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Fake Nations > Melchizedek
The so-called Dominion of Melchizedek (hereinafter
"DoM") is a fake nation which exists only in cyberspace,
or in the literature and actions of the scam artists who perpetrate
this fraud. There is no real Dominion of Melchizedek, but this doesn't
stop the scammers from selling utterly worthless bank licenses for
tens-of-thousands of dollars.
The DoM attempts to hold itself out as some sort of
quasi-religious body, even to the point of having its own version
of the Bible. But for all their self-righteousness, the truth is
that the DoM not only commits fraud, but also materially facilitates
the fraud of others by creating phony banks, stock exchanges, arbitration
forums, etc., in an attempt to give some illusory legitimacy to
criminals who are directly defrauding the public by way of pyramid-scheme
bank debenture scams and other criminal schemes.
Those of you wanting a chuckle at the creativity of
some crooks can visit the DoM's website at http://www.melchizedek.com
But first you should should read some of the passages which follow
which tell you the truth about the DoM and is reputed founders.
Just so there is no uncertainty: It is our opinion that the Dominion
of Melchizedek is a criminal scam.
Excerpts of Presentation of Mr. John Shockey, Former Special Assistant,
U.S. Comptroller of the Currency, to the 4th International Financial
Fraud Convention in London, May 27, 1999:
"I'm going to provide some detail on a major international
fraud which has been perpetrated worldwide since 1990. Obviously,
the primary criminals involved have not yet been thwarted. Over
the years I have been responding to requests from the news media
for interviews about this international fraud. Public disclosure
which followed include articles in Forbes Magazine, London Times,
Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Jewish World, ICC Commercial
Crime Bureau and Australia TV. I have written warning alerts sent
to the financial community.
"What is this phenomenon? It is the Dominion of Melchizedek
(DOM), a fictitious country created by a father/son conspiracy
who are multi-convicted felons named David and Mark Pedley."
"The father, David Pedley and Mark, came to my attention
in the early 1980s at which time I was assisting the FBI in their
investigation of a land fraud. The result was an indictment and
trial in 1983 which convicted Mark Pedley. At that time, the father
was incarcerated in a Mexican jail relative to operating a scam
converting pesos into dollars through an offshore shell bank --
a form of money laundering."
"The son, Mark, after serving time on his conviction, again
was successfully prosecuted in 1986 on other fraud charges. Shortly
thereafter, the father reportedly died in the Mexican prison and
his body said shipped back to the U.S. No confirmation of the
death occurred and I, among many others, believe that he is still
alive, in the U.S., and is the architect of the DOM."
"The DOM is a fraud, a major fraud, and not a legitimate
sovereign entity. Persons associated with the Dominion of Melchizedek
have been indicted and convicted of a variety of crimes."
"In examining this scam keep in mind that deception is fraud.
The first deception is the creation of a phony sovereign country.
The first address was Malpelo, an uninhabited island under water
half the year, and owned by the country of Colombia. Public disclosure
of this fact caused a change of address to the Antarctica. Several
changes since have occurred with the most recent address an uninhabited
atoll owned by the Republic of the Marshall Islands."
"They are always looking for a remote landmass that nobody
will challenge their ownership of. Perhaps next they will claim
ownership to the lost continent of Atlantis."
"Melchizedek first came to my attention in June 1990, a
few months after Mark Pedley was paroled from a 1986 conviction.
Inquiries were received concerning bank names: Banco de Asia,
Guardian Savings & Guaranty and Express Bank among others.
Investigations that these entities had bank charters from the
DOM and obtained through an entity named Consortium Finance Corporation
headquartered in Lake Tahoe, California. Further investigation
disclosed a principal alternately named John Hayden and Branch
Vinedresser. Shortly thereafter the FBI took Branch Vinedresser
into custody and revealed that he was Mark Pedley, who then was
charged with violations of his parole."
