Skip to content

Lawsuit of the Week: B.C. marketing firm founder sued following string of financial headaches

Plaintiffs allegedly loaned Alfred Venegas more than $500K
The B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

The financial backers of a Vancouver-area online marketing firm are suing its founder over allegations stemming from a string of legal and financial headaches.

Paul Wong and Anne Wong first met Alfred Venegas in August 2020, according to the Wongs’ legal filings. Venegas reportedly told Paul Wong about his success using search engine optimization (SEO) to direct web traffic from people searching for personal protective equipment to the medical supplies company he was then working at.

He allegedly told Paul Wong he’d recently been denied a raise and was looking for work elsewhere – and the two began talking regularly about starting a new marketing business. That business later became CT21 Analytics.

Paul Wong allegedly loaned Venegas $27,500 for equipment and software, and to cover the initial operating expenses. As the business grew, he later loaned Venegas money to rent office space and to hire more employees, according to the Wongs’ legal filings.

Paul Wong reportedly made 30 cash loans and seven Bitcoin loans over the course of 2021 and 2022, on top of forwarding loans from his own clients, for a total of $530,734. The Wongs also claim Venegas used money for his own rent for several months in 2021 and for two $2,600 computers.

Anne Wong claims she stepped in to help this business in May 2021, but Venegas allegedly refused her access to email and bank accounts – and when she did access the accounts in June 2021, the Wongs claim she still didn’t get administrative authority over the accounts.

When Anne Wong accessed the company’s QuickBooks accounting software account in September 2021, she allegedly found Venegas hadn’t entered any expenses or receipts into the software.

The lawsuit also notes issues with two clients. That includes Web3 Elevation Labs Inc., which allegedly hired CT21 to do web marketing for its non-fungible token (NFT) products based on false claims by Venegas that the company had done NFT marketing in the past. The Wongs claim they never heard about this contract until Venegas came to Paul Wong for funds in June 2021.

Venegas was supposed to start the project by April but he still hadn’t started by mid-August and Web3 demanded a $100,000 refund, according to the lawsuit. Paul Wong claims to have forwarded seven Bitcoin loans to get the project started, fearing legal repercussions for not doing the work as promised.

When Anne Wong discovered a project for client Speed Greens, Venegas refused to share details of the agreement or to issue invoices to account for the project’s payments until May 2022, according to the suit. The Wongs claim they later discovered that revenue of $16,000 to 19,000 a month Venegas claimed was between $24,000 and $30,000 a month.

Venegas was allegedly and suspended as a director of the company in September 2022.

Despite signing a non-compete clause, Venegas allegedly launched a new SEO marketing firm under the name Lvl3 Marketing, offering the same services and soliciting CT21’s clients.

The Wongs claim the company lost clients due to this and never recovered, becoming insolvent by November 2022. CT21 reportedly owes the Canada Revenue Agency $200,000 for payroll debt and another $60,000 to $75,000 to former employees for final pay, severance and vacation.

The allegations have not been proven in court and Venegas has not filed a response to the lawsuit as of press time.