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's face reddens as he flips through the hundreds of loose-leaf pages, the tone of his voice changing as he explains the contents. "He preys on people when their companies are on rough times," Egitto says. "He invests a little money in the company, assumes the role of consultant, and then takes control of the company. That's how he plays them. He gets their money, and their money buys him power, and power buys him justice. And he knows it. If he's got your money, you've automatically lost."

On July 26, 2002, one day after New Times visited West's office, we received a fax from the Steven West-owned company, Telemarketing Industries. It reads: "Thank you for contacting us. Mr. West has a commitment with another publication which would prevent an interview at this time. We will be in contact with you in the future. Very truly yours, Barbara Hughes."

Jordin Isip
Jordin Isip

Hughes did not respond to three subsequent messages left by New Times, at least not by calling. On Monday, July 29, we received a second fax from Telemarketing Industries, this one signed by West and addressed to the publisher of New Times Broward-Palm Beach. It referred to a "malicious" article that New Times had allegedly faxed to West's office with the intent to "ridicule" and "embarrass" West and "demoralize" his employees. Problem is, we sent no article of any kind.

His letter went on to threaten, "If any form of adverse story is published on me, I will immediately bring an action in Florida Supreme Court against your publication and the reporter for malice." The letter was copied to Ira Rosenberg, an attorney with the New York law firm of Sills, Cummis, Radin, Tischman, Epstein & Gross. West did not respond to two subsequent calls from New Times to his office, or to one message left for him at the Wyndam Resort and Spa in Weston, the hotel where he resides. After we provided copies of the Egitto and Marchetti missives, as well as a Herald story about the entrepreneur, West responded by again threatening litigation and attacking his critics, citing "the legal risks of such a non-newsworthy article."

When contacted on July 30, Rosenberg, the lawyer to whom West's letters were copied, said he had no knowledge of the letters and had never received a copy. Furthermore, he said that he was not, nor had he ever been, Steven West's attorney. Rather, Rosenberg said he knew West only because the South Florida entrepreneur had referred two clients to him. Those referrals came after Rosenberg successfully defended a client against a lawsuit brought by West.

Marchetti, West's former administrative assistant, says threats like the faxed letters are typical behavior. She says she knows the lengths to which West will go when he feels cornered -- and her claims are detailed in the letter to Katherine Harris. In that letter, Marchetti claims that she quit her job in February 2001, confronted West, then ended up in the hospital. After telling West that she would not participate with him in actions she believed to be "frauds," Marchetti contends her boss locked the door to the office, blocked her from exiting, and tried to persuade her to stay.

"I told him I was afraid of him and that I intended to leave and for him to unlock the door," she writes. But West allegedly refused to let her pass. Marchetti claims that while trying to leave the office, she tripped and fell, badly hurting her back. "I couldn't even move, but Mr. West did nothing to help me. He just kept saying, 'I didn't do it.'"

After that incident, Marchetti says that both West and his son, Derek West, who declined comment for this story, called her and threatened her. She contends that Derek West told her that if she sued his father, he and his friends would come and get her. "He is such a charmer, you can't help but like him," Marchetti says of Steven West. "But he's the devil in disguise. He's a very greedy man who would screw over absolutely anyone."

It's a sentiment echoed by virtually every former business associate of West's contacted by New Times. "He pumps you up and intoxicates you with promises of money," Egitto says. "It's the game face he puts on. He goes into his salesman mode, and he becomes this different person. But when he's not in that mode, he's a depressed, desperate, angry man."

As of last week, the Telemarketing Doctor was in business and exhibiting no signs of slowing. Broward County records reveal that the IRS still has a $916,575.57 lien on West for unpaid taxes, and court records show he owes at least $32,000 in judgments issued locally. But as West lists in his July 10, 2002, divorce papers, he has no property to attach. The $350,000 Weston Hills house is owned by Sherri West's parents, who lease it to her; the cars are leased; and West's claimed personal net worth of $1.45 million is the aggregate value of his various businesses, which are difficult to value objectively. Still, per the divorce agreement, Steven West must pay Sherri $500,000 in alimony by the end of 2003 and $6000 each month in child support for their 14-year-old daughter.

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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: