Does Corleone, Sicily, Research, and Ed Okun Have Anything In Common?

None of the three entities in my title have anything to do with each other. . . then again maybe they do? Is it possible that crooks research other crooks to learn new scams, methods, or pitfalls to avoid? Former convicts often say that prison is like college for crooks.

Has the internet become a free man’s encyclopedia to crime?

The following is an interesting visit to deansguide. Although it is impossible to label every citizen of a particular region, city, or country sinister. It is certainly entertaining to see the little visit that popped up today–and the subject of that visit:


What did my Corleone friend read? “Is This Where the 1031 Tax Group Victim’s Monies Disappeared?”

This article shows the “toys” in this case and what may have been the first hope that investors might recoup lost monies from the sale of Okun’s toys.

Like they say in real estate location, location, location. Whether Corleone or Palermo, the site of another reader on the Okun case today, as an Italian you always pay attention.

Ed Okun Denied Bond: Is the Man Behind the 1031 Tax Scandal Tapped Out?

Is Ed Okun flat broke? Has every last asset been seized by authorities in an attempt to pay back victims of the 1031 Tax Group rip off? My mystery caller made a surprise appearance today and raised some questions in my mind. Of course nothing can be completely verified but speculation can lead you to your own personal conclusions. The questions I am pondering:

1. If Mr. Okun was denied bond and is in jail in Miami is this a permanent fact due to the nature of Mr. Okun’s crimes or is there more behind this decision?

2. If Mr. Okun is not granted bond does this indicate that the government suspects that he has hidden monies or assets?

3. Could Mr. Okun’s citizenship be at stake?

4. Rumor has it that his attorney(s) in Virginia have bailed out. Is that an indication that Mr. Okun is indeed flat broke?

5. If Mr. Okun’s attorney(s) in Virginia do want out, does his Miami Attorney have plans to leave the case as well?

6. Why has mainstream media become disinterested in this case? Is $160,000,000 and hundreds of lives irrevocably altered not sexy enough for CNN and other major players?

7. Why is Obama and Hillary constantly campaigning for votes with the tired and controversial mortgage bailout WITHOUT addressing enforcement of unregulated investment vehicles like the 1031 exchange industry?

Where does all this leave the victims in this case? Waiting and hoping that more assets can be unearthed, liquidated, and made available to restitution funds.

“Hiding in Plain Sight” Spitzer and Okun: Did They Want To Get Caught? published this article on March 25, 2008: “US News” published this article on March 25, 2008: “Business and Finance” published this article on March 25, 2008

Did Eliot Spitzer and Ed Okun want to get caught by the authorities? Spitzer held his career killing federal endictment insighting activities in Washington D.C.. The worst place to keep a political secret on the planet is Washington D.C..

In the same light, Ed Okun’s undoing may have come primarily due to a ill advised moment of weakness that foreshadowed the man’s apparent disregard for taking chances regardless of circumstances. Of the 3 charges Okun faces, the money laundering charge may be the most difficult to fathom–and the most embarrassing.

According to a federal indictment, Okun instructed employees to “smuggle” $15,000 in cash via courier, to his yacht in the Bahamas, in order to avoid federal currency reporting requirements.’s Mark Heschmeyer provided a quote from the indictment that illustrates just how blatant and careless Okun had become:

“[C]ould you fed ex $15,000 cash (large bills and pad the package with paper on both sides so it looks like a thick document, you may want to put it in several envelopes so they can’t tell what it is) to me here in nassau people don’t like credit cards here. I would suggest cashing two checks one for 5,200 and one for 9,800 so you stay under the 10,000 cash reporting with the irs or better yet take someone else with you, you cash one and they cash the other. I need it sent priority next day to: Atlantis Marina, Paradise Island, Nassau Bahamas, C/O motor Yacht Simone slip #4041, Telephone number 954-328-1481. Thanks, Ed.”

