent getting our corporate docs, etc., and so we went to the Secretary of State and found that the 2nd corp. that Darren got for us wasnt a shelf corp. at all but a previously used corp. whose owner filed bankruptcy. At this time we realized this was a fraudulent company, too. Horrified that we had gotten a Card attached to it, we disassociated ourselves with the corporation. This meant that we paid over $7,500 for a card we couldnt use.
We were informed by Kevyn Jerome Nelson that Darren told him that Darren was relying on him because he was new to doing these ventures. This is in contradiction to what Darren personally told us from the beginningthat he had over three years experience. We gave Darren Smith another formal demand for our money back - $5,300. Darren sent us an email and below is our exchange:
After reading your email of last Friday, November 30th, 2012, we feel the need to break down this email and put some issues straight. Below is your email in full minus the salutations and plus our comments.
Regarding the 5300, originally you told me that you and Robert were going to pay by direct deposit 2650 each respectively and in no way did I "disallow" paying by credit card in fact you were adamant on paying by direct deposit-- so the hindsight conspiracy theory where you are implying I took advantage of you is unfounded.
Regarding the $5300.00 we originally sent to you, the form of payment was not specified by us, but rather was specified by you in writing within the body of your contract: 2) Payment can only be made by Cash, or Cashiers Check, and Direct Deposit into LC's Account
Contrary to your statement, we were in no way adamant on paying by direct deposit. You made the statement that in no way did I disallow paying by credit card; in fact, your very contract disallows payment by credit card as is states that payment can only be made by Cash, or Cashiers Check, and Direct Deposit emphasis given on the word only. We were not given any other option than the afore mentioned payment methods and we were never given the option, verbally or in writing, to use a credit card. We told you that we would pay via direct deposit because it was one of the options given by you, but only for expedience sake as the quickest way to get things moving, we were not adamant.
Further, there is no hindsight conspiracy theory, just the facts facts given in writing by you. Making a statement/assertion ten months after the fact, as you have, that something happened one way does not change the actual fact that you gave us no option to use a credit card and actually disallowed our use of a credit card in your own written contract; and the written fact shows this.
Subsequent to this, you moved forward directly with A7 financial which provided you with $60,000 or so of funding and of which you signed a separate contract with them directly of which I never even got a copy of and according to their conversations you wanted as much as possible vs the 20-30k suggested to enhance the profile for purposes of corporate credit.
Yes, at your recommendation, we moved forward with A7 Financial because at the time you didnt give us another option for this part of the process. We were walked through a process where we acquired an estimated $60,000 or so in credit on personal cards in Roberts name; this was a process which, as weve said many times before, has left us with a debt that is extremely high and was a process that is questionable in its necessity this last point has been echoed by every single one of the servicers you have brought to us since. This is just another fact.
You are making another assertion that we told A7 Financial that we wanted as much as possible out of this transaction instead of the 20-30k suggested; this lower amount was never suggested to us by anyone including you. Instead, we were told that this part of the process would come to somewhere between 60k to 90k and it was never suggested to us by anyone that we should go with a lower amount for any reason. In fact, A7 Financial made out the forms, submitted them and ran that operation with us not knowing exactly how much would come of this process.
As for you not getting a copy of the contract with A7, please see the 2/28/12 email copied that you sent to us. The documents that Robert completed were (only) sent to you. We have certainly not hidden the contract from you, theres no reason to. However, we are the client, and as we have said repeatedly, you should have been handling all details (such as safely filing copies of the contract from A7 Financial and any other sub-contractors that you directed us to) and treating us as clients.
As far as making sure you were protected with subsequent funding sources , yes I always made sure and spent much time and effort negotiating your payments via credit card
This may very well be true.
- which is not norm for this "industry"
This may also be true; we dont know.
and further repeatedly warned that there is no such thing as a sure bet in this field and that even proven performers fail to perform sometimes i.e programs stopping, or vendors changing menus, or lending protocals being dynamic in this recession market etc. which you well agreed.
Yes, you did tell us that things could fail. We understand this even the sun could fail to rise. However, just to be clear, we acknowledged what you said, but we did not agree with it because we did not know the market any further than what you said.
Regarding the corp, after much consideration, you decided you wanted to replace the corp vs get refund which set a precedent--in fact, we even discussed and I made the comment that if for whatever reason THIS corp doesn't work then would replace it as well--as being a part of your team I was happy and encouraged to do.
Yes, there were precedents set, but not the one to which you are eluding. One of the precedents set was that of our generosity and tolerance, as we were giving you the opportunity to make things right after a very bad incident with the previous corporation (Airplus Engineering Consultants, LLC), a repeated scenario, which is not a precedence of us giving up our right to a full refund or any other right; we always reserve our rights in all cases, whatsoever. We have been very clear regarding the reservations of our rights, including the right to a refund, which is demonstrated through the fact that we DID ask for a refund a fact that you acknowledged in writing. Once again, at that time we very generously said that IF the interim project came through, we would take our refund out of your commission, to which you agreed. We were also very clear in the reservation of our right to that refund by stating very clearly in writing that if the interim project did NOT go through, that you would be liable for the full refund.
