Cleveland Tycoons May Lose Millions in Mexican Oil Fund

  • Mark Golub, Crain's

Promising massive returns-on-investment thanks to connections in the Mexican oil industry, a Cleveland wunderkind entrepreneur named Oscar Villareal is now on the receiving end of "dissatisfaction" from some of the city's most adventurous tycoons. Turns out the investors — more than 3 dozen of Cleveland's "business elite" — aren't getting the kickbacks they were assured. Turns out many of them have no idea where their money went.

A story in what passes for this morning's PD outlines the details of Villareal's fund — WW Capital III. Basically, a bunch of Mexican oil drilling operations are poised to join forces with a major Texas firm and will then seek a substantial contract from the Mexican state-run oil company.

WW Capital III could own as much as 10 percent of that combined entity. Theoretically, that's big bucks for the Clevelanders who shelled out $50,000 - $1 million in initial investments, but now that the FBI and SEC are allegedly involved in investigating Villareal's fund, the Texas team might be reluctant to follow through.

So it's dicey and potentially calamitous. It's all very sleazy and white-collar. I mean this kid Villareal lives in Gates Mills and seduces potential investors with a pipe organ (he's evidently a pianist of non-negligible talent). It's just hard to muster sympathy for "philanthropists" whose aim in investing millions is making 15-25 percent profits on Mexican oil.

According to Naymik and Larkin at the PD, some investors are simply calling their investment a "bad bet." Others are demanding answers. Still others intend to go down to Mexico themselves.

About The Author

Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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