There was not terribly much doubt that the pair of veteran penny-stock impressarios Michael Metter and Steven Moscowitz were in some profound trouble when prosecutors from the Eastern District of New York indicted the pair for staging a financial parody at investor expense.
SpongeTech, the soap-infused sponge company they founded, built into a sports-advertising colossus and, in short order, turned into a share issuance machine to compensate for an utter collapse of their purported business model, was investigated in-depth here.
Dicon Technologies LLC, a company that SpongeTech managed to acquire and run into the ground in about one year’s time, was put into bankruptcy in June. As part of that, its schedule of assets and liabilities (which contains line item details of cash outflows) suggests that one of the two at least got something more out of fleecing their investors than money. On April 22 and then again on April 23, two charges were made using a Dicon-issued debit card for $609.55 and $606.14, respectively, to a Zurich-based escort service. An escort service, in Europe and around the globe, is a front for prostitution.
Though it is not certain which of the pair was in Zurich and using the debit card at this point there are some important hints. While both Metter and Moscowitz are practicing Jews–Metter once sharply upbraided me for attempting to contact him during the Yom Kippur holidays last year–Moscowitz is said to make strenuous attempts to keep Kosher and makes considerable effort to maintain ties with New York’s Orthodox Jewish community, many of whom held a significant amount of SpongeTech stock. The card was used repeatedly in Zurich’s Baranes Grill, a luxe Kosher restaurant during the same dates the escort service was contracted for.
It’s not entirely clear what sort of escort was provided. On the line item, the name given as having received payment for Ladama Escort is Daniele Raspa; on another it is Daniel Raspa. In either case, most escorts do not handle the financial aspects of the transaction.
Translating the website’s German text (with some help from Google Translator and my German-American dictionary from Grad School) makes clear that Ladama’s clientele is clearly heterosexual and appear to be constrained only by their client base’s imagination.
“Super horny girls are looking forward to meeting you….Looking for a sexy companion for a fancy party, a dinner or the absolute thrilling adventure of your sexual performance.”
Later in the copy, it promises “Unforgettable moments” and the “Absolute Kick.”
Of course, the escort service was not the only screwing around going on. The cash transfers out of Dicon from SpongeTech amounted to about $899,000 in under one year, taking a real, if troubled, company with real revenues, employees and the backing of the state of Georgia’s economic development fund. Nor is their any doubt, given the velocity of transfers to professional sports franchises for unpaid advertising bills and SpongeTech’s corporate checking account–likely for payroll and other purposes– that Dicon, in tiny, rural Black Creek, Georgia was keeping SpongeTech’s game afloat.
For SpongeTech afficianado’s, April 23, one of the dates that the escort service was used, should seem familiar. That was also the date that the company sued several reporters and critics for a host of now entirely preposterous charges centering around defamation and conspiracy (I am referenced in the suit, but not named.)
Metter and Moscowitz could not be reached for comment.