We hear a lot about Joel. It’s no wonder, given that he seemed to be the face of the scam. An outsider might even walk away from this whole thing thinking that Joel somehow convinced poor little Ed to get in on this scheme. But Ed’s no saint. While I can only dig so far into the past, what I have found isn’t all squeaky clean.
As you know, Ed’s been a CPA for a great many years. And if you hold yourself out to be a certified public accountant, there is a code of ethics by which you must abide. Ed engaged in various conflicts of interest throughout his career. Behold!
Eddie would have an occasional land & stock deal that he would mention and would ask if I wished to participate. Sometimes I did. He never coerced me to do any. I either made money or eventually broke even on every entity.
First of all, the oil and gas lease scam happened in the early ’80s. Secondly, it doesn’t matter if he ever coerced a client. Either:
- He was in business with Joel at Prudential Petroleum, the people running those deals or
- He was a client of Prudential Petroleum and hocked those investments to his own clients
Keep in mind that I can’t prove that Ed was running Prudential, although I don’t doubt that he was. In any event, in the first case, there is a very clear conflict of interest because Ed cannot both represent his client’s best interests and his own. In the second case, he cannot both represent Joel’s interests and his client’s at the same time.
One day I got a call from my (now) partner in this business. He’s a CPA and had always done my taxes. I’ve known him for years. He said there was a fellow in his office that was getting into the ATM business and he wanted to meet me because I had insurance customers that owned property, and he wanted to put his ATMs on those various properties.
Joel claims that this happened in 1995. Pretend for a moment that Joel is not Joel, but a normal human being. It sounds like Ed is connecting two people in a financial transaction. If he was a waiter or something, whatever. But he’s not a waiter: he’s a CPA. He is supposed to be representing his client and their best interests. His education and extensive history in finance also allow for his recommendations to hold more weight than your hairdresser’s. It was wrong for him to bring an investment opportunity to a client.
Joel mentions later that both he and Ed ended up losing $6,000 in the deal. Ed convinced a client to invest in a deal that he was also involved in. How fishy does that smell?
It was offered to me as an investment at the very beginning………and I know it has had bad consequences on a number of people. I analyzed the proposal, it didn’t make economic sense to me, so I passed and it was never mentioned again.
The guy Ed approached is a principal in an investor relations firm, a firm I will not name here. I don’t mind smearing the living crap out of clear scams, but I don’t believe in damaging an otherwise legitimate company’s reputation. This person is another client of Ed’s. Ed, once again cannot represent his own interests, Joel’s, NASI’s and his client’s at the same time.
That’s not where it ends. The other principal of the company opened two businesses in Nevada with Ed in 1997. I looked in my usual haunts as well as some others and found nothing else about these businesses. They may have never gotten off the ground. But the fact that he does this person’s taxes and the other business partner’s taxes does not seem okay at all to me.
In early 2009, Edward Wishner (“Wishner”), my accountant at the time, set up an investment meeting with me and his partner Joel Gillis (“Gillis”).
So, again with this noise.
Ed’s been making ethics violations since the early 80’s – over 30 years. He’s not some pinnacle of professionalism. He’s a dude that likes to weave together business interests like some wicker basket of financial doom. Not to mention personal with business. When his daughter needed work, he approached a client and asked if he could “use a court reporter.”
That question seems innocent enough but it’s quite effective at making it harder for the target to back out without hurting feelings. And people who tie their business and personal relationships together are usually unable to separate the two when needed. This results in someone being personally offended by a business decision.
I’ve seen it happen loads of times. You drop your CPA, who you have drinks with every Friday, because he screwed up your returns with a level of incompetence unheard of before and suddenly he’s not returning your calls anymore. Or maybe you don’t return his. My point is that it’s easy to get mixed up. And the more you do it, the harder it is to separate things.
If the guy didn’t need a court reporter, there would be no damage to the relationship. But saying he needed one, but didn’t want Ed’s daughter to be that person would have been an affront. There’s only one way to wiggle out of that: “I don’t feel comfortable mingling multiple business interests together like that.” And it only works about half the time with worse odds for people who are already co-mingling.