A Look Back In Time: Why Did The US Government Not Charge Ed Okun With RICO Violations?

IBS published this deansguide article June 17, 2008 for the Greensboro Winston-Salem, North Carolina NBC affiliate

Editor’s Correction: The RICO lawsuit filed by Anita Hunter against Ed Okun was actually filed in May of 2007 not May of 2008 as originally reported. Apologies to all parties involved. In May of 2007, I was just beginning to report on the Ed Okun 1031 Advance connection and the overall scheme of his 1031 Tax Group actions. I missed this very noteworthy item as my focus had not shifted to the 1031 scandals rocking our country until later on in the summer of 2007

The fact of the matter still remains that Ms. Hunter is the only victim to attempt this action to our knowledge.

Ed Okun was sued in May 2007 by victim Anita Hunter under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act aka RICO. RICO was the major weapon wielded by Rudy Guiliani in his fight with the Mob in New York.

Analysis: It looks like somebody was calling this crime exactly what it is and what it was during it’s commission–a conspiracy. With all of the government’s power, money, and time, it still took a Okun victim to drop the hammer with the one law he should have been charged with in the beginning-RICO.

RICO Act and the Department of Justice:

“It is unlawful for anyone employed by or associated with any enterprise engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce, to conduct or participate, directly or indirectly, in the conduct of such enterprise’s affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity or collection of unlawful debt”

Justia.com Files

1. Plantiff Anita Hunter is suing Defendant Ed Okun, Okun Holdings, Inc., Investment Propertities of America, LLC and Richard B Simring
2. Cases Filed In: Northern California Federal District Court
3. Case: #5:2007cv02795
4. Filed: May 30, 2007 (correction)
5. Office: San Jose
6. County: Santa Clara County
7. Presiding Judge: Magistrate Richard Seeborg
8. Presiding Judge: Hon. James Ware
9. Referring Judge: Magistrate Richard Seeborg
10. Nature of Suit: RICO other statutes
11. Cause: 18:1962 Racketeering (RICO) Act
12. Jurisdiction: Federal Question
13. Jury Demanded By: Plaintiff

Okun Victims Notice: Judge Authorizes “Telephonic Participation” In June 11th Fee Application Hearing

According to US Trustee Gerald McHale’s latest notice the following developments have taken place for the upcoming June 11, 2008 Fee Application hearing. This hearing is taking place to review the application for payment of fees by the many entities that are being utilized by the Okun victims in their fight to recover their stolen monies. The following is from McHale’s June 5th notice:

“PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the Honorable Martin Glenn, United States Bankruptcy Judge, has authorized counsel and parties appearing in this case to attend and participate telephonically, via Courtcall, in the hearing to be held before the Court on June 11,2008 at 11 :00 a.m. (the “June 1 1 Hearing”) concerning the First Interim Fee Applications for Allowance of Compensation and Reimbursement of Expenses of (i) Gerard A. McHale, Jr., the Chapter 11Trustee.”

The first round of negotiations of fee applications begins as the monies being sought for victims again take a hit. It seems like everyone wants to get paid but the people most deserving are getting nothing and have lost the most.

Former Ed Okun Interviewee Speaks Out: Most Outrageous Okun Story Yet?

The list of stories about Ed Okun just increased by one with the following candid and eye opening comment left on deansguide. The comment by, Alden Chevlan, a man who was being wooed by Okun’s organization for a position in their legal department is all too familiar. Tons of money thrown around, no business sense, a suspicious lack of business acumen and a sad case of spending other people’s money for fun.

“I am not surprized to read of the demise of IPofA. I interviewed with the company for the number two legal spot in 2006. After a brief visit (less than two hours)I returned to the airport and my home. Shortly thereafter I was offered a position by the HR director, without ever meeting my future CEO (a former paralegal who had worked with Okun’s outside law firm), or Okun. When I inquired about a second interview, my wife and I were flown to Richmond, put up in a lavish hotel, etc, with no expenses spared. The strange thing was that no interview time had been set and the CEO had not taken the time to review my travle schedule. I did meet with her, with barely enough time to return the rental car and catch my flight. She met me in a “poodle skirt” wearing “Queen Bee” fluffy slippers and spent the entire hour on the phone with Okun who was frantic over the disappearnace of his poodle. MY wife met the office staff, which consisted of two of the CEO’s sisters and a handful of seemingly nice people. I never heard from them again and my wife was quite relieved after learning of the CEO’s paralegal background and her staff of siblings. I did get a nice gift bag with a T-shirt, hat, coffee mug, calculator, sunscreen and other objetcs all advertising his Indy racing team.”

From Is This Where the 1031 Tax Group Victim’s Monies Disappeared?, 2008/06/05 at 11:22 PM

Newsflash-Deadline To Dispute Ed Okun 1031 Tax Group Recovery “Fee Applications” May 29: The Money Leaking Out Of Your Pocket

One of the most difficult realities in the Ed Okun rip off and scandal of the 1031 Tax Group, beyond how this guy could get away with it for so long, is the amount of money (debtor recovery funds) victims will pay for the privilege of attempting to recover their own monies.

