LandAmerica Exchange Services Victim: “Any Class Action Lawsuits Yet?”

Reuters.com published this deansguide article 12-12-08

Another deansguide readers, in the growing line of LandAmerica exchange victims, has spoken out. The message from Cathy is loud and clear. How do victims, who have lost their entire or majority life savings, pay for legal assistance in pursuing their “stolen” monies?

The Conundrum

1. Spend Money: pursue “lost” life savings by using what little money you have left or going into debt to attempt to pay for legal representation.

2. Chalk It Up: chalk it up to experience. Do not pursue recovery by spending money. Hope for the best but do not chase your money with more money. Allow LandAmerica to skate free of charge.

3. Legal Action: hope for a class action lawsuit where no investor’s money is required to possibly recover lost monies.

Cathy’s Comment

“I, too, have a big chunk of change stuck in LES. Now, I know I have to file my proof of claim, but who can afford a lawyer, now? Are there any class action lawsuits going on yet against LES? Hate to give what little I have left to an attorney.

thanks for anything.”
Cathy

Ed Okun vs. LandAmerica Exchange Services: Different Situation Same Results?

Due Diligence Warning: I am neither an attorney, tax accountant, nor legal entity of any kind. The information provided is not a call to action nor is it advice on how to handle your financial situation with LandAmerica Exchange Services or any other financial institution. Before entering a 1031 Exchange or any other investment vehicle perform your due diligence investigation.

According to MarketWatch.com article dated November 26, 2008, LandAmerica Financial Group filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection and will sell 3 of it’s units to FNF.

According to NewsDaily.com “LandAmerica files for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection:

“I am deeply disappointed over the need to file for bankruptcy protection for the LandAmerica holding company and the 1031 company,” Chief Executive Theodore Chandler

Elizabeth Callagnan one of the Ed Okun 1031 Advance ponzi victims points out:

“. . . their (LES customers) 1031 is filing for bankruptcy which means all those exchangers are going to find themselves and their lifesavings mired in the same bankruptcy court hell that the 350 (Train wreck victims nickname for Ed Okun’s ponzi scheme victims) robbed by Okun are now drowning in.”

The following letter was forwarded to me by Elizabeth. It is the alleged letter sent to LES exchange clients regarding their monies. If any other readers, clients of LES, have received the same notice please comment below.

“Dear Valued Customer:

We regret to inform you that, effective November 24, 2008, Land America 1031 Exchange Services Company, Inc. (“LES) is accepting no new customers and is terminating it’s operations. Although the total par value of our 1031 exchange funds exceeds the value of all funds received from our customers, portions of the 1031 funds are invested in ILLIQUID auction rate securities. Our inability to sell or borrow against these securities has precipitated our decision to terminate operations.

Q: Why are 1031 client funds invested in anything without their knowledge? If clients were given the option to provide their 1031 monies for investment into “guaranteed student loans” how many would approve such an investment? Btw what does the term “illiquid” mean?

LES has long invested 1031 deposits only in investment Grade Securities Rated A or stronger, including auction rate securities backed by federally guaranteed student loans. Our goal for the exchange funds has been to maintain the full liquidity necessary to meet customer with-drawl demands. The auction rate securities in our exchange funds, which were sold to us by certain financial institutions, were highly liquid for many years. As has been widely publicized, the auction rate securities market froze earlier this year, and that extenuating circumstance prevents us from liquidating the auction rate securities held in the exchange funds.


Q: Are the 1031 exchange clients made aware of the practice of LES of investing 1031 exchanger monies in auction rate securities market?

We understand that this situation is detrimental to you, and we can only assure you that we have taken every reasonable step possible to avoid the problem, including pursuing numerous liquidity options to no avail. You will be provided soon with details regarding the establishment of a process for submitting claims relating to exchange funds.

This situation involves LES and not any other LandAmerica companies. Specifically, LandAmerica title insurers are highly regulated companies, with legal identities and assets completely separate from LES. These insurers have more than sufficient assets to meet their obligations to policyholder and escrow customers.

Q: Does the sentence ‘These insurers have more than sufficient assets to meet their obligations to policyholder and escrow customers’ guarantee that 1031 exchange clients of LES will have all of their invested monies returned to them in full?

Sincerely,

LANDAMERICA 1031 EXCHANGE SERVICES COMPANY, INC.”


“Hiding in Plain Sight” Spitzer and Okun: Did They Want To Get Caught?

Reuters.com published this article on March 25, 2008: “US News”

Reuters.com published this article on March 25, 2008: “Business and Finance” 

FoxBusiness.com 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. Costar.com’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.