Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Leo Wanta Update: Who is Michael C. Cottrell, MS?

In my last post on the strange story of Leo Wanta, I mentioned one of his co-conspirators, a man named Michael C. Cottrell, who is represented as some sort of financial expert, who is treasurer of Wanta's corporation AmeriTrade Group. Apparently, in search of a $4.5 trillion fortune, Wanta decided to gather the best finance minds in the world to aid him, but rather than obtaining investment bankers from New York, London, or San Francisco, he went to the fianance Mecca of Erie, Pennsylvania, where Cottrell runs a small investment firm named Pennsylvania Investments. His resume is available online here. I looked it up on Hoover's, and apparently it is a real firm, run out of his house, with a total of 3 employees and $300,000 a year in sales. Which would make him a rather low paid investment banker.

After listening to an interview with Cottrell on Greg Szymanski's radio show I finally figured the connection out. Cottrell claims that he found out about Wanta's money while writing his master's thesis in Administration of Justice at Mercyhurst College, a small university in Erie. Cottrell is quite proud of his thesis, titled "Elite Power & Capital Markets", and mentions it often. The letters "MS" also follow his name on just about every mention on-line, like some type of professional designation. One of the conspiracy websites even gives this hilarious endorsement:

That Bush Sr. was 'out of the loop' in respect of Wanta's operations has been specifically reconfirmed by Michael C. Cottrell, M.S., the Executive Vice President and Treasurer of AmeriTrust Groupe, Inc. on page 74 of his classic study 'Elite Power and Capital Markets',13th February 2002, Administration of Justice Department, Mercyhurst College, citing Peter Kornbluh and Malcolm Byrne, 'The Iran-Contra Scandal: The Declassified History', The New Press, New York, 1993, page 410.

I am not sure how a master's thesis written four years ago at an obscure university quite counts as "classic"...

Anyway, now Cottrell is the treasurer of AmeriTrade Group, which according to the Virginia State Corporation Commission was actually incorporated for a filing fee of $50 on May 20th, 2004 with 5,000 shares. Their office is given as that of Stephen D. Goodwin, also listed as a Vice President, who is a lawyer in Richmond. I think they need to do a better job of maintaining the corporation, as they owe $110 in fees and penalties, which as far as I can tell was for being 3 months late filing their annual report.

In the Szymanski interview Cottrell seems to be rather taken by Wanta, and honestly believes he has all this money. He is rather on the paranoid side though. He believes the NSA is intercepting his e-mails and used that to steal a $300 billion deal he had going with DeutscheBank. How a $300,000 a year firm gets that kind of deal, is beyond me.

A similiar story popped up on-line.

US intelligence operatives admitted on 6th December that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been systematically attacking and shutting down the computers
of Ambassador Leo Wanta and Michael C. Cottrell, M.S.. In fact the Editor is aware that the NSA has been attacking Mr Cottrell’s computers non-stop since April, this year, if not much earlier. The way this is done, and the use of NSA computer-targeting ops to steal business, are described in the recently published double issue of International Currency Review, which has exposed a great deal of the illegal activity which is now on its last legs. It’s too bad these criminals didn’t clean up their act sooner.

Cottrell, although he does actually appear to have an investment background of some type, still seems to have little idea of what he is talking about. When asked by Szymanski how Wanta's money was able to go from a few billion to $70 trillion in a little over a decade, Cottrell replied that "Interest rates were high in the late 70s and 80s, as much as 14%." Interest rates were in fact, not that high anytime after the mid-80s, and even if he had managed to get this rate, anyone with the most basic understanding of finance would realize it does not compound this quickly. For instance if he started in 1991, even at the extremely high compounding rate of 14%, in order to have $70 trillion in 2006 he still would have had to start with the ridiculous sum of $9.8 trillion, which in 1991 was far more than the US GDP.

I still am not sure what type of scam they are up to, but I will keep my eyes open.