Wild, Wild West

Once convicted of fraud and in debt to the IRS for a cool million, Steven West is some kind of businessman

Egitto didn't receive an answer to his question. Butterworth never responded. Harris replied February 28 to say that Egitto's letter had been forwarded to the Florida Department of Banking and Finance, which then sent the former West controller a letter March 7 saying he'd be better off contacting the IRS, FBI, or Broward Sheriff's Office. Egitto says that when he met with IRS, FBI, and BSO investigators, they seemed eager to pursue the matter. But as weeks passed and Egitto's calls to the three agencies went unreturned, he gave up the cause. Contacted by New Times, representatives from the three agencies would neither confirm nor deny that an investigation of West was ongoing.

Egitto still believes his black notebook holds information that could be useful in building a case against West. "He takes peoples' money and never delivers what they pay him for," his letters to Butterworth and Harris read. "I am aware of many witnesses willing to step forward to testify how West has 'ripped them off.'"

Indeed, more than 30 names are listed in Egitto's notebook, with phone numbers and brief descriptions. Many are business owners who, Egitto alleges, feel burned by West. Among those listed are Grant Golden, Dave McSherry, Chris Antonelli, and Leon LaPoint.

Jordin Isip
Jordin Isip

Golden is the second-generation owner of Nedlog, a 72-year-old manufacturer of frozen fruit-juice concentrate in Chicago. He claims he hired West to find a buyer for his company and paid him $5500. "He never did anything to sell my business," Golden claims. "I never saw anything for the money I gave him. I have no reservations about speaking out publicly against him. I want people to know what he is."

Until his company filed for bankruptcy in 2001, McSherry owned Michigan Products Inc. (MPI), a $12 million business that made and distributed educational materials. McSherry says he first hired West to find a buyer for MPI. Then, after West joined the company as a partner, McSherry alleges that the consultant stood by as the company slipped into bankruptcy. "They were going to shut off the lights, the power, and the water," McSherry recalls. "He kept all the money for himself, and we were spending all of our time just trying to stay afloat and keep the lights on."

Antonelli tells a similar tale. The owner of Antonelli Plating in Providence, Rhode Island, complains that working with West left him $200,000 in debt. "He wanted us to buy ten more plating companies legitimately," Antonelli says. "It would have worked too, but then he got greedy. He's a sly fox, a self-appointed dictator. He could sell a screen door to a submarine."

In New Jersey, LaPoint spent eight years building a $1 million-a-year limousine rental company, Car & Chauffeur. LaPoint first met with West in the early 1990s, just after West's fraud conviction. Nine years later, he says, West persuaded him to merge Car & Chauffeur with several other limousine companies. LaPoint believed West to be the CEO of a major international corporation, West Worldwide Industries. But eight months later, the illusion was shattered. "West Worldwide was really just Steve West working with one secretary," LaPoint says. "But he always flew first class everywhere. He always rode in limousines or chauffeured cars. He lived the high life all on the backs of other people."

LaPoint's Car & Chauffeur was rolled into a new company called Limousine Corporation of America (LCA), and LaPoint joined the board of directors. But in March 2001, West sued LaPoint and several other board members. West's claim: They blocked him from attending an LCA board meeting. Their claim: He's not an LCA director.

Greg DiLodovico, former owner of another limousine company folded into LCA, gave a deposition in the case. Under oath, DiLodovico said this: "In fact Watstein/West's modus operandi is to operate through the bogus companies to steal from honest businesses....Watstein/West then used LCA's accounts for his personal business, transferring money out of LCA's accounts to fund his other schemes."

DiLodovico's deposition is just one of the documents in Egitto's notebook. It also includes copies of West's correspondence with and notarized affidavits of LaPoint, Richard Weiss, and Bruce Seitz. Each of the three contend in writing that West signed their names without their knowledge or permission.

And there's a letter to Katherine Harris in the notebook penned the same day as Egitto's missive to the then-secretary of state. It's by Sandi Marchetti, who worked as West's administrative assistant for two years, quitting in February 2001. "Mr. West is one of those that has gone unpunished for his mistreatment of funds, corporations, and especially people," the letter reads. "He, of course, is still out there on the streets rubbing his dirty little hands together in anticipation of the next coffin he will fill with an innocent, desperate, business owner."

In her letter, Marchetti accuses West of forgery, misappropriation of funds, noncompliance with labor laws, and income-tax evasion. She provides no detail to back up these claims.

In a faxed letter to New Times, West questioned both Egitto's and Marchetti's credibility. He alleged that Egitto is "irrational, vindictive, [and] dangerous." He also questioned Marchetti, asserting that she has been irresponsible. Both, he wrote, have shown "lack of judgment, honor, and integrity."

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Steven Samuel Watstein (aka Steven West, aka Marc DeCarlo, aka David Longmire, aka Bradley Stevenson, aka James London) allegedly appears to be a convicted felon of Broward County Florida operating various entities (Salespeople Are Us salespeopleareus.com, Wall Street Executive Group, Wall Street Advisory Associates WallStreetAdvisorAssociates.com, Wall Street Equity and Acquisitions Group wseag.com, Indiana Sanchez Skin Products, IS Proof Foundation isfoun.org, West Investment Banking, West Telemarketing Industries, etc etc) and is currently operating out of the McNab Executive Plaza at 1000 West McNab Road, Pompano Beach, Florida 33069 and in the past 405 North Avenue of the Arts Suite 104 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311. Phone numbers are many but include 954-934-0800 and Cell 954-448-5500. Here is an example RipOff report on some of his alleged scams: