Plan & Disclosure Statement Conference Call 9-10-09: Okun Victims Sorting Through The Rubble

Ed OkunCourtesy Backgroundnow.com

September 10, 2009 Gerald McHale, US Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Trustee, lead a conference call Q & A session for the purpose of providing  “a forum for creditors and victims alike to ask any questions they may have had related to the Bankruptcy and also to the Class Action litigation against Ed Okun and his 1031 Tax Group.” With the way the victims have been victimized they might as well have scheduled this call for September 11th as a 9-1-1 call seems to mirror the entire case.

Conference Call Speakers

The following people connect to this case were invited to answer questions from the victims:

Participating in the call as speakers were:

  • Gerard “Jerry” McHale, Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Trustee
  • Jonathan Flaxer of Golenbock, Eiseman, who represents the Trustee
  • Jacqueline Veit of Golenbock, Eiseman, who, with Michael Devorkin, serve as chief litigators for the Trustee
  • John Sordillo of Deloitte, who served as Forensic Accountants and Real Estate Advisors for the Estate
  • Robert “Rusty” Brace, who is the lead counsel in the Class Action litigation (no information available)
  • Mark Felger of Cozen, O’Conner who acts as counsel for the Creditors’ Committee

Mission of the Call: McHale’s Statement

“We hope this call answered your questions you may have had regarding the Plan and future events related to the ongoing administration of the Liquidating Trust after the confirmation of the Plan.”

The Results

A call to action for the people involved with this call:

  • Did the call help your understanding of circumstances surrounding your efforts to collect your monies?
  • Were you satisfied with the format of the conference call?
  • Did you feel you were given the opportunity to express your concerns or opinions?
  • Are the results of this call confidential information or do you have the ability to express your opinions publicly?

Ed Okun Tax Group Scandal Reaching Climax: Is Recovery of Monies in The Cards?

Reuters.com published this deansguide article September 26, 2008

United States Trustee Gerald McHale’s 9th newsletter briefing of the status of the Ed Okun 1031 Tax Group case highlights the difficulty and frustration of trying to “get blood from a stone.” The proverbial stone being Okun and the assets which seem to either be non existent or hiding.

Highlights or Lowlights?

The people waiting for some type of settlement must be getting very restless and asking questions non stop. I am sure Mr. McHale is doing his best to get as much money back as possible but the following plea says it all:

McHale in an open plea to the “Train Wreck Victims”

“Trust me when I say that it goes against my open nature and I know how frustrating it must be not to have your questions answered in detail. . . “

Major Points

1. Supplemental Proof of Loss was filed by McHale July 30, 2008 “containing extensive analysis”

Analysis: What effect this supplement will have on recovery is anyone’s guess. At least McHale is working as much information into the mix as possible in regards to proving further damages and seeking compensation. The frustration for victims is they are often kept in the dark

2. JPS Capital, our old friends (Mr. Shapiro) who decided to set the record straight with deansguide but never delivered on that promise, are now a target of litigation or as McHale so clinically puts it “we have commenced an action against JPS and other parties asserting an interest in the New Hampshire lakeside mansion.” The goal is to recover $5.1 million in debtor monies

3. Richard Simring and David Field Plead guilty. For more information see Julie Kay’s article in it’s entirety on McHale’s site here

4. Ed Okun and Laura Coleman trial dates set for January of 2009

The saga continues as more money is being recovered, fewer players are left standing, and the victims remain holding the bag!

Okun promises
Monies disappear

Mystery caller

Okun Indicted On 27 Counts: Is Okun On Suicide Watch?

Ed Okun and accomplice Lara Coleman, somebody the mystery caller mentioned months ago as “going down”, face a 27 count indictment as handed down and reported by Gerald McHale this past week. The indictment laundry list of counts:

1. Wire and Mail Fraud Conspiracy: Count 1
2. Money Laundering Conspiracy: Count 2
3. Wire Fraud: Counts: 3-15 (1343)
4. Mail Fraud: Counts: 16-18 (1341)
5. Money Laundering: Counts 19-21 18 USC & (1956 (a) (1) (A) (i))
6. Money Laundering: Count 22 18 USC & (1956 (a) (1) (B) (i))
7. Money Laundering: Counts 23-25 USC & (1957)
8. Bulk Cash Smuggling: Count 26 31 USC & 5332
9. False Declaration: 18 USC & 1623

In the face of this indictment, the fact reported by Mark Heschmeyer that one of his buildings (Shreveport) has natural gas deposits valued at $30-60million-something he can’t touch, and the possible collapse of his marriage and network of friends, it is rumored that Ed Okun has been placed on suicide watch.

Here is one of the only pictures available on the internet of Ed Okun (far right) during a press conference announcing the sponsorship agreement with Foyt Racing. Photo courtesy of Foyt Racing.

Note: This conference was in 2006 long before it was public news that Ed Okun’s wealth was derived from the ponzi scheme known as 1031 Tax Group and affiliates:

//www.foytracing.com/IndyCar/2006_reports/photos/IMG_1458.JPG” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Newsflash: Denver “Okun Victims” Sue Former IXG Founders

IBS affiliate WX1112.com Greensboro Winston-Salem, NC published this deansguide article June 21, 2008

The plot continues to thicken as swindled investors scramble to recover what few pennies exist from their embezzled 1031 exchange funds, many representing investor life savings, in the fallen Ed Okun 1031 Tax Group “Ponzi” scheme.

A concerned “citizen” sent the following link to a June 20, 2008 Denver Business Journal storyEx-clients sue IXG founders in 1031 Tax Group Bankruptcy.” According to writer Renee McGaw ex-Okun employees Daniel and Shirley McCabe are the subjects of the lawsuit and controversy.

The McCabes were the original owners of the Investment Exchange Group (IXG) in Denver until Okun purchased the business in August of 2006 through his 1031 Tax Group business.

In the Denver Business Journal article Jeffrey Cohen, attorney for Denver based victims of the McCabes and Okun, stated:

We believe that the McCabes misused and mishandled funds that were under their control”

Main Source

http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/stories/2008/06/23/story3.html

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?

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