For decades, the WatchTower Society has repeatedly portrayed its' Jehovah's Witness members as "the most honest people on earth" -- because Jehovah's Witnesses supposedly are members of "the only true religion" on earth. The following state and federal employment related criminal and civil court cases are not intended as evidence that Jehovah's Witnesses are more dishonest than other employees, but rather are intended to demonstrate that Jehovah's Witnesses are just as dishonest, or honest, as are other members of the human population -- whether religious or non-religious. Mounting evidence, however, seems to indicate that a higher than normal percentage of Jehovah's Witness Investment salespersons -- stockbrokers, commodity brokers, and others -- are turning to criminal behavior. Thus, we begin this website Section with two pages of Ponzi Scheme and other Stocks and Commodities Investments type cases.
One can't help but wonder how many Jehovah's Witnesses and others have been ripped off by fellow JWs over the decades, because JWs are taught NOT to report such crimes to "worldly" authorities in order to not harm the public reputation of the WatchTower religion. I actually have personal experience of such occurring. In the mid-1960s, a Jehovah's Witness whom I recall as being described as a WatchTower Society "Special Pioneer" moved through our area selling a worthless stock investment to local JWs, and to whomever else local JWs would vouch for his honesty and integrity. My very poor father, grandfather, and one great-uncle (now all deceased) lost every single penny they gave to that Jehovah's Witness Conman to invest for them. None of my poorly educated relatives knew anything at all about investing in "stocks", but did so solely because they believed everything that the JW Pioneer told them, while also believing that someone in his position in the WatchTower Society would never deceive them. When they shortly discovered that they had been SCAMMED, the only ones to whom the JW Pioneer and his Scam were reported were other WatchTower representatives -- who would promise to "do something about it", but never did. I personally recall the very last "sit-down" in the latter 1960s with a newly moved-in Congregation Servant, named Ralph Moore, who on hearing about such promised that he would get to the bottom of the matter. Like all of the others before him, after he left to investigate such, not only was nothing done, but you could not even get him to further discuss the matter.
2012 2021 UPDATE. In 2012, I learned that the JW Elder/Special Pioneer -- now in his 80s -- whom I believe was the MAIN JW Elder to whom my relatives reported the JW Pioneer con man, and whom did little or nothing about it, and whom probably tainted later inquiries by other JW Elders, had his retirement interrupted, and had to begin supplementing his Social Security as a part-time janitor. WHY? Elderly JW Elder's retirement fund was nearly wiped out after he invested much assets with one of the JW con men listed below!!!)
Readers specifically interested in the topic of Jehovah's Witness Honesty and Integrity should be aware that related financial dishonesty court cases are scattered throughout this website -- specifically the JW BUSINESS OWNERS page and the JW DISABILITY page. Readers should also refer to the 20 PACKED webpages of other types of criminal court cases which are posted on our JW CHILDREN website linked from this website's Homepage.
Click, A FELLOW JEHOVAH'S WITNESS STOLE MY IDENTITY, to read a longer story posted on its own dedicated webpage. This story is an educational read for non-JWs given that the story provides insider details of life inside the WatchTower Cult, as well as pertinent recent history facts.
CLICK THE FOLLOWING SUB-SECTION LINKS TO JUMP AHEAD IN THIS 14 PAGE SECTION:
WATCHTOWER LEADERS FINANCIAL COURT CASES (2 Pages)
KINGDOM HALL CONSTRUCTION COURT CASES (2 Pages)
REALTORS & REAL ESTATE COURT CASES
EMPLOYEE THEFT & EMBEZZLEMENT COURT CASES
INSURANCE SALES & CLAIMS COURT CASES
GIFTS, WILLS, and ESTATES COURT CASES (2 Pages)
ACCOUNTING & BANKING COURT CASES
MISCELLANEOUS COURT CASES (2 Pages)
ALLEGED PONZI SCHEMES and other
STOCKS & COMMODITIES INVESTMENT CASES
SUBSECTION PAGE 1 OF 2
VINCENT JULIUS DORTCH MASS MURDERS-SUICIDE. On the same day that his elderly Jehovah's Witness Father died, active Jehovah's Witness Minister Vincent Dortch purchased the two handguns that he used three weeks later to murder three business associates, wound a fourth associate, and commit suicide as police moved in.
Vincent Dortch was a member of a large, extended multi-generation African-American Jehovah's Witness Family living along the Atlantic coast from Brooklyn to Lynchburg, Virginia. Vincent Dortch grew up in Brooklyn. As an adult, Dortch lived beyond his means, was constantly in debt that he could not repay, and filed bankruptcy multiple times.