"In a short time frame, other Melchizedek entities came
to light. Pedley created International Auditors, a purported firm
of chartered accountants which provided glowing financial reports
of other DOM entities. The Washington DC telephone book showed
a listing under Embassies for The Embassy of Melchizedek. Other
fraudsters came into the fold and promoted various scams under
the umbrella of DOM."
"Fraudulent operations disclosed included taking deposits,
issuing worthless guaranties and loan commitments, verifying and
authenticating values of other DOM entities which, among other
activities, was the issuance of hundreds of millions of dollars
of worthless debt instruments. Some of these instruments reportedly
were used as collateral to obtain real money loans and were exchanged
in several brokerage houses for real value securities."
"Promoting a phony sovereign country provides diversified
opportunities to engage in fraudulent activities. One's imagination
of the various types of fraud possible has become a reality with
DOM. A phony government consisting of fraudsters creates phony
citizenships, ambassadorships, embassy and legation offices, issues
diplomatic passports, registers financial aid, grants business
licenses, creates a stock exchange, etc., etc., etc. -- all phony.
However, each facet of this operation is a source which generates
substantial illegal income."
"Addresses used, including the fake 'Embassy' still situated
in Washington DC, are mail drops and answering services. Contact
with these addresses is passed immediately to Pedley, who is in
California. But this is not a covert scam. Pedley, who now calls
himself Tzemach Ben David Netzer Korem, makes himself available
to all seeking information about DOM. Also available is his 'cosmic
wife', a Philippine woman now named Pearlasia who happens to be
the current President of DOM. They have a website which (falsely)
describes in great detail DOM as a sovereign country with world-wide
tentacles. Although clothed in a facade of religious respectability,
proper due diligence can easily penetrate this veil."
"Victims revealed over the years are world-wide. Within
the last year, victims in the Phillippines were conned out of
in excess of $1 million on the scam by the DOM providing bogus
DOM citizenship papers, official DOM passports to travel out of
the country to pursue high-paid employment -- all phony. And then
there is the sublime: Among various documents there are DOM letters
advocating peace sent to Iraq (personally address to Saddam) and
to Kosovo. Yet another document cites DOM declaring War on France
for nuclear testing."
Melchizedek Founded by Convicts, According
to The Washington
Post, "The Ruse that Roared", 5
"Its founder, a Californian named Mark Logan
Pedley, has two swindling convictions.
"William Barrett of Forbes magazine exposed Melchizedek
in a January 1991 report titled 'Father of His Country,' which
tracked the global dealings of the elusive Branch Vinedresser,
also known as Mark Logan Pedley. Back then, 'ambassador' Vinedresser
claimed to own the island of Malpelo, 300 miles off the Pacific
coast of Colombia -- never mind that the island belongs to Colombia.
"After the Forbes report, Pedley landed in the hoosegow
in California for parole violations. He had been a codefendant
with his father, David, in a Mexican peso conversion swindle.
Pedley Sr. had a record of four convictions, including stock fraud.
"David Pedley is reported to have died in Mexico in 1987
-- but the body was never identified upon arrival in the United
States. The Pedley family refused to let FBI agents fingerprint
the corpse at the closed-casket ceremony. Some officials suspect
that body in the casket was not in fact David Pedley's -- and
that the elder man is still doing business somewhere."
© The Washington Post, 1995, All Rights Reserved.
Melchizedek's Claims to Legitimacy:
Melchizedek claims that it is a real nation, with real property,
and has been recognized by several major governments.
The Truth: Melchizedek has failed
to either name the "major governments" which allegedly
recognized it, or else specify just how this "recognition"
has come about. Melchizedek has apparently obtained some sort
of recognition from some smaller states (which may or may not
still exist as of the date of this writing), all of which are
notable for their corruption. Claims that the DoM has received
recognition from any major government are purely lies.
Melchizedek similarly notes that it has "acceded"
to various treaties. Please note that this is different than saying
that it is a party to these treaties -- "acceding"
in this sense means a unilateral act by Melchizedek. We could
"accede" to the Rules of the National Football League,
but that wouldn't mean we could play the Bears on Sunday or that
the NFL would recognize us.
