¡Que Ovarbaridad!

What do you call a firm that had existed for less than three months when it landed a $252 million contract to sell a PDVSA-subsidiary (Bariven) equipment that usually sells for $112 million? A firm whose sole legal representative gives her address as  4023 West Davis Street, Conroe, Texas, which is the address for a car wash? A firm that claims to have clients in nine countries, but has no Google Trail of ever having done anything other than sell Bariven over-priced Rolls Royce turbines?

A firm whose CEO has no Google trail at all beyond a Facebook page? A firm with a single promotional video stitched together out of stock footage with a grand total of 27 views as of this morning?

I don’t know what you call it, but I call it una Ovarbaridad!

[Big time hat tip to Cesar Batiz of Últimas Noticias who has been doing outstanding work digging into the cesspool of corruption around Ovarb and similar maletín-based electric procurement firms...]

72 thoughts on “¡Que Ovarbaridad!

  1. A car wash? Really? Maybe somebody has been watching “Breaking Bad” lately and got some ideas for money laundering.

  2. Google has the address of Ovarb Industrial Llc as:
    283 Lockhaven Drive, Houston, TX
    (713) 554-3970

    If you look in Google maps they appear to be at the same address as Ergonomic Rehabilitation.who also are at 283 Lockhaven Drive, Unit #315

    Ovarb do not list their address on their website (strange?) & I can’t find out which unit # they are.
    Would be interesting to know if they share premises with Ergonomic.

    There is no info on the president Sara N. Curphy anywhere.
    It would be interesting to know if she is actually a real person.

    This is obviously another huge scam.

    • You gotta pay the Secretary of State for the State of Texas $1 to check Ovarb’s registration docs. ( http://www.sos.state.tx.us/corp/sosda/index.shtml )

      I did. They list Curphy’s address as 4023 West Davis Street, Conroe, Texas

      Batiz confirms that Curphy is the same girl from that Facebook page.

      Rumor is she’s either married to or together with a guy working at that car wash. Obviously she’s a testaferro.

      Huge scam. I figure the more people we have digging into this the better. Any Houston-area readers up to taking a drive to Conroe?

    • Other business at this site (it’s one of those office in the front/warehouse in the back strips):
      Crown Transportation‎ – Rate it…

      Ergonomic Rehabilitation‎ – Rate it…

      King Gaytan Foods Llc‎ – Rate it…

      Majestic Transportation‎ – Rate it…

      Ovarb Industrial Llc‎ – Rate it…

      Texas Moisture Protection‎ – Rate it…

      Texsound Audio Visual Services‎ – Rate it…

      Trent Severn Environmental Services‎ – Rate it…

      Zollern‎ – Rate it…

  3. This is interesting. I mentioned on Daniel’s blog that government officials in the 4th republic didn’t like to sign big contracts with companies in the U.S. because these were precluded by law to bribe foreign government officials. That law is, of course, the FCPA, which is enforced by the U.S. Justice Department. That law was the reason these officials almost always preferred to do business with European companies, because in Europe there wasn’t such an impediment. Moreover, at the time European governments – most notably Germany, France and Italy – even encouraged their companies to bribe foreign officials if that was what it took to secure big contracts.

    I wonder, what would it take for the F.B.I. to pay a visit to these guys?

  4. Sarah Curphy

    Experience Includes:
    BS and MS in Electrical Engineering (Power Emphasis)
    MBA in Finance
    Extensive Power plant operations, asset management, and development experience
    Extensive power trading experience
    Conceptualized, negotiated and closed over 50 term maintenance contracts

    Wow, pretty impressive for a person who doesn’t exist. :-)

  5. This is just a part of the megaguiso of more than $400 million charged over a total price of $363 for all the units. Apparently, they even didn’t attempt to conceal it, judging from what I read from Batiz’ piece. It was bound to be easily noticed. One does not cease to be amazed for the lack of scruples of these vultures.

  6. I dig a little further: the domain is registered to ovarb industrial llc in the following address
    283 lockhaven dr. suite 308
    houston, Texas 77073
    United States
    (http://who.godaddy.com/whois.aspx?domain=ovarbindustrial.com&prog_id=GoDaddy)

    I search the address in google and found that is also the same address to tradequip. Tradequip president is Mr Roberto Rincon and he is being pointed as a crook by this site https://sites.google.com/site/contracorrupto2011/ladrones-de-cuello-blanco.

    Finally they also have this company in venezuela called tradequip c.a. more info here: http://rncenlinea.snc.gob.ve/planilla/index/376265?anafinan=N&anafinanpub=Y&login=Y&mostrar=INF

    • Yup. All very public domain, all extremely simple to track down.

