A Kelowna resident has been found guilty of scamming a California businessman out of more than $2 million.
Dan Keith Andersen, owner of Danimal Productions Inc., has been charged with fraud and theft after taking $2,096,600 from Bart Woytowicz, a former director of advertising, sales and operations for Google.
In July 2010, Andersen had expressed interest in buying Woytowicz’s US$4.2 million stake in Parallax, a 3D video company, saying he was planning to start a 3D video company in Kelowna. Andersen told Woytowicz he was selling some patents to a Spanish Company, Rubix Project Management, and was expecting to receive US$200 million from the sale. He said would use a portion of the proceeds to buy out Woytowicz’s share in Parallax.
Andersen told Woytowicz he needed money in Danimal’s bank account to show the Spanish company that Danimal had “financial substance.” According to the judgement, Woytowicz was eager to unload his investment in Parallax, and he accepted this explanation.
In August 2010, Woytowicz agreed to deposit US$2 million in Danimal’s bank account, with the full amount to be returned, untouched, September 30, 2010. One of the stipulations of the agreement was that Woytowicz’s friend, Joe Waskiwicz, would be the sole signatory on the account.
Woytowicz and Andersen signed an agreement August 6 and went with Waskiwicz to the HSBC at Orchard Park Shopping Centre in Kelowna to set up Waskiwicz as the only signatory on the account. Woytowicz said he was of the belief that the details were finalized and he returned to California.
According to the judgement, there was confusion at the bank, and the HSBC employee said the change to the account was not finalized at that time; on August 10, Andersen returned to the bank and removed Waskiwicz as signatory and added himself.
When the $2 million was transferred to the account on August 16, Andersen did not leave the money untouched per the terms of the agreement; instead, he immediately transferred the full amount to Rubix.
The money “disappeared” at that point, according to the judgement, and remains unreturned.
In his defence, Andersen said he was not of the understanding the money was to remain untouched in the account. He claims Woytowicz approved of moving the money to Rubix.
The judge did not accept Andersen’s claims.
Andersen has yet to be sentenced. He is scheduled to appear in court later this month.