As for property, Melchizedek claims certain islands
in the Pacific, but unfortunately there were either at or so close
to the nearby French nuclear weapons test site that Melchizedek
felt compelled to issue a Declaration of War directed to the French
government (although this is still a "cold war", no
doubt largely because the French have yet to hear about it, or
about Melchizedek for that matter). Oh, and there is the (unsubstantiated)
claim to a large portion of Antarctica.
The Washington Post addressed these claims, including
Melchizedek's claims to have a "Treaty" with the amorphous
"Ruthenian Peoples" in its excellent article: The
Washington Post, "The Ruse that Roared",
5 November 1995.
"The Ruthenians, being Ruthenian, were a bit difficult
to locate. Several hundred thousand of them -- now usually called
Carpatho-Rusyns -- are dispersed throughout Ukraine, Slovakia,
Poland, Yugoslavia and Hungary. Eventually we found an esteemed
expert: Prof. Paul Robert Magocsi, head of the Carpatho-Rusyn
Research Center in Vermont and representative to the World Congress
of Rusyns. 'In a word, it's silly,' Magocsi said of the supposed
alliance with Melchizedek.
"'It's all news to me,' said a spokesman for the State
Department's Office of the Geographer and Global Issues. He
proceeded to express considerable doubt about Melchizedek's
claims to any territory -- including Karitane island, which,
Korem says, lies some 1,200 miles southeast of New Caledonia
and was bought from the Kingdom of Polynesia.
"Make that the alleged Kingdom of Polynesia -- it does
not appear on any list of nations, independent states or dependencies.
'There's no such kingdom that would have any recognition by
anybody,' said the official.
"Obviously, Melchizedek craves legitimacy. But so far,
only one government has given it any diplomatic recognition:
The Central African Republic.
"Included in Melchizedek's eagerly-supplied kit of governmental
bona fides is a copy of a 1993 letter from the president of
the Central African Republic formally recognizing the Dominion
and inviting it to open a diplomatic mission there. You get
the feeling that the Central African Republic would recognize
the State of Denial if it had a letterhead."
© The Washington Post, 1995
Melchizedek's Claims Regarding its Banking
The "combined net asset value" of all Dominion of Melchizedek
banks exceeds US$25 billion dollars.
The Truth: Melchizedek provides
no proof for this claim, and it is fantastic and bizarre considering
that there are no (real) Melchizedek banks. Again, the Washington
Post: The Washington
Post, "The Ruse that Roared",
5 November 1995:
"Its president, a woman who goes by the names
Mz. Pearlasia and Elvira G. Gamboa, was successfully sued by
the California State Banking Department to prevent her from
representing herself as a banker there.
* * *
"Melchizedek says its several hundred banks
hold a 'net asset value' of $25 billion, yet President Pearlasia
remains in arrears to the state of California, having failed
to pay a court-imposed sanction of $1,431.90 for her 'bad-faith
actions' related to the lawsuit.
"From Canada to Mexico, London to Hong Kong, financial
entities and individuals connected to Melchizedek have drawn
the attention of banking and investment regulators.
"Officials say the Dominion was concocted to issue bogus
banking charters; [John Shockey, head of the fraud unit in the
office of the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency] routinely issues
warnings that U.S. banks should not process any checks or drafts
drawn on Melchizedek banks.
"In Hong Kong this summer, a judge sentenced a young Austrian
baker to six months in jail for attempting to cash checks totaling
$500,000, drawn on the Asia Pacific Bank of Melchizedek. The
baker called himself Crown Prince Gerald-Dennis Sayn-Wittgenstein-Hohenstein
and held a diplomatic passport as Melchizedek's 'ambassador
at large.' According to an account in the South China Morning
Post, the judge dismissed the idea that the whole thing was
a joke, saying, 'A fraud on the banking system of Hong Kong
is a very serious business.'"
© The Washington Post, 1995
Melchizedek's Claim Regarding Corporation
or Trust Formation:
For $1,000 you can form a Melchizedek corporation or trust.