That as done out of funds short of $5k out of my wallet on your behalf and backfired in your finding the corporation defunct. The oddity here was all the while why i was chasing the vendor and trying to locate the dated documents, transfer agreements and such you apparently already had dirt on the corporation which you did not share but instead proceeded engagement by email and phone directly with various lending representatives proceeding with loan approvals.
We do not know how much you spent for this second corporation (Design Artists, Inc.); we did come to find out that the corporation was bogus. Contrary to your assertion, we had no dirt on the corporation that we did not share with you immediately. Any information we had regarding the corporation we forwarded to you right away why would we hide any such information, that doesnt make any sense. Further, our moving forward with the lending reps etc. was well before we had any negative information regarding the corporation; we moved forward on your word unaware that there was anything wrong with the corporation. We have saved ALL texts and emails from the very beginning, and the timeline is easily established. When we found out the corporation was bad, we immediately made you fully aware of the situation, disassociated ourselves with the corporation, and closed out all accounts.
Subsequently, I negotiated the no up front corporation acquisition for you as a 2nd and final replacement for you which you proceeded on, and you are doing continual business with Kevyn whom you've stated you respect greatly-yet for some reason want to discount that value from me.
First of all, just for clarification sake, this will be the THIRD corporation. You did not negotiate any no up front deal regarding a corporation with Kevyn we negotiated our own deal with him. In case you have forgotten, via credit card authorizations that we sent to you, we have already spent well over $4,000.00 for Kevyn Nelsons services and with no results from that venture. We even provided you with a copy of the charges. We are now having to pay Kevyn more than $1,500 in costs in addition to the original $4,000+ that weve already spent That is not a nothing up front deal. You also state for some reason want to discount that value from me; well, here is the reason we paid you to get us a corporation, etc. We paid you $5,300.00. We are now having to pay more than $5,300 to someone else to do the job we hired you to do over 10 months ago that you did not successfully complete; and that is the some reason. You are very well aware that the deal was not to pay you $5,300.00 as the middle man only to then have to pay another chunk of change to someone else to do the job!
You can read your own contract for that clarification, not to mention numerous emails, etc.; you were to supply us with a viable corporation that did not happen so we are having to pay again.
Further, Kevyn RETAILS similar corps @ 5k,
Yes, we are paying.
so in hindsight you are still being taken care of and getting funded by him . As you know, I have never represented myself as the Principal and have always allowed and given full access by request to any/all vendors/sources which it sounds like since the A7 capitalization you are now going to profit nicely from.
All those ifs regarding funding are not concrete, and obfuscate the point we paid you for a service that you did not complete and we are now having to pay someone else even more for that same service. It is a fact that you introduced us to Kevyn; if he produces it will be nice, but can you explain to us why we are supposed to pay him for a service we already paid you to complete?
Agreed, the overall timing has been significantly longer then expected -- even with the Promised delays,and bumps that occurred. But I think you know with the recession lending market we are in and your mammoth goal of needing $33Million ASAP well, that is a powerful ambition and it is reasonable to assume as the executives you are that this not be overnight and even i.e. 5 years would be considered short by most standards.
Well said, and were not expecting miraclesjust what we paid for; or, in the alternative, a refund if the services arent rendered - this is not extortion.
Throughout, we have shown and you have acknowledged the fact that we have been the good guys, partially by giving you TONS of leeway by working with you even after the potentially catastrophic problems that you, as the leader, have gotten us into. Its not unreasonable or mean for us to want our initial money back; its like paying a salesman for a car but not getting the car because the salesman couldnt deliver it unless you pay more to another salesman for the same car at the same dealership anyone would demand their money back from the first salesman.
Therefore, we are again formally starting the written 15 day notice of our request for a refund from you of the $5,300.00 beginning immediately. As far as getting funding through Kevyn, whatever deal you make with him regarding commissions is between you and him.
Were not trying to cut you out of anything you deserve, but we paid you for a service and you didnt deliver and we are now having to pay someone else for these services, so we are deservedly enacting our right to a refund. Were placing a temporary hold on the refund of the rest of the funds weve spent on this venture (i.e. the Interim Funding, etc.), while reserving all our rights. IF Kevyn comes through with funding, we will be able to pay off the cards; this coupled with a full refund from you will bring the accounts between us to $0 (another if). If not, we will take whatever action is necessary to recover the damages.
END OF EMAIL -
Right after this exchange, Tangy Wiggamore dropped out of sight and we received an email from Darren Smith to reverse the charges on our cards it was the last communication we received from him. We found that Shumen Enterprises (A.K.A. Shumen Enterprises, LLC, Concepts Funding, Latisha N.
Shumen) with our contact named Tangy Wiggamore charged a total of $5,771.62 to our cards even though they were only authorized to charge $2,900; we disputed" all charges and alerted the cards fraud departments.
Kevyn Jerome Nelson did not deliver and we were forced to also disputed" all charges made by him including the overcharges (visit Kevyn Jerome Nelson on RIPOFF REPORT).
Darren Smith has not been heard from by us since, and still owes us $5,300 plus damages were letting the law take care of him.