Shortly after the meeting commenced, Dortch pulled one of his two handguns, ripped out the telephone plugin, and began to accuse the three D/Os (two African-Americans and one caucasian) of stealing money from the corporation. Dorch then ordered a fourth attendee to bind the three D/Os with duct tape. Dortch then told the three D/Os that they had a minute or two to pray. Dortch then shot the three D/Os, but also accidentally wounded another man. Dortch ordered the fourth attendee to bind with duct tape the man whom he had accidentally shot. Then, Dortch again shot the three D/Os in their heads for good measure.
Vincent Dortch then kidnapped the two other attendees whom he promised that he would not harm. Dortch wanted them to accompany him to New York, where was another investor whom he wanted to kill, but who had not attended the meeting. Outside the building, the two unharmed attendees managed to talk Dortch out of going after the man in NY. Dortch took them back inside and bound them with duct tape.
In the meantime, the wounded man had managed to get out of his bindings, repair the telephone line, and call 911. Responding police encountered Dortch in the offices. Dortch fired one shot at them before retreating and quickly shooting himself in his head. Names of the two unharmed attendees were not released.
It really is a small JW world. Recently, this Editor discovered that a JW "Special Pioneer" who had done this editor multiple personal injustices many decades ago, turns out to be a very close California relative of WEP, thus likely involved in one or more of the WEP businesses mentioned on this and following pages. JW Special Pioneer also acted as a "spy" for two other JW Hypocrites mentioned on this very webpage -- when it was JW SP who in fact was the primary perpetrator of the various events. JWs who never get to see the inside of WatchTower World have no clue that it is a SEWER, where only younger RATS are promoted to work for the OLD RATS.
WILLIAM E. PARODI SR.
FORMER BETHELITE??? In the mid 1960s, William E. Parodi purportedly left university shortly prior to graduating. According to a 1980s marketing brochure, Bill Parodi thereafter took an "entry-level position" with a "large printing firm". Hmmmm!!!
William E. Parodi served on the Orange County, California HOSPITAL LIAISON COMMITTEE for nearly 13 years from 1992 until 2005.
In 2019, William E. Parodi appeared at the June meeting of the Jackson Hole, Wyoming AIRPORT BOARD on behalf of the Jackson Hole Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses seeking the Board's permission to do "cart witnessing" at the Jackson Hole Airport. Bill and "Dee" Parodi have a summer home in Jackson Hole, as reportedly do other wealthy JWs.
We believe that Bill Parodi and his multi-decades computer programmer partner, their multiple computer-related businesses, and their myriad of JW Elder, MS, etc. computer-expert employees are the people actually responsible for many of the much-heralded computer innovations at the various WatchTower Society facilities.
THREE VALLEYS MUNICIPAL WATER DISTRICT ET AL v. WILLIAM E. PARODI, SR. ET AL was a 1988-97 California federal civil court case, in which the aforementioned California Municipalities and governmental entities attempted to recover some of the $8,279,000.00 which they allegedly lost while doing business with the Parodi Brothers and their employers. The lawsuit also requested $16 million in punitive damages. Some entities managed to settle their cases. Other plaintiffs litigated their claims only to have the federal courts send their claims to arbitration -- the awards which some plaintiffs believed to be too small.
WatchTower Society spokesperson David Goldfarb is also a member of the Board Of Directors at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. An online David Goldfarb resume indicates that Goldfarb has participated in significant fund-raising for the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust.
In June 2008, David Goldfarb spoke at a UCLA School of Medicine seminar promoting the WatchTower Society's prohibition against Jehovah's Witnesses receiving blood transfusions. David Goldfarb's title was listed at the UCLA seminar as, "Chairman, Los Angeles Hospital Liaison Committee for Jehovah's Witnesses". David Goldfarb has been a member of the Los Angeles County Hospital Liaison Committee for Jehovah's Witnesses since 1992.
A LOS ANGELES TIMES article dated February 2, 2012, reported on a Los Angeles area doctor who had been treating Jehovah's Witnesses with leukemia without the normal use of blood transfusions. Quoted at the beginning of the article, and possibly the person who arranged this media event, was David Goldfarb, whom the reporter described as "chairman of the Los Angeles-area Hospital Liaison Committee for the Jehovah's Witnesses."
According to its 1990 corporation filing, David Goldfarb was one of the two founding members of the Virginia Avenue Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses in Santa Monica, California.
Some of multi-millionaire Jehovah's Witness businessman David Goldfarb's business activities are also "highly interesting". Since at least the early 1990s, and apparently continuing up until just recently, David Goldfarb has been a business partner/associate with another Los Angeles-area Jehovah's Witness named Bill Parodi -- not just in one business, but in multiple business ventures. Some of Bill Parodi's business-related legal interactions are summarized below.
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION v. KENNETH TAVES ET AL is a 1999-2000 California federal civil lawsuit in which the F.T.C. prosecuted an INTERNET PORNOGRAPHER for fraudulently charging the credit/debit cards of thousands of persons who had never ever visited one of his 14 PORN websites. At the time, this prosecution was lauded as both the LARGEST CASE EVER involving Pornography, and the LARGEST CASE EVER involving credit card related fraud. The credit/debit card processing service company which acted as the intermediary between Taves, Taves' bank accounts, and the credit card companies, was a Los Angeles area company called AUTOMATED TRANSACTION SERVICES, INC., which just so happened to be owned by -- guess who -- David Goldfarb and Bill Parodi. David Goldfarb testified for the F.T.C. at the TAVES trial. Interestingly, at trial, Taves asserted that ATS and its two owners were co-conspirators in the credit card "thefts". David Goldfarb not only denied conspiring with Taves, but he denied ever suspecting that Taves was committing credit card fraud.
David Goldfarb testified that Automated Transaction Services processed credit/debit card and electronic check payments for Taves' multiple companies and multiple websites from January 1995 until Taves' operations were shut down in December 1998. David Goldfarb testified that he was personally in charge of handling the Taves account at ATS. Interestingly, in calendar year 1997, ATS deposited just under $5 MILLION into Taves' bank accounts. However, starting in 1998, those ATS deposits suddenly jumped to $4 MILLION and more PER MONTH (after Taves began to charge the cards of thousands of persons who had never visited his websites.) ATS earned upwards of $2.7 MILLION from Taves just in 1998, which Goldfarb testified was around 15% of ATS's total income in 1998.
Goldfarb also testified that Bill Parodi and he established a joint bank account in the Caymen Islands, at Taves' request. That joint account was used to receive payments from ATS owed to Taves, which were then transferred into Taves' own Caymen Island account. That joint account then received payments back from Taves' account which were owing to ATS for services performed for Taves' companies.
David Goldfarb also disclosed that Bill Parodi and he owned part of WORLD BANKCARD ASSOCIATES, INC. (the court record is unclear whether Goldfarb and Parodi EACH owned 15% of World Bankcard, or whether they owned 15% combined), which was another "fee-based support service" company which arranged for Taves and other similarly situated "merchants" who were having problems obtaining bank "merchant accounts" to obtain such from certain cooperating Banks willing to do business with them. (At that time, few Banks wanted to be known as doing business with pornographers. World Bankcard "helped" Taves open a "merchant account" at three different banks, and thereafter received a commission from every deposit made into Taves' accounts. See Newspaper article linked below.)
David Goldfarb also disclosed that ATS actually did business with around 200 INTERNET PORNOGRAPHY COMPANIES, each of which had multiple websites (actually, Goldfarb ballparked the figure at "a couple hundred'). How many internet pornography companies even existed in the Los Angeles area back in the 1990s before every home had a computer? Does anyone else suspect that ATS may have been the California PORN INDUSTRY's "go-to" company for credit card processing? Although Goldfarb and Parodi had only founded ATS sometime in 1994, Taves began doing business with ATS when he started his operations in January 1995. How many Americans had home computers in 1994, and how many retailers and other "merchants" were doing online business in 1994, and needed the services of a company like ATS? ATS referred to itself as a "pioneer" in the credit card service industry for a reason -- it was.
Despite David Goldfarb's "hmmmm" testimony, the USDC chose to ignore any possibility that Goldfarb, Parodi, and ATS had conspired with Taves. In fact, in its "opinion", the USDC repeatedly had to re-assert the court's continuing belief in Goldfarb's honesty and credibility. (Had the USDC somehow learned that David Goldfarb was a prominent Jehovah's Witness Leader?)
Goldfarb and Parodi later sold ATS in June 1999 -- probably after it became obvious that their business relationship with the PORN INDUSTRY was going to become public knowledge during the TAVES trial proceedings. ATS was "acquired" by Innuity, Inc. David Goldfarb was elected to Innuity's Board of Directors, and he continued to oversee operations at the former ATS, which underwent a name change, until July 2001. It is not known if Bill Parodi continued working at the former ATS after the acquisition. Innuity sold off the former ATS in 2004, and it is still doing business under a different name.
Click here to read Ken Taves' sworn affidavit given during a later but related 2002 private civil lawsuit, in which Taves alleges that he had no technology background nor skills, and that he depended on the advice and assistance of a network of companies which provided fee-based support services to the PORN industry, including Automated Transaction Services, to handle all of