      In a way, the part that I find most telling is that terrible promotional video.

      Is it that they were trying to deceive somebody in Caracas that this was a real company? Or that they were trying to preserve plausible deniability for their accomplices? Somehow, at some point down the line, they figured that they needed a web presence just believable enough that someone without much common sense who looked into it might actually think it was real.

      But guys, they made 140 MILLION BUCKS out of this deal. $140 million!!! And they spent, what, a few thousand on the video? $10,000 if the videographer who made it for them was as unscrupulous about his mark-up as they are?

      Coño, if I’m setting up a scam to make $140,000,000, why wouldn’t I spend, say, $2 or $3 million making the front company look believable? Hiring a testaferro who doesn’t pose in front of a Bud poster on her facebook profile? Renting a half-way believable industrial site to list as my office? Getting a promo video that looks at least reasonably like it’s about a real company?

      It’s just such a half-assed job…

      • Where is that accent from…? Iceland?

        The microphone on my laptop is more professional than the one used in that video.

        • Actually, I think this is a British guy with a loose fixed partial denture. I guess they didn’t want to spend the $500 needed to fix that problem.

  7. Completely offtopic, but does anyone here know where I can get historical government approval ratings for Venezuela, Ecuador, Canada , Norway (oil exporters) ??.

    Also, I need to find their budgets and their breakdown. I know all of this is hard to find but I’m desperate so I thought I’d give it a shot.

  8. From the Ovarb site (I excerpted just the words, parenthetical comments mine) http://www.ovarbindustrial.com/our-team/values/

    Our Values:
    Innovative (Creative cover story, even if they didn’t take it as far as they should have – I don’t think they flat-out plagiarized another website by just changing the name)
    Committed (They did what it took to get the contract)
    Collaborative (No doubt it was a team effort)
    Flexible (Ethically, at least)
    Outcome-based (All about the bottom line!)

    • They give the game away there when you realize that guy Gilberto Finol used to be a – surprise! – procurement officer at PDVSA!

      • Finol, Rincón… all that is missing is a Montiel and a González González, and you have a veritable maracuchus homo sapiens diorama.

    • But when you look at Ovarb’s filing with the Texas Secretary of State, Curphy is the only officer named.

      All the speculation is that the Dueño del Circo is a guy called Roberto Rincón. The trouble is proving it. (The only documentary link we have is that Ovarb works out of an address that used to belong to one of Rincón’s companies – the rest is all chismes de pasillo…)

      I wonder what Curphy is getting out of this whole deal. Does she even realize the risks she’s being made to take? Is it worth it?

      • Quico, I posted a longish post with the tie-in to Roberto Rincón, but it doesn’t show up. I try a shorter version:

        from http://whois.polodomains.com

        Registrant:
        OVARB INDUSTRIAL, LLC.
        283 lockhaven dr. suite 308
        houston, Texas 77073
        United States

        Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
        Domain Name: OVARBINDUSTRIAL.COM
        Created on: 07-Jan-10
        Expires on: 07-Jan-12
        Last Updated on: 08-Jan-10

        Technical Contact:
        cautilli, ottavio
        OVARB INDUSTRIAL, LLC.
        283 lockhaven dr. suite 308
        houston, Texas 77073
        United States
        (713) 554-3970 Fax — (281) 821-3930

        But we see the same techie at from http://bgp.he.net/dns/fullsecurityservice.com#_whois

        Registrant:
        RELIABLE PROCESS & INSTRUMENTS LLC
        4203 W DAVIS ST
        conroe, Texas 77304
        United States

        Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
        Domain Name: FULLSECURITYSERVICE.COM
        Created on: 20-Apr-10
        Expires on: 20-Apr-15
        Last Updated on: 26-May-10

        Technical Contact:
        cautilli, ottavio cautilli@gmail.com
        RELIABLE PROCESS & INSTRUMENTS LLC
        4203 W DAVIS ST
        conroe, Texas 77304
        United States
        (713) 554-3977 Fax — (281) 821-6203

        From http://www.hackint0sh.org/f136/24867.htm

        “yo los vendo en 2 millones 900 mil no doy rebajas y entrego inmediatamente en maracaibo contacto cautilli@gmail.com

        He seems to be a hacker that goes by mercer2, in maracaibo!

        From http://whois.gwebtools.com.br/larapidisima.com

        He seems to have another name, or a relative using the same email, with shoestore in miami, with Venezuelan phone numbers.

