PHILADELPHIA – An investor in a local palm oil sales business believes he was instead sold a bill of non-delivered goods and has filed legal action to recover the sum of his initial investment, $20,000.

Spencer Biah of Herndon, Va., filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on Sept. 25 versus B&B International of Philadelphia and its owner, Janet Mulbah of Darby.

Per the plaintiff’s account, on Oct. 27, 2015, Biah invested $20,000 into B&B International, which purchases palm oil from Liberia for importation and according to Mulbah, then sells the oils to various African grocery stores in the United States and Canada.

“To facilitate the fraud, defendant showed plaintiff a yellow ledger depicting cash returns from numerous sales made by her business. To convince plaintiff to invest in her business, defendant informed plaintiff that the profit margin was as high as $50,000, on an investment of $20,000. Defendant informed plaintiff that she would handle the buying, importation and wholesale of the palm oil. Defendant also indicated that she has all the business connections in Liberia and the United States and Canada, and that she will split the profit with plaintiff, while the principle amount will be reinvested into the business,” the suit states.

Biah then allegedly invested $20,000 into Mulbah’s business enterprise. On Oct. 29, 2015, after cashing Biah’s check, Mulbah informed him that the shipment of palm oil would arrive by February 2016, the suit says. 

At that time, Biah went to Mulbah’s place of business and was told the palm oil had not arrived because of the Ebola crisis that hit Liberia in 2015, it is alleged.

In June 2016 and on a number of other occasions, Biah went back to Mulbah’s business and inquired about the status of the palm oil’s arrival, the suit says. No progress was made and no oil arrived, the suit says, until January 2017. Mulbah then told Biah the oil would be sold by March of this year, the suit says.

When March elapsed without receiving payment, Biah went back once again to Mulbah’s business in April and was advised to meet her at her residence, it is alleged. This time, Mulbah claimed that a juju/witchcraft/voodoo man tried to kill her daughter in Liberia, and thus she could not pay him the $20,000, the suit says.

“On or about May 27, 2017, after the intervention of plaintiff’s mother and a community leader, defendant admitted to owing the plaintiff the sum of $20,000 and promised to make a monthly installment payment of $1,000 until the total amount is paid in full. On May 27, an agreement to that effect was signed by both parties. Ever since signing the agreement, only one payment of $1,000 has been received by the plaintiff, leaving an unpaid balance in the amount of $19,000,” the suit adds.

For a count of fraud, the plaintiff is seeking damages of $19,000, plus interest at a rate of six percent per year, costs and attorney’s fees.

The plaintiff is represented by Christian C. Nduka in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 170902732

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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