Okun Criminal Trial Date Set October 20, 2008: Is This The Final Act?

IBS affiliate Winston-Salem, North Carolina published this deansguide article May 23, 2008

Please Read My Story and Follow The Links. . .

Over the course of the past two years the 1031 Exchange industry has been hit with two devastating and perception crushing scandals: Donald McGhan’s Southwest Exchange and Ed Okun’s 1031 Tax Group (see my 40+ articles on this disaster at deansguide).

I have followed Ed Okun and chronicled the devastation he wrought on so many investors. Since the beginning of this series in April of 2007, I was contacted by and consulted with Forbes magazine editor Mike Maiello, contacted by the US Trustee for the victims Gerald McHale, left sinister messages by the man I dubbed “my mystery caller” from Miami who made incredible predictions many which came true, contacted by over 20 of Okun’s victims and employees, was admonished by an attorney representing JPS Capital (read bottom of story in link!!!) whose principles have a very sleazy past and I have had 4 articles published by major media sources.

It’s been a long and crazy ride. But we may have seen the end of Ed Okun. After his appeal for bail was denied on May 9th in the Eastern District of Virginia, having lived in VA I will verify that they don’t mess around in the South, for what the judge termed “facts that point to Mr. Okun being a flight risk”, the Ed Okun saga may be over-maybe.

The Final Chapter?

Once prominent and now disgraced 1031 Tax Group swindler Ed Okun’s criminal trial date was set for October 20, 2008 in accordance with Eastern District of Virginia Judge Payne’s ruling. The date was announced during Okun’s failed attempt to persuade the court to grant him bail at his May 9th Bail hearing.

In US Trustee Gerald McHale’s “Trustee Newsletter #6″, McHale reported that the final pieces of jewelry had been recovered and were being readied for auction. In April according to McHale “the sales of the vehicles, boats, planes and water-craft (“Toys”) netted approximately $1.6 million for the bankruptcy estate.”

A mere pittance of the monies stolen or squandered. More galling is the fact that this represents roughly 1% of the total monies Okun stole during his retirement account plundering days. It isn’t nearly enough to compensate the professionals who are now standing first in line, ahead of the victims, to be paid for services meant to recover stolen assets (the victim’s retirement funds in many cases) for restitution.

To make matters worse, the official word, to my knowledge, has not come down yet as to how the IRS is going to handle each individual case. Will these victims be held accountable for tax bills on the money they had stolen from them?

Judge Lauck’s “Specific Findings of Fact that Okun was a Flight Risk”: If This Is True-Hidden Assets Must Exist

Norman’s Cay Cocaine Kingpin Carlos Lehder’s hideout courtesy cache.boston.com/…/10/05/1191605832_7450.jpg

After rereading the US Trustee’s Newsletter #6 a phrase struck me even though I read it a number of times. At the end of the newsletter in the last paragraph from Gerald McHale US Trustee for the Ed Okun case “Trustee Newsletter #6″:

“Edward Okun’s bail hearing was held on May 9, 2008 and Judge Lauck in the Eastern District of Virginia, the location of the criminal proceeding, denied bond and made specific findings of fact that Okun was a flight risk.”

“. . . specific findings of fact that Okun was a flight risk.”

What Can We Assume About The Judge’s Statement?

1. Ed’s “crying poor” plan, with nary a dime to his name, was an elaborate ruse to lull the court into thinking he was unable to run

2. Ed’s new court appointed attorney, usually reserved for people without any money, could be considered part of this ruse in order to persuade the court to free him on bond

3. If Ed were broke then why was his Miami attorney Rosenberg, who does not work for free, in Virginia during the bond hearing-that according to the “mystery caller”?

4. If Judge Lauck has proof that Okun is a flight risk then it is not difficult to deduce that there must be stolen funds hidden somewhere off shore or otherwise–you can’t escape the US Government on the cheap!

5. If Okun is a flight risk with hidden funds, it only makes sense that he would need accomplices in order to execute an escape plan–is the “mystery caller” such an accomplice? Hidden assets are not only monies but people willing to help or harbor an individual

6. The Bahamas, where Okun had his ill advised cash infusion smuggled, has been a notorious fugitive hideout for centuries having harbored Medillin Cartel heavyweight Carlos Lehder and international embezzler Robert Vesco

SEO “Keywords 2″ Module #3: Go After Competitive Keywords Set Your Benchmark High

SEO Design Solution’s Jeffrey Smith has written a clear concise uber-valuable article: “For Competitive Keywords Think Like a Big Fish.” This is simply one of the best articles on how to target your keywords and why. As Jefferey states in his intro:

“. . . thinking like a big fish is vital for breaking free of the constrictions of the traditional marketing (food chain) and skipping to the front of the line.”

Realtors if you want traffic, if you want to understand the best keywords for your target audience, and if you want to know how to go about testing your keywords for their effectiveness then this is the article for you.

Jeffrey’s Method To Identifying Powerful Keywords

1. Search: perform a search query with your keywords of choice in quotations. Example- “Realtor”, “San Francisco Realtor”

This is a quick way to assess the benchmark of exact match (how many sites are competing for the term)

2. Allinanchor Check: perform an allinanchor check at allinanchor:domainname.com. This allows you to check to see if your keyword matches up–if there is an exact match then you know that this exact match is accurate in determining the barrier to entry aka the difficulty of ranking highly for that keyword.

3. Top 3 Sites: Look for the top 3 sites and cross reference their age, back links, and number of respective pages on the topic.

Killer Traffic Analysis Tool: SEO Quake

SeoQuake provides the Alexa ranking (traffic), age of the domain, as well as links from major search engines. It is a free download to your toolbar and it gives you a beginners analysis tool for traffic. This is a must have for any aspiring blogger.

SEO “Keyword Research” Module #2: Realtor’s Guide to Understanding Your Target Audience Language

Published on Active Rain for the Real Estate Community

Keywords, keyword phrases, and keyword research are the next step to understanding how to attract traffic to your blog. In our first Module “SEO Basics” we provided links to SEO information to begin your education into this very important step in your marketing campaign. Searchenginepeople.com writer Ruud Hein provides an excellent look at how important keywords and keyword phrases are to your business.

Audience Language

Your aim should be to identify the keywords and keyword phrases that your target audience will utilize in searching for information about your product(s), service(s), business, industry and the area you operate within

Keywords and Keyword Research

List of Keyword Tools To Help You Find Your Audience “Language”

1. Google Adwords Keyword Tool: Get fresh ideas from the leader in the industry

2. Free Keywords: Another place to find new keywords is at freekeywords.wordtracker.com site

3. Keyword Discovery: “Over 80% of online transactions begin with a keyword search” and according to NAR over 70% of consumers interested in buying or selling real estate begin their search online. This site is a fantastic spot to begin your search with the Keyword Discovery tool.

“SEO Basics” Module #1: Realtor’s “How To” Library For Search Engine Optimization

One of the best blogs for SEO is written by a Canadian company called Search Engine People. Consequently when I opened my subscription feed to searchenginepeople.com/blog today, I was surprised and very please with their gigantic SEO article “One Week of Sphinn SEO Lessons” by writer Ruud Hein.

This article is so vast and expansive I am going to break it down into smaller modules so that you can consider the importance of the library of content Ruud has provided. The first module is SEO Basics for the anyone looking to understand the definition, strategies, and tools that search engine optimization brings to your marketing promotional efforts. This first module contains 17 links to information critical to your Web 2.0 efforts:

The SEO Basics

Bay To Breakers San Francisco’s Eclectic “Race” A Realtor’s Marketing Fantasy

sf.curbed.com illustrious San Francisco blog linked to this article May 19, 2008

Thinking outside the box never got more fun than “think tank” brainstorming. One of the most under utilized ideas is turning San Francisco’s Bay to Breaker’s race into your marketing bonanza. One example is Autodesk, a successful Bay Area software company. Autodesk has entered a team of runners dressed as the Autodesk centipede. Although this race is more fun and follie than serious sporting event, the television coverage Autodesk received was invaluable:

If you are Realtor, broker, or real estate affiliate sponsoring a team of runners, in costume, to run and advertise your company and your company’s cause is a great way to publicize who you are and what you do!

Newsflash: California Supreme Court Grants Rights To Gay Marriage

In a controversial and long standing fight, gay rights activists are rejoicing as the California Supreme court today overturned the gay marriage ban. In what could be a historic ruling, the California Supreme Court ruled:

“. . . that a ban on gay marriage was unlawful Thursday, effectively leaving same-sex couples in America’s most populous state free to tie the knot in a landmark ruling” according to Yahoo.com news reports.

The Corporate View: It doesn’t get much stuffier than this

The Gay View: It doesn’t get much funnier than this

Newsflash: Monster 7.8 Earthquake Kills 9,000–Many More Feared Dead In China

Reuters.com published this deansguide article May 12, 2008

A monster 7.8 earthquake rocked central China killing an estimated 9,000 people, leaving 900 students trapped inside a school, and wreaking havoc. The quake centered in the hilly Sichuan region of China, was felt as far away as Thailand . In Beijing, according to Associated Press writer Christopher Bodeen, “80 percent of the buildings had collapsed in Sichuan province‘s Beichuan county after the quake.”

In addition, reports from state media out of China, report that a chemical plant in Shifang city had “cratered, burying hundreds of people and spilling more than 80 tons of toxic liquid ammonia from the site.”

Further reports are forth coming with the news a grim reminder of the realities faced in earthquake countries every day.

Happy Mother’s Day: Ideas For Your Mom

Chicago Sun Times published this deansguide article May 11, 2008

FoxBusiness.com published this deansguide article May 11, 2008

Even a famous newsman like Anderson Cooper, with an equally famous mom Gloria Vanderbilt, needs ideas on what to get his mom for Mother’s Day. Vanderbilt, made famous by her embroidered designer jeans worn on more fannies than any other designer jean at one time in history, gives solid advice to her son on what to buy mom for Mother’s Day.

So if you are stuck or a last minuted shopper, this interview may help you decide on just the right gift. What am I going to get my mom? It will be tied to her British-Canadian-American heritage.

As for me? My gift is arriving Monday from the windy city for a long visit. I love you mom and you too dad. Best wishes and we are excited to have you home for your visit.

Peace and Love to all moms on this important day. Especially Elsie, Susan, Megan, and my other California mother Jan “Mac” too!

Newsflash: Ed Okun Denied Bond, Remains Incarcerated

This just in courtesy of the “mystery caller”: Ed Okun’s attempt to secure bail and his freedom was denied today at his bond hearing in Richmond, Virginia. The hearing, which ran from 2pm to 5pm EST, was previously postponed so that Okun could build a case for gaining bail. Okun charged with multiple counts in relationship to his “ponzi” like scheme which bilked investors out of $160 million, was denied bail as:

1. Flight risk

2. Danger to the Community at large

His court appointed attorney was present; and according to the “mystery caller” original Miami attorney Michael Rosen was also in attendance.

Analysis

There is a very sad and ironic problem with keeping Ed Okun incarcerated. There is no way to force Okun to pay restitution if he is incarcerated. Not that Okun would have the ability, means, or method to legitimately pay back Train Wreck Victims.

But with Okun incarcerated, there is no hope at all in recovering anything that he may have hidden, if he hid anything at all, or forcing him to “work” for his victims.

Now it seems the only hope that victims of Ed Okun’s collapsed 1031 scheme have in recovering their monies is to go after the insurance companies involved in the transactions.