American Greed: Season 2

Conned in the Carribean Evidence Files


Conman Van Brink

Van Brink (a.k.a. Gilbert Ziegler) purchased a bank license for First International Bank of Grenada (FIBG) in 1997 for $50,000. It was the beginning of one of the biggest offshore banking scams in recent history. (Source: Paul Collin, Unwanted Publicity/Offshore Informant)

First Intl Bank of Grenada

FIBG’s shell offices were headquartered in the small town of St. George’s. Before its shut down by the Grenadian government in the summer of 2000, the fake bank took in $170 million from thousands of investors in the U.S. (Source: United States Attorney’s Office, District of Oregon)

Int’l Deposit Insurance Corporation

FIBG told investors that their money was 100% guaranteed by the phony IDIC (International Deposit Insurance Corporation). The IDIC’s offices were run out of a ramshackle building on the Caribbean island of Nevis. (Source: United States Attorney’s Office, District of Oregon)

The Ruby

Van Brink told Grenadian authorities that FIBG would be backed by $26 billion in assets, including this four-pound ruby valued at $20 million dollars. In actuality, the ruby was owned by a California man who had never heard of Brink or his bank. (Source: United States Attorney’s Office, District of Oregon)

The Victims

Phyllis and Jim Miller invested more than $80,000 in FIBG. Later, they visited the bank’s headquarters in Grenada. The Millers received five interest checks before the bank’s Ponzi scam began to fall apart. (Source: Phyllis Miller)

The Prosecutor

Prosecutor Claire M. Faye said Van Brink used FIBG “as his own piggybank”. Brink and his cohorts squandered investors’ money on items such as expensive homes, luxury vacations, high-end cars, and a 35-foot yacht named “Offshore Funs”. (Source: Kurtis Productions)

IRS Investigation

IRS agents James Daniels and Jill Webb began an investigation and discovered FIBG was a scam. Van Brink told investors his bank made extraordinary profits, which he passed onto investors. But, Brink simply used investor money to pay out interest payments and pocketed the rest. (Source: Kurtis Productions)

Van Brink

Van Brink was charged with money laundering and bank fraud in May 2004. He died in December 2005 from a heart attack while awaiting trial. (Source: United States Attorney’s Office, District of Oregon)