September 10, 2009 Gerald McHale, US Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Trustee, leada 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:
The following is an amazing comment sent to deansguide from a person claiming to be one of the Ed Okun jurors in the Ed Okun criminal trial. The often sad and terrible case of Edward Okun has just ended in a courtroom in Richmond, Virginia. The verdict: GUILTY!
Editor’s Note: I became aware of Ed Okun through a title insurance source who tipped me to the fact that a very nasty scandal was about to hit a number of investors in Silicon Valley in April of 2007. That tip led to my participation as one of the leading information sources for the Ed Okun ponzi case. In that time the following ocurred:
I met 16 of the original 350 Trainwreck members with Elizabeth Callanan leading the charge of information and a true force behind much of my writing
I consulted with Mike Maiello Forbes Magazine editor on the case
My mystery caller, from Miami, claimed to have inside Okun information (which he did) kept in contact with me throughout the proceedings
I was threatened by a powerful New York law firm where one of the principles had a very shady past
I was threatened over the phone by an unknown caller who claimed to be “connected”
I was approved as one of the only blogs, by the US Attorney’s office in Virginia, to move information forward regarding dates and times. This was the work of my good friend Elizabeth
I highlighted 3 Okun victims who lost their life savings and attempted to provide new information
I wrote upwards of 70 articles on the Okun case and surrounding path of wreckage in the number of lives effected, savings stolen, and retirements ruined
Although the laundry list of charges include, according to theAssociated Press story, 23 counts of fraud, money laundering, bulk cash laundering, and making false statements, the following comment really says it best:
I served as a juror on the Edward Okun case in the U.S. Eastern District Court of VA. While we (the jury)found him guilty of all charges today 3/19/09, it was hard watching Okun as the verdicts were read. I am now able to see all of the stories that are out there about him and all the damage he has done to so many people. It helps verify that the jury made the right decision based on the evidence we were presented in court. I know that many lives were ruined, but am glad to know that I played a role in stopping him from harming anymore people.
Sensing his fleeting chances at freedom, 1031 Tax Group investment criminal Ed Okun made what looks to be his last feable attempt for release yesterday–he was denied! Okun’s attempt centered around a defense motion for release based on a 3rd party custodian (required terms for his release) a Mr. Alex Carrera. The defense attorney in the case, one of a long line who have come and gone no doubt at either taxpayer’s expense or that of Okun’s victims, originally proposed that Mr. Carrera would be present at the November 5 hearing: Carrera was a no show.
The following is the tip from ever present and well informed Okun victim Elizabeth Callanan. Elizabeth has been a huge source of information and guidance in my 1 1/2 years of coverage on the Ed Okun rip off and eventual prosecution. The following comment will give all involved a much clearer picture of what has just transpired. This comment came in the last 24 hours. Certain passages were highlighted for reader convenience:
“Judge Payne DENIED Okun’s motion for release. The 3rd party custodian (required for Okun’s release) originally proposed in the defense’s motion, an Alex Carrera, was a no-show at the hearing, despite the Defense’s new attorney (a private attorney with an office in Washington, DC, named Barry Pollack — so Okun now has THREE attorneys, including the two from the public defender’s office, at US taxpayer expense!)telling the Judge he’d spoken to Carrera the previous afternoon and had every reason to believe he would be there and couldn’t explain why he wasn’t. Interestingly, his absence could not have been a surprise to Simone Bolani (Okun’s Brazilian bride), since she’d recruited a substitute, Edwin Escobar, the night before the hearing (odd she wouldn’t have shared that information with her husband’s attorney, isn’t it?) who did appear in the courtroom. However, under questioning by the US Attorney, Escobar had to admit that he was apparently guilty of one of the same offenses with which Okun was originally indicted, namely asking Okun to pay him $10,000 he was owed for some reason in increments of less than that to avoid IRS reporting limits! Judge Payne must have thought that wasn’t the most stellar qualification for a third party custodian and denied the motion. He also expressed chagrin that Carrera, described in the defense motion as a “family friend,” had in fact only met Okun once, at Simone’s Feb 2008 birthday party, and had not seen Okun since. He cautioned the defense not to bring any further such motions unless they’d personally interviewed the proposed custodian and assured themselves of the facts being claimed and that they were in fact suitably qualified to serve in that capacity. Thanks to Judge Payne and the US Attorney (Michael Dry), it looks like Okun’s appearance at his criminal trial which begins Jan 19 has been assured.”
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:
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:
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”
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
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.”
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.