The Truth: However, to do this
you must sign what amounts to a waiver which states: "The
applicant understands that the Dominion of Melchizedek can accept
no responsibility for the position of any foreign government in
regard to [Dominion of Melchizedek] documents." In other
words, even Melchizedek realizes that foreign governments will
not recognize their corporations or trusts. Enough said!
No U.S. court (state or federal) has ever
recognized any DoM trust, corporation, bank, judgment, or anything
else having to do with the DoM!
Despite bizarre claims, such as to have a treaty
with the "Ruthenian People", Melchizedek doesn't exist.
No major nation recognizes Melchizedek or can be
expected to do so in the near or even distant future. It is difficult
to imagine a more complete waste of time and money than to associate
with the Dominion of Melchizedek.
"It's a con artists' operation through and
through," declares John Shockey, head of the fraud unit in
the office of the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency. "It's
a phony bank, a phony country, a phony dominion -- the whole thing's
a phony." Washington Post: "The Ruse that Roared",
5 November 1995.
Offshore Alert, 30 June 1998:
"As alleged frauds go, it would be hard to conceive of anything
more audacious than creating your own phony country, promoting
it as a major offshore financial center and charging people for
bank and insurance licenses, IBCs, trusts and even bar qualifications.
And why not throw in an 'international stock exchange' with several
listings of fake companies with fake trading, all displayed on
an elaborate web-site? Yet that's exactly what the people behind
the Dominion of Melchizedek appear to have done, with some apparent
success, judging from the fact that the Office of the Comptroller
of the Currency in the US has had to go so far as to warn people
not to do business with any 'banks' claiming to be based in DOM,
as the 'country' is known, and has closed down DOM 'banks' operating
in the US, including at least one from an address on Wall Street."
"In Hong Kong this year, an Austrian baker who tried to
cash checks totaling $500,000 drawn on Asia Pacific Bank of Melchizedek
was jailed for six months for fraud. According to US press reports,
DOM was invented by convicted swindler Mark Logan Pedley of California,
who may have since faked his own death. Anyone wishing to see
the amount of work gone into creating the Melchizedek illusion
should visit www.melchizedek.com,
which is a website registered to David Korem of Foster City, California."
-- Offshore Alert,
30 June 1998 Edition, at p. 9.
- and -
Forbes, Father of His
Country. (Branch Vinedresser), 7 January 1991
Texas Department of Insurance Warning at http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/commish/nr0919.html
Commissioner Stops Illegal Bond Business
September 19, 1996
Insurance Commissioner Elton Bomer has issued a cease-and-desist
order halting an unlicensed Houston guaranty bond operation headed
by a man claiming to be ex-president of the fictitious Dominion
"Investigators for the Texas Department of Insurance's Fraud
Unit have been unable to locate any legitimate country under the
title Dominion of Melchizedek," Bomer said. "Besides
shutting down this operation, TDI is turning over all information
on the case to the proper legal authorities."
The order targets Leon Excalibur Hooten III, Lifeguard Reinsurance
Ltd., Lifeguard BanCorp Ltd. and Hooten Enterprises. The parties
all operated out of 5870 Highway 6, Suite 209, Houston. Lifeguard
Reinsurance is registered as an insurer in New Zealand, but none
of the parties is licensed to sell insurance in Texas.
Bomer's action was recommended by a State Office of Administrative
Hearings administrative law judge who held a hearing in the case.
Neither Hooten nor attorneys representing him or his companies
appeared for that hearing.
Bomer's order listed various payments or invoices for bid bonds
and payment and performance bonds sold by the Houston operation
to companies in Arizona, North Carolina, Ohio, California, Georgia
and Florida. TDI's Fraud Unit estimated the operation collected
more than $145,000 in premiums for bonds with a total liability
of more than $10 million.
One Tempe, Ariz., company paid Lifeguard Bancorp at least $25,070
for bid bonds and payment and performance bonds.