If you are a debtor (owed monies in this case) and you wish to dispute the amount of legal fees, administrative fees, and every other Tom-Dick-n’ Harry with his collective hand in your pocket fees being sought, then NOW is the time for you to speak up.

Deadline To Dispute

According to US Trustee Gerald McHale’s website story “Order Setting New Fee App Hearing on 6/11/2008″ your cut off to dispute these costs:

ORDERED, that any party wishing to object to these fee applications must file an objection by Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 5:00 p.m.”

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?

“Next Generation” Realtor’s Marketing Tool: Ning.com Social Networks Viral Marketing Power

“Nothing endures but change” Heraclitus Greek philosopher

Social networking sites like linkedin, myspace, facebook, and plaxo utilize viral loop or viral networking in order to grow traffic to your site. The problem for Realtors and affiliates is that these sites are either targeted to the wrong audience, myspace.com, or they are flat with limited features bloggers enjoy on their blogs.

Ning.com is changing the social networking landscape. Ning allows users, for free, to set up their own “social network.” The treasure trove of Ning features and benefits:

Social Networking

1. Create a full Social Network, for free, that you customize and brand as your own

2. Invite members, meet new people, network within or outside your business niche

3. Full message center with address book importing from Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Hotmail.

4. Customizable profile pages.

5. Photo slideshows, video players, music players, and network badges, that can be embeded anywhere on the Internet, seamlessly funneling new people to your network.

6. RSS feeds of your network’s features, such as members, discussions, photos, videos, music/podcasts, and blog posts.

7. Members can set different privacy settings for every photo, video, group, or blog post they contribute.

Full Customization

1. Add your own logo, branding, and visual design to make your network unique

2. Choose from a variety of themes and customize them to make them your own

3. Make your network public or private

4. Customize the appearance of your branded photo slideshow, video player, music/podcast player widgets and network badges

5. Customize the profile questions your network asks when members join. Make questions private, so that the answers are only viewable by you and your Network Administrators

6. Enable “one-click” Facebook Promotion so your members can add photo slideshows, video players, and music/podcasts from your network seamlessly into Facebook

7. Choose to moderate photos and videos before they are posted

8. Choose from a set of supported languages (English, Chinese, Dutch, French, Portuguese, Spanish) or translate your social network into any unsupported language by changing one file in the code

Discussion Forum

1. Start and tag a discussion

2. Add discussion posts and reply to those posts

3. Organize discussions by categories

4. Click through the personal profile pages of other members engaged in the discussion

5. View all discussions across your social network

Groups

1. Enable members of your network to create groups

2. Enable members of your network to make groups public or private

3. Add group descriptions, images, discussions, and members

NIN’s Trent Reznor’s Direct Marketing Approach: How Realtor’s Can Understand The Power Of Value

Trent Reznor is a hard core rock n roll singer who looks the part and acts the part. He is the centerpiece of a very successful band: Nine Inch Nails. What can Realtors learn from a screaming rock God?

Marketing direct to the consumer is all about giving away what your target audience values, continuously giving value to your audience, and giving away value without asking or demanding anything in return.

Reznor’s Plan A Purple Cow?

Seth Godin author of “The Purple Cow” and marketing guru for the ages suggests many of the concepts Reznor has adopted in his approach to marketing his music.

Value Prop #1: Giving Away “The Slip” As An Introduction

In a great article by Eliot Van Buskirk of Wired.com NIN’s latest album “The Slip” is being offered online for free to any fans who wish to download the music to MP3, lossless (FLAC or Apple) or 24-bit, 96-kHz WAV files. The album-CD goes on sale in July so this is a free introduction to fans

Realtors: What can you provide your audience for free that is of value and makes you a valued expert in the eyes of your audience? Blogs written with expert advice, sources, tools, and tips would fill this order

Value Prop #2: Selling Tickets Direct To Fans

In an effort to remove the inflated ticket prices that come with widespread “scalping”, Reznor now sells concert tickets directly, through their website, to fans. Each ticket is printed with the fan’s name on it; the supply is controlled giving the perception of exclusivity while keeping the average fan coming out due to ticket affordability

Realtors: How can you help a consumer save money, avoid dishonest deals, or help them understand the changing real estate landscape? Educate your audience on deceptive lending practices, on proper home inspection, or provide them information on avoiding PMI

Value Prop #3: Staying In Direct Contact With Your Audience

nin.com provides their audience with Official NIN news, discography, tour dates, video clips, and answers to submitted questions. Fans can subscribe to the site feed and everything is free. In addition Reznor and the band communicates directly with their audience by posting articles and answering fan questions

Realtors: If you believe that staying in touch with today’s buyer or seller entails placing a listing print ad in a local rag, commenting to a real estate columnist in a local rag, sending out email announcements aka Spam, or writing a 1x per month newsletters you are mired in Web Zero and in need of a Web 2.0 makeover.