Market Overview

Skingenix Inc. Announces International Fraud Suit Against Gowling WLG And Toronto Managing Partner Mark Ledwell


IRVINE, Calif., Aug. 5, 2020 /CNW/ -- Renowned international law firm Gowling WLG ("Gowling"), and the Office Managing Partner of its Toronto headquarters, Mark Ledwell ("Ledwell"), have been named as defendants in another lawsuit relating to an international fraud.  Ledwell formerly also served as the Managing Partner of Gowling's London office and as Chair of its Financial Institutions & Services Group.

The suit, Skingenix, Inc., Win Lasting Investment Limited and Grace Success Ltd. v. Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP and Mark Ledwell, Case No. CV-20-00644990-0000 (Sup. Ct. Ontario), was filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice by plaintiff Skingenix, Inc., a California based life sciences company, and alleges that Gowling and Ledwell actively participated in a sophisticated, serial cross-border fraud. The fraud involved the use of Gowling's reputation and trust accounts to induce United States victims to wire significant deposits of funds to collateralize loans from a Gowling client, a now-defunct entity and co-conspirator domiciled in the United Kingdom called Colubris Ventures Limited ("Colubris"), which ultimately was controlled by a resident of North Carolina named Brian Lillie ("Lillie"). 

Funds deposited by victims into the Gowling trust account, which were supposed to have been used as collateral against a default on any loan advances, were almost immediately wired out of the Gowling trust account into various offshore accounts as directed by Colubris and Lillie.  Ledwell provided Gowling engagement terms permitting almost instantaneous retransmission of significant sums of funds into and out of Gowling trust accounts. Skingenix and other victims were lulled into a sense of security by Gowling's reputation and with loan advances that stopped after advances were made in the first months of each loan.  According to its Statement of Claim, Skingenix alone arranged to wire US$5MM to a Gowling trust account in Toronto.

In addition, the Skingenix Statement of Claim cited evidence of several other claims or complaints alleging the same or very similar fraudulent acts involving Gowling, Ledwell, Colubris, Lillie and various co-conspirators.  Skingenix filed suit in California in 2019 (Skingenix, Inc., Win Lasting Investment Limited and Grace Success Ltd., v. First Fidelity Reliance Corporation, Inc., et al., Case No. 30-2019-01065686 (Sup. Ct. Cal. Cty. of Orange), naming the US based defendants.  One of the other victims, Pacific Sunshine Development, LLC of Santa Cruz, California, also filed litigation against the various defendants in California (Pacific Sunshine Development, LLC v. First Fidelity Reliance Corporation, Inc., et al., Case No. 17CV01895 (Sup. Ct. Cal. Cty. of Santa Cruz) and in Canada (Pacific Sunshine Development LLC v. Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP, Case No. CV-18-598058.)  All Skingenix and Pacific Sunshine litigation against Gowling and Ledwell are currently pending. 

Skingenix is represented by Lee Cheng, David Williams and Quincy Chuck of the Irvine office of Maschoff Brennan in the US action, and Edward Babin and Brendan Monahan of the Toronto law firm Babin Bessner Spry LLP in the Canadian action.


Lee Cheng
Maschoff Brennan
Phone: (949) 202-1901

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SOURCE Skingenix, Inc.

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