Various types of guaranty bonds are considered insurance subject
to Texas Department of Insurance regulation. Bomer's order alleges
the unauthorized sale of insurance and misrepresentation of Lifeguard
Misrepresentations of Lifeguard Re's financial condition included
an alleged $15 million certificate of deposit from Asia Pacific
Bank and $20 million in bonds allegedly issued by St. Charles
University of DeQuincy, La.
According to the order: 1) Asia Pacific is not chartered by any
recognized authority, apparently has no assets and has been enjoined
from transacting business under any name or title using the word
"bank." 2) St. Charles University was founded by Hooten
and has no assets.
The Department's action was supported by affidavits from federal
government officials, including John Shockey, head of the fraud
unit of the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency. They stated there
is no sovereign country, nation or state named the Dominion of
Melchizedek (pronounced mil-KIZ-uh-dek).
In an article run November 5, 1995, the Washington Post cited
the Dominion of Melchizedek as a nonexistent country used as a
name by various questionable operations. In the article, Shockey
called Melchizedek "a phony country, a phony dominion- the
whole thing's a phony."
For further information call the Texas Department of Insurance
Public Information Office at (512) 463-6425 or send a note to
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 16368 / November 23, 1999
Securities and Exchange Commission v. World Financial &
Investment Co., Inc. and Victor M. Wilson, U.S. District Court,
E.D.N.Y., No. 99-CIV-7608 (ILG)
The Securities and Exchange Commission today filed fraud charges
against a Brooklyn lawyer and his investment advisory firm, for
their role in a Ponzi Scheme conducted through a supposed bank
chartered by the non-existent "Dominion of Melchizedek."
Named in the Commission's Complaint filed in the U.S. District
Court for the Eastern District of New York are:
Victor M. Wilson, age 47, of Brooklyn, New York; and
World Financial & Investment Co., Inc. ("World Financial"),
an investment advisory firm wholly-owned by Wilson that operated
from Wilson's Brooklyn law office.
The Complaint alleges as follows:
Acting directly and through "sub-agents" on the Caribbean
island of Dominica, Wilson raised approximately $1.2 million from
hundreds of investors in the United States and Dominica from March
1997 through April 1998. The money was invested in a so-called
"60-40 program" promoted by Credit Bank International
Co. ("Credit Bank") and its founder, Roger E. Rosemont.
Credit Bank is purportedly chartered in Melchizedek, and Rosemont
claimed he was Melchizedek's "ambassador at large" to
the Caribbean. In truth, the 60-40 program was a Ponzi scheme,
Credit Bank is not a bank, Melchizedek is not a country, and Rosemont
is no ambassador.
Wilson received approximately $175,000 in fees for his role in
the scheme. He played a central role by soliciting U.S. investors
and channeling funds to bank accounts controlled by Rosemont.
Wilson told investors that they would obtain returns in excess
of 300% to be disbursed over a period of several months. The astronomical
returns would purportedly result from profits Rosemont would generate
by pooling and reinvesting funds in unspecified financial instruments.
The relatively small number of investors who entered the scheme
in its early stages obtained tremendous returns, including Wilson
himself, who reaped $23,800 in profits from his early investment
of $4,166. Most investors, however, received no disbursements
and lost all the money they invested.
Wilson promoted the scheme despite receiving strong signals indicating
that it was a fraud:
Rosemont told Wilson that he had been arrested on fraud charges
in France, where the authorities had frozen his bank accounts;
Rosemont told Wilson that he had been "thrown out of"
St. Lucia, an island near Dominica where Rosemont had been
promoting the 60-40 program;
A government official in Dominica warned Wilson that Rosemont
had a reputation as a "bandit" or "rascal;"
Rosemont refused to provide Wilson with information regarding
his or Credit Bank's finances, and Wilson never determined
how Rosemont was using the invested funds or generating the
supposedly astronomical returns;
In August 1997, Dominica's Minister of Finance publicly warned
that the 60-40 program was "a pyramid scheme where the
people at the beginning make fantastic returns and the last
of the people lose all their money."