Just for the record, the excerpt within the above comment, “. . . I would suggest cashing two checks one for 5,200 and one for 9,800 so you stay under the 10,000 cash reporting with the irs or better yet take someone else with you, you cash one and they cash the other. . . “ brings up some interesting points:

1. IRS: Why would anyone ever mention the IRS by name in any type of communication when they are under federal investigation?

2. $10,000 IRS Reporting Limit: To my knowledge, the reason why the IRS instituted a federal law requiring any transactions $10,000 and above dates back to the Cocaine Cowboy days of drug smuggling and dealing in Miami. This was one of the government’s weapons against money laundering.

3. Employees or Partners: If Okun had “his” people committing unlawful acts is it possible that someone else may have been equally responsible for the $160,000,000 embezzlement? Or are we looking at a situation where there were just a large number of “associates” very willing to help Okun spend or steal from Okun himself? Nobody knows but questions remain.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Aristotle, Perry Mason: What Lies Beneath The Surface of The 1031 Tax Group Case?

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle the brilliant Scottish born Physician and creator of Sherlock Holmes utilized “Deductive Reasoning” to solve the unsolvable. Aristotle, the great Greek philosopher, utilized logic to become one of the most important founding figures in Western Philosophy. Perry Mason, a fictional television attorney, was a brilliant tactician with foresight and instinct.

What can we learn from these three figures, fictional and real, when applied to the Ed Okun 1031 Tax Group case?


Sherlock would utilize Deductive Reasoning by taking the information in the case and then work from the general to the specific aka “Top-Down” approach.

Sherlock would begin with a theory about Ed Okun and his role in the 1031 Tax Group case. He would then deduce the information down into a “hypothesis” which he could test. Sherlock would then task Watson with remembering “observations” about Mr. Okun that would further address the hypothesis.

At this point “we are able to test the data a confirmation (or not) of our original theory.”

Analysis: Holmes would deduce that it is quite possible that hidden accomplices or a unknown “mastermind” may be behind the 1031 Tax Group case. With Watson’s constant nodding approval, Holmes could easily posit that “there is more than meets the eye here ole boy.”


Known as one of the father’s of Western Philosophy and founder of deductive reasoning, Aristotle’s greatest asset is his grounded belief in logic.

Aristotle would collect the facts, like Sergeant Friday, and logically eliminate what could not be proven. Working methodically, Aristotle would comb the financial records for connections that might shed light on Holmes deductive findings–unknown forces behind Mr. Okun.


With his hammer, detective Paul Drake, and his feather, the beautiful Della, Perry Mason would use his instinct to decipher the Okun mess. Is there a patsy, beside the investors, amongst the violators? Is Okun the front man or fall guy?

If nobody else exists in the Okun mess and he is the sole violator then why are there not more monies left over? Did this one man actually spend every last dime, pinch every last nickel from over blown refinanced properties, and did it all land in his lap as a result?

Your guess is as good as mine. Suffice it to say that there are many unanswered questions that may never come out let alone be answered. Like the old radio show only “The Shadow” knows.

“The Mystery Caller”: Say It Loud And Clear My Friend

Woodward and Bernstein haddeepthroat“, Hoover had McCarthy, and now I have “The Mystery Caller.” With the swift strike of a Bruce Lee Backfist and a screaming bullet train, my mystery tipster, name unknown, came calling again today–twice! I am here. I know your voice consequently imposters will be eliminated quickly. If you have the desire leave me a contact and I will follow up.

What remains to be seen is the number of skeptics this “source” could and should quiet. There are a number of amateur sleuths out there who have called this guy out, acted as if they are in the “know”, and in general shoveled a healthy pile of “doubt” on the mystery caller’s credability.

Yet like any critic or naysayer, these “sleuths” never come up with the goods, the information, or the unknown differentiating factor that would legitimize their rants and raves. Instead it’s the usual “I knew that months ago”, “That’s nothing new”, or my favorite line “Hey do you think that. . . “

Hey if I really knew something that others did not know, I would take it to my friends in the mass media in the hopes that something good would come of the information–say like restitution .