        Registrant:
        Cautilli, Luciano
        Zapateria La Rapidisima
        8345 NW 66 ST #1149
        null
        miami, FL 33166
        US

        Domain Name: LARAPIDISIMA.COM

        Administrative Contact, Technical Contact:
        Cautilli, Luciano cautilli@gmail.com
        Zapateria La Rapidisima
        8345 NW 66 ST #1149
        null

        miami, FL 33166
        US
        +58-261-7924430 fax: +58-261-7916916

        Which brings us to http://fullsecurityservice.com/contact.html

        Where you get the tie in to Roberto Rincón.

        • Sure, but all that seems to show is that the same guy who registered Ovarb’s website registered Rincón’s Tradequip site, to which Rincón can just say “hey, I dunno what other clients my web guy has, what business would that be of mine?!”

          • One thing I learned from horsetrack prediction was that it was possible to predict races that were rigged because whenever someone decided to rig a race, they would do so with people they could trust to do the rigging. That is, they would rig with people they had rigged before.

            The FBI could probably find payments made to the techie from the same sources for the similar services to the different companies. It’s not proof; it’s a lead.

  9. How can one report this to the FBI? Do you need to live in the US or be a US citizen? I think the quicker we move the least likely they jump ship to a non-extradition location!

      • About that blonde mogul’s cubicle … I was surprised not to see any muñequitos (like blue smurfs). She must mean bizniz.

  10. Way off topic from Bloomberg. Is this a prosecutor that takes instructions from the prez?

    Escarra, who was sworn into office as state prosecutor on Aug. 30, said he previously advised Chavez to withdraw Venezuela from the World Bank investment dispute unit when he was a lawmaker in Venezuela’s National Assembly.
    “In my opinion, we should leave. Ecuador and Bolivia have already pulled out, and Argentina is pushing for a Latin American arbitration court,” Escarra said. “But as the prosecutor, I follow instructions from Chavez.”

    Nah can’t be. Separation of executive and judicial and all that jazz………………

  11. Having viewed the video several times, I’m convinced it’s all stock footage. They use test drop footage of a lifeboat that’s stock, footage of the Discoverer oil rig that outdates the founding of the company and the office footage, well, that office wouldn’t fit in the actual office park that they’re located at. In several shots there are documents shown that have no identifying Ovarb logos. The smiling multicultural shot of employees at the end is straight out of generic stock footage. I’m beginning to think there is no Sara N. Curphy.

    • Well, I’m glad this story has managed to lodge itself into the deeper recesses of your soul, Jsb. And I’m with you – it IS that galling.

  12. Forgive if someone else already mentioned this but SNC also registered a company called Gateway Specialty Instruments at the same car wash location in Conroe.

  13. Good Morning Gentlemen,

    Long time reader, first time writer, given my ties to Venezuela and my warm and fuzzy background in Economics.

    I’m pretty sure we can agree that Ovarb is a front (Bravo to the creators for the originality of the name). However, if it adds a wee bit of fuel to the fire, most of the website bullet points are lifted (with minimal editing) from other sources. Blatantly in some cases.

    If you look at the “Inventory Management Alliances” under “Our Capabilities” it is literally purloined word for word from the US Small Business Administration’s website on, shockingly, inventory management.

    http://www.sbaonline.sba.gov/idc/groups/public/documents/sba_homepage/pub_mp22.pdf

    They didn’t even bother delving deep — page 2.

    Pretty much everything else I’ve seen on the Ovarb web page is, beyond generic blandness, stuff I’ve literally seen elsewhere on other industry webpages. At best, they are the sorts of things you’d see on mediocre MBA marketing projects.

    Shoddy work; they couldn’t even be bothered to jazz it up a bit so it couldn’t be found elsewhere.

    I’m still puzzled by the phrase, “We have strong relationships will the key tools, parts, and equipment providers…” on the same page. You would think that for $140 mil, they could afford some editing and corrections. But then again, given their busy work load, I’m sure they’ll get around to it once they are done fleecing..err, providing quality logistical, material and support services to other countries out there.

    Cheers!

  14. Everyone: Please take screenshots of everything you describe here. Curphy and others would be excused if they take this all as a bit of constructive criticism and started making little edits to their sites.

    Quico, this is not an amateurish job. I could show you an amateurish job. Actually Reliable Process Instruments is a good example. On its “Our Team” page, it describes “Paula Clauss” by saying “Agustina brings over 15 years of experience…” Yes, they forget her name within the same line.

    It is amazing how crappy a site can be without drawing attention. I actually googled a bunch of the phrases from the site and didn’t find other hits — yes, they are generic, but they are original. The site is entirely functional, never asks for a credit card number, and has a working landline associated with it. It is much, much better than most scams I’ve seen.

    Sara Curphy’s Myspace page also has a link to Michael Baker, the same name you see on Reliable Process Instruments, but he is 15. There are also a lot of pictures of her with some dude, such as this.

    Also, please note that much of what is being dug up is already here.

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