Wilson also knew, or recklessly disregarded, that there is no
such country as Melchizedek. Before entering into the scheme,
Wilson tried unsuccessfully to locate the nation of Melchizedek
on a map and in an encyclopedia. He knew from an associate of
Rosemont that Melchizedek existed only as an Internet site, www.melchizedek.com.
Indeed, since 1991, numerous press reports have identified Melchizedek
as a base for fraudulent schemes involving purported bank charters
and other bogus corporate documents. There is no recognized governmental
authority that actually charters banks in the name of Melchizedek.
Wilson, a U.S. citizen, was born and raised in Dominica. In addition
to the many residents of Dominica solicited by Wilson's sub-agents,
most of the U.S. investors recruited by Wilson were immigrants
from Dominica and other Caribbean islands. With many victims drawn
from the same ethnic group, this case is another in a series of
"affinity fraud" enforcement actions brought by the
Commission. See the Commission's recent investor alert, www.sec.gov/consumer/affinity.htm,
which explains how to avoid becoming a victim of an affinity fraud.
The Complaint charges Wilson and World Financial with violations
of Sections 5(a), 5(c), and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933,
Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule
10b-5 thereunder. The Commission seeks permanent injunctions,
disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus prejudgment interest, and
civil penalties against both defendants.
Last update: 11/24/1999
Who To Contact
If you are approached by an alleged "official"
of the Dominion of Melchizedek, you might consider giving those
kind folks at your local office of the Federal Bureau of Investigations
a call just to let them know that the "official" is
Oh, and if offered be sure to pass on that trip
at War with the Fictitious 'Dominion of Melchizedek'
-- Lengthy expose of the phony dominion, its criminal background,
and recent criminal activity -- http://www.geocities.com/partizansofinternet/antimelchizedeken.html
London Financial Times: "Action Taken
on Pyramid Scheme", 8 August 1995.
Time of London: "Plot Thickens in Phony
Bank Scheme", 8 August 1993.
Orange Country Register: "Insurer Chartered
by Phony Country", February 2, 1993.
Washington Business Journal: "District
Probes Off-Shore Companies for Fraud", 25 February
Forbes: "Father of His Country",
Washington Post: "The Ruse that Roared",
5 November 1995, page C-01.
Boston Globe1/28/86: " International Bank, Founders indicted
on Charges of Fraud"
Boston Globe 8/30/86: " Lawyer and CA man received prison
sentences and offshore bank fined yesterday.
Forbes, April 16, 1990 page 46 "Like father, like son"
Forbes, October 28, 1991 page 108 "King of the seven
seas" by William P. Barrett (not online)
Forbes, December 9, 1991 page 114 "Dream time's over"
by William P. Barrett (not online)
for "Citizens of No Country (Part 1)" mentions Richard
"Citizens of No Country (Part 3)" mentions Ben Richard
Phoenix Newtimes, Article
3/21/96 "The Pro Con Man"
The Dallas Morning News, Archives, search for "Melchizedek":
- 4/10/96 "Insurance salesman confesses in fraud case"
by Bill Lodge.
- 7/27/96 "Authorities are tracking scam artist"
- 9/21/96 "Houston man reportedly says he led phony
- 4/10/97 "18 months added to man's sentence" by
Far Eastern Economic Review, 12/10/98 "Crime: Fantasy
Island: Melchizedek passport scam reveals how the Internet can
take fraud to new frontiers" by Bertil Lintner in Bangkok
Scam Alert, http://www.wealthoffshore.com/scamarticles.html
- "Highly Questionable Bank Licenses For Sale"
- "The Dominion of Melchizedek"
- "Antiguan Bank with Links to Melchizedek Fighting
to Stay Alive"
- FDIC and bank warnings and alerts:
Have a question for Quatloos?
Open forum where offshore scams and offshore scammers can be freely
discussed. Includes offshore investment and tax fraud and the latest
goings-on in the Dominion of Melchizedek, Principality
of New Utopia, Kingdom of Enen-Kio, the OITC, and other fake nations
and world agencies
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