But the fact of the matter is that I do not have an insider’s view to this point. . . BUT THERE IS ALWAYS TOMORROW and that is what any writer lives for in this day and age–the next big piece of information.

Be well my “Mystery Caller” friend and if you so desire let us all in on the whole sordid mess.

NEWSFLASH: ED OKUN INDICTED AND ARRESTED ON CHARGES OF MAIL FRAUD, MONEY LAUNDERING, AND FALSE STATEMENTS published this article March 18, 2008 published this article March 18, 2008

Dateline March 18, 2008 2:53 PST

Ed Okun embattled scam artist of the 1031 Tax Group fiasco has been arrested by Chuck Rosenberg US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia on 3 counts: Mail Fraud in connection with the 1031 Tax Group dealings, Cash Smuggling tied to a $15,000 Fed Ex delivery to the Bahamas, and the making of a False Declaration. If convicted, Okun faces up to 30 years in prison as well as substantial fines.

The entire story can be obtained through our friend Gerald McHale’s US Trustee website:

The Sources


This link provides two documents which outline Okun’s charges as well as a restraining order filed against Okun with a judgment against Okun for $132,015,000


The above link is to the breaking story on the United States Justice Departement website. Suffice to say that this story is for real

The Tips

Just 15 minutes ago deansguide received a call from the Miami “mystery caller” who tipped us to information on Ed Okun last summer; simultaneously we received two emails from long time supporter, and one of the 350 Okun “Train Wreck” victims, Elizabeth Callanan. Although the delivery was quite different, the message was quite clear: Ed Okun is being criminally charged.

Information will be provided as further details become known. But for now as this ongoing saga evolves, Ed Okun is behind bars–something most people thought would never happen in this case.

US Bankruptcy Judge Glenn Denies Okun’s “Indentured Servitude” Plea: Trustee McHale and 1031 Tax Group Victims Supported

“A bankruptcy judge has denied a bid by 1031 Tax Group owner Edward Okun to back out of his deal to sell his collection of luxury items to repay some of the $150 million owed to creditors of his failed real estate tax shelter” according to Associated Press reporter Patrick Fitzgerald in his article “1031 Tax Group Owner Ed Okun Loses Court Bid to Keep Toys.”

In deansguide’s article “Okun Attempting To Terminate Asset Transfer Agreement According To 1031 Tax Group Victim: “Indentured Servitude” Never Looked This Lucrative” Okun’s characterization of the ATA, a document he signed off on months earlier, as “Indentured Servitude” provides further evidence of this man’s motivations and utter disregard for the victims he directly effects everyday.

Consequently Okun was fighting for the necessities in life such as his four (4) cars:

1. Rolls Royce Phantom
2. Bentley Continental
3. Lamborghini Gallardo
4. Porsche 911

What will the rest of this ongoing saga bring us? Only time will tell but as it stands now it has been a long and sad trail to recovering settlement monies that will never fully be restored to their rightful owners.

Okun Attempting To Terminate Asset Transfer Agreement According To 1031 Tax Group Victim: “Indentured Servitude” Never Looked This Lucrative

Due to the litigious nature of this entire mess I am presenting the following comment as a service to the victims of the 1031 Tax Group. This comment is the sole opinion of the commenter–deansguide has no responsibility nor supports or opposes this comment. If you have read this blog you know how I feel–

For a true look at “Indentured Servitude” please go to the soulsurvivor channel on for the real story.

The following comment was a reaction to my February 8, 2008 article, “California Victims of 1031 Exchange Rip Offs And Industry Professionals: You Better Look At This SB 1007 And Make Your Voice Heard Or Forever Hold Your Peace”, by long time reader, and Okun victim, Beth Callanan. It is a surreal yet real life drama unfolding and what Beth has to say should be very interesting to all 1031 Tax Group victims of Okun. Read this entire post to understand the how corrupt Ed Okun appears to be in this case.

