FTC Launches Civil Action Against The Reserve

(Updated November 14, 2018)

I’ve always pledged to live transparently and authentically, which means I must report all news, good and bad. Today I have bad news.

I’m disappointed to reveal what I’ve learned about legal troubles involving The Reserve and Sanctuary Belize. On November 7, 2018, The Federal Trade Commission launched an action against several leaders of the development team. I’m sad to say that one of those individuals is a friend of mine, Andris Pukke.

I met Andris Pukke while I was concluding my 26-year journey in the federal prison system. Andris is the primary target of the FTC investigation, and he faces serious legal challenges. For official details on the allegations, visit the FTC website by clicking the link below:

I’ve written extensively about my story and how I became involved as an investor with members of the leadership team at The Reserve. The entire experience is well-documented on my website, in my various books. I’ve published numerous videos to highlight my travels to Belize and Costa Rica.

While Andris and I were in federal prison, he told me about his challenges with the government—those challenges related to his role as the founder of AmeriDebt. Andris was grateful that all of his problems with the law were behind him. I’m sorry to see this FTC Action, which confirms that he is now deluged by a storm of new challenges.

I’ve spoken with more than 100 people who were very happy with their investment at The Reserve. Some of those people purchased multiple lots, returned several times, and had nothing but great things to say about their experience. Two of those people joined me to invest in a new development project in Costa Rica. But the FTC says that there are a thousand owners in Belize and I did not speak with all of them. I wish everyone affected by this case the best possible outcome.

In 2018, I visited The Reserve for the first time. The development made a huge impression on me and I wanted to begin investing. I spoke with Andris and the development team about my vision of investing at The Reserve. When they heard my plan, they suggested I would be better off investing in a new development they planned for Costa Rica.

I traveled to Costa Rica to visit the proposed property. I read the financial prospectus. I interacted with other sophisticated investors who were also considering an investment in the project. I raised capital through conventional and unconventional financing sources—always being truthful about my background and the reasons why I wanted to invest. I never ask anyone to do anything that I’m not doing. Those efforts allowed me to become a ground-floor investor in the anticipated Costa Rica project. I was instrumental in bringing a total of $3.35 million in capital to launch the Costa Rica venture, which included my personal investment of $1.4 million.

News of the November 7 action by the FTC saddens me. Allegations in that complaint differ from what I saw at The Reserve. I  spoke with more than 100 people who own property at The Reserve. They left me with the impression that The Reserve was a solid investment. Clearly, the FTC has a different theory, likely based on information that I did not have.

Fortunately for all investors in the Costa Rica project, we learned about the FTC action before the purchase of the Costa Rica property. Obviously, legal challenges faced by the team at The Reserve prohibit a new development in Costa Rica.

In response to the FTC action, all investors made an immediate demand for the return of our capital. Unfortunately, the developers did not respond to our request. We hired legal representation to take action on behalf of our investment group.

Through my role as an investor in Costa Rica, I also intended to become an investor at The Reserve, which I have been documenting on my website for several months. As a result of the FTC Action against Andris and others, I  no longer have any involvement—other than trying to get investor funds back from the planned Costa Rica venture.

Despite extensive due diligence that I did on The Reserve and the development team’s ability to execute a plan, I did not anticipate that they would face legal problems from authorities. After watching the FTC press release, I severed my association with the development team.

I’ve written an extensive narrative to document the entire episode. Until the legal action regarding the return of my capital concludes, however, my attorneys advise me not to publish those details. But I am going on record to state that I no longer have any business dealings with The Reserve. Further, I no longer have any role with regard to investment opportunities in Belize, Costa Rica, or with the development team.

I will publish my summary on the FTC website and on this website as soon as my attorney authorizes me to do so. For now, I’m devoting attention to securing a full return of the capital we invested to launch the venture in Costa Rica.

I’ll continue to document updates as I work to build the next phase of my career.