DAYTON — On Nov. 4, 1995, Peter Llewellyn met Andrew Junker, a Yellow Springs inventor who had patented a device that, strapped to one’s forehead, would allow for hands-free operation of a computer mouse and other electronic equipment, using brain waves.
You can make billions on this technology, Llewellyn told Junker. Just let me run the business.
A week later, Llewellyn became a member of the board of directors of Brain Actuated Technologies, Inc. He soon became chief executive of the company he’d renamed Cyberlink Mind Systems.
But 16 months to the day after they met, Junker filed a $30 million civil lawsuit against Llewellyn, claiming he looted the company to finance a lavish lifestyle, a mansion in England and travels to the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Taiwan. Junker alleged Llewellyn illegally created 999 million shares of stock and sold some of it for his own gain. He also claimed Llewellyn misused funds from an Air Force contract of nearly $500,000.
Llewellyn counter-sued, claiming Junker owed him money.
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The legal action dragged on until July 2001, when Junker agreed to pay $220,000 to Llewellyn’s then-wife, Kara Anastasio, and to a trust in the name of the couple’s son, in order to buy Llewellyn out of the company. But before the settlement was reached, Llewellyn had invoked his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.
“He won that lawsuit,” said Carmine Anastasio, Kara’s father and Llewellyn’s business partner. Junker declined to comment.
David Greer, the Dayton attorney who represented Junker, said the lawsuit achieved its purpose. “He wormed his way into that company and had to be thrown out of it. The upshot was to get him out of the company, which was accomplished.
“It was a fine mess,” he acknowledged.
Earlier this year, Llewellyn, who still lives in Yellow Springs, incorporated another company, East Success Property and Entertainment LLC, with two Chinese investors in Las Vegas. Since July, he has purchased two foreclosed homes in Dayton’s Wright-Dunbar Village for the investors, and has hopes of building a replica of an eighth-century Chinese village in another part of town as a tourist attraction.
Llewellyn and Carmine Anastasio, an adjunct religion professor at Wright State University, presented the Chinese village concept to Dayton city officials July 7, said city spokesman Bryan Taulbee.
“It lacked a sufficient business plan and a case for the project, including funding, and wasn’t considered any further,” Taulbee said. “It simply wasn’t viable.”
The partners wanted to build it at Wayne Avenue and Wyoming Street, but are looking at other locations, Anastasio said. He said Llewellyn is traveling in China and could not be reached for comment.
Llewellyn, 62, has a long track record for outsized dreams and extravagant claims. He also has been the target of a long string of fraud allegations. He has denied any wrongdoing, although he noted in legal papers that he has been referred to in news reports as an international con man.
Llewellyn was born in November 1947 in London. Court records show he was married and had his first son in England in 1972.
A 1999 article in the Australian newspaper The Mail, attached as an exhibit to the Junker lawsuit, said Llewellyn “first surfaced in Perth, Western Australia, in the late Eighties when he suddenly took a controlling interest in a series of finance companies.” According to the article, Llewellyn was representing a Soho “property tycoon,” who “later cut all ties with Llewellyn amid allegations that (he) had been defrauded through a series of complex share deals.”
It was in Perth in 1990 that Llewellyn, then 42, met 23-year-old model and 1984 Yellow Springs High School graduate Kara Anastasio, according to another Australian news clipping attached to the lawsuit. This 1996 article said Anastasio reported to police the loss of up to 100 paintings with a value of $400,000. The article insinuated that the paintings were taken and sold by people to whom Llewellyn owed money.
In 1993, the Western Australia Supreme Court issued a $400,000 default judgment against Llewellyn, based on a debt he owed to Perth attorney Michael Bibby. Bibby later filed a lawsuit against Llewellyn in Greene County Common Pleas Court seeking payment. Llewellyn responded that he owed Bibby nothing, and that Bibby had ripped him off in the sale of shares in Australian National Finance. Bibby served prison time in the mid-1990s in a case related to the finance company, Australian court records show. Llewellyn ultimately paid Bibby $38,000 in a 2000 lawsuit settlement.
Court records show Llewellyn and Kara married in Wales in 1995. Around that time he was arrested in Pittsburgh on charges he bilked a local investor in a scheme involving Samoan trusts. The charges were dropped after Llewellyn paid $41,000 in restitution.
In 1999, while the Junker lawsuit was in litigation, Llewellyn became international news when it was reported he agreed to pay $100 million for a weeklong trip on the Russian space station Mir. The Russian company that ran Mir made Llewellyn a vice president of a financial subsidiary. Llewellyn asked for a delay in the court case so he could go to Russia for cosmonaut training for the scheduled February 2000 space launch. The Associated Press reported Llewellyn trained at the Russian Star City space center. United Press International called Llewellyn “a British billionaire.” He was also described in articles as a “waste-disposal magnate” with a company called MicroLife.
The Russians gave up the plan in mid-1999 after it became clear Llewellyn wasn’t going to come up with the $100 million. Llewellyn said at the time that he never intended to pay his own money, and the Mir trip was a fundraising effort for a Russian orphanage.
Kara Anastasio, who filed for divorce from Llewellyn in 2003, said her former husband “makes enemies easily. He’s temperamental and he’s difficult. He’s an extremely complicated person but he’s extremely talented. You’ve heard of hiding your light under a bushel? There are 20-story buildings that hide his light.”
Kara Anastasio was a co-defendant in the Junker and Bibby lawsuits. A part-time office worker who held a philosophy degree from Boston University, she was elected in 2001 as vice chairwoman of the Natural Law Party of Ohio, a political party founded on the teachings of Beatles guru the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. She ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House against incumbent David Hobson in 2002 and 2004.
Court records show she got the 1994 Range Rover and Llewellyn the 1992 Bentley in their divorce settlement. Llewellyn’s annual gross income was listed as $30,000; Anastasio’s, $10,000.
Divorce filings also show Llewellyn had a company called Anasell. Its website claims a host of services, including waste recycling, health sciences, security, “loss mitigation,” advertising and website design.
Carmine Anastasio said Llewellyn married a Chinese woman after his divorce from Kara and it was through her that he met the Chinese investors interested in U.S. real estate. In addition to the Wright-Dunbar homes, the investors have bought some properties in the Las Vegas area, Nevada records show.
“It’s basically Peter’s judgment call” as to what properties they purchase, Carmine Anastasio said. “They want to make more investments. They were interested in bringing a truck plant in. There’s a truck plant in Moraine, sitting there doing nothing.”
In one case, Llewellyn bought a Mound Street home in the Wright-Dunbar district from a bank for $25,000 and sold it 17 days later to one Liang Ke for $57,750, a 131 percent profit. The home has an assessed value of $102,040. Liang’s mailing address was listed as Llewellyn’s Yellow Springs residence.
On Oct. 5, Llewellyn purchased a second home in the Wright-Dunbar area, on Horace Street.
Teresa Stetler-Clear, who lives near the two homes, said neighbors are concerned about absentee landlords because Wright-Dunbar is in a precarious phase of its rehabilitation. They also have concerns about Llewellyn’s controversial past.
“The city invested the money to save this neighborhood, probably from the same thing (absentee landlords),” Stetler-Clear said. “That’s my concern: What are this guy’s intentions?”
Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2264 or tbeyerlein@DaytonDailyNews.com.