The highlights or low points depending upon your stomach for absolute idiocy:

1. Okun is trying to “terminate” the Asset Transfer Agreement signed by him and his wife. Reasons sited– The Okun’s believe that the US Trustee breeched the ATA by failing to negotiate a “living allowance” and forcing them to live in AND I QUOTE BETH HERE “indentured servitude.”

“BRAVO! AMEN!! Couldn’t have said it better!

Thank you,
Beth Callanan (aka “Okun Victim”)

By the way, your readers might be interested to know that Okun has had the temerity to submit a motion to the Bankruptcy Court to terminate the Asset Transfer Agreement signed by him and his wife in October. The ATA is a pathetically inadequate vehicle supposedly intended to result in “restitution” to those whose exchange funds he absconded with (inadequate since he had freighted all those “assets” with debt before transferring their skeletal remains to the Trustee!). The premise for his motion is that the Trustee has breached the terms of the Agreement by failing to prevent others from going after the assets he was allowed to keep (his two manses valued by him at more than $20 million and his Hummer and Lambourghini!) AND (and this is really the best part) because the Trustee has failed to negotiate a “living allowance” for Okun, spouse and spawn (I told you this was good) such that they are now forced to live a life of “indentured servitude” (I kid you not — verbatim from the motion!) — although the abject level of “servitude” to which the Okuns have been subjected apparently allows for the acquisition of yet another vehicle — specifically, a Porche he has not yet surrendered and has asked to purchase from the Trustee. Not only that, but his victims will all be thrilled to know that the brilliant financier whose empire was built Ponzi-style on funds taken illegally from others has offered the Trustee his services to help manage the financially dessicated wasteland of properties he has so generously transferred to the Trustee. Be still my heart!

There is a hearing on the motion in NYC on Monday (Feb 11) that I suspect will be very well attended since Judge Glenn has commanded that Okun, the lovely Simone and their attorney actually appear and be prepared to testify! Anyone wanting to read the actual text of this travesty should go to the Committee website at , go to “court documents, scroll down to “Pending Motions” pour yourself a stiff drink grab a big box of hankies and begin reading everything in “3. Motion to Vacate Order Approving Transfer Agreement.” It’s a real tear jerker.”

Feb 8, 11:01 PM— California Victims of 1031 Exchange Rip Offs and Industry Professionals: You Better Look At This SB 1007 And Make Your Voice Heard Or Forever Hold Your Peace

California Victims of 1031 Exchange Rip Offs and Industry Professionals: You Better Look At This SB 1007 And Make Your Voice Heard Or Forever Hold Your Peace

SB 1007 is an attempt to wash away any memory of Mike Machado’s ignorance of the entire 1031 Exchange process, it’s rules, and the unregulated Dodge City atmosphere the industry has operated in (with impunity) to this point in it’s history.

If I were a California Qualified Intermediary, investor, or anyone involved in this industry who is an honest businessman I would be screaming from the mountain top. Be heard now or forever hold your peace!

In “No Wonder the 1031 Advance Fiasco Is Littered With ‘Dead Financial’ Bodies” I outlined the following:

1. May of 2007 when asked by the San Jose Mercury News about the 1031 Advance-1031 Tax Group fiasco led by Ed Okun, Machado was quoted as say:

“It appears the consumers are not protected. . . This is unforgivable. We’re looking at how best to address that.”

2. Why or how could a politician acting as the chair for the California Senate’s Banking, Finance, and Insurance Committee be so out of touch and ignorant to his job?

The following is the contact information for the Senate Rules Committee both address and phone number. I provide this information so that you may make your voice heard. After reading the committee’s provisions in the “Third Reading” dated Jan 18, 2008 you might wish to call:

|Office of Senate Floor Analyses | |
|1020 N Street, Suite 524| |
|(916) 651-1520 Fax: (916) | |
|327-4478 | |

Interesting provisions of this session begin on page 3 “Provides that a EF (Exchange Facilitator) is NOT any of the following:”

A. The taxpayer or a disqualified person as
those terms are defined under specified Treasury

Analysis: What Treasury “regulations”? And why are we involving more government bureacracy without involving any criminal arm of the government directly?

B. A financial institution that is not facilitating exchanges, but is acting as a depository for exchange funds or is acting solely as a qualified escrow holder or qualified trustee, as those terms are defined under specified Treasury

Analysis: Again we find Treasury regulations mentioned with no specifics provided.

And the most curious of all–

D. A person that teaches professionals about tax-deferred exchanges or trains them to act as EFs.

Analysis: How does teaching professionals about tax-deferred exchanges automatically disqualify that person from acting as a EF and why?

Final Word:
Again the fact remains the same: Dual Signatures is the only method that ensures that the investor has the ability to monitor the progress of the transaction in a transparent, above board, honest manner without any illegal removal of funds for purposes of gain by the Ed Okun’s or Donald McGhan’s of the world.

“Devastated Still With No Hope. . .”: Another 1031 Tax Group Victim Needs Your Help!

The 1031 Tax Group victim’s list continues to get longer and more compelling with the following comment-letter I received this past week. Like Elizabeth and the other victims of the Okun owned 1031 Tax Group, Rudy Lozano is a victim with the type of story we all should be alarmed about hearing.

Even worse, Rudy is a Real Estate Broker which proves that this type of scam can happen to anybody at anytime!

If any of my reputable QI’s, attorneys, CPA,s, journalists, or qualified investment professional readers can and will help Rudy, please comment or better yet contact Rudy Lozano. Together maybe we can find answers or a resource that Mr. Lozano may utilize in his efforts to get help:

“My name is Rudy Lozano and I am a first generation Mexican American and proud owner of a REMAX Franchise in San Antonio. On the advice of a my fee attorney in San Antonio DBA Lawyer’s Title I was recommended this national exchange service.

I am NO attorney but on the advice and opinion of this attorney I took his advice and deposited my 1031 exchange $$$.

My question is do I have any recourse against this fee attorney?

I am not sure if a kick back was involved from recommending the service but the attorney could have nonetheless referred me to the state insured and nationally recognized 1031 exchange that Lawyers Title has in place rather than one that was not regulated and had nothing to do with his parent company and or firm.

This attorney is a millionaire and I am penny-less!!!!!

I cannot understand if Okun has over 700k million in assets why the BK Court is not pushing to sell all assets NOW to satisfy all pending claims that are under 300k million?

Can someone explain this to me as if I were a 3 year old.?????

My parents who are 70 years old sold this property so that I could expand my business and take care of them like a good son does. NOW I have no money and a $1500 debt monthly that I pledged to my parents to ensure they did not have to rely on SSI. My obligation is pending to my parents who could no longer handle this rental property due to their age-on money I never even have seen, used or might never even get back. Till this day they do not know the money is missing or what happened in fear their health will diminish.

If there is a GOD or JUSTICE in this world OKUN needs to dispose of all his assets to satisfy those of innocent hard working people.

He needs to be reported to any and all reporting agencies that have to do with securing a loan, job or passing securities and exchange clearances. I have filed a postal criminal claim against this sub-human being.

Devastated Still with NO hope in San Antonio, TEXAS.

Why does the government and the IRS wish NOT to be involved?

We must learn from our past mistakes and ensure that capitalism continues to reign in this free world but we must go after unethical people with a passion for JUSTICE.

For all of you that are suffering GREAT financial emotional,spiritual and physical stress, GOD Bless YOU!

YOu are NOT alone.”


Rudy Lozano,
Broker of Record
RE/MAX Fidelity Realty

210/641-1400 main
210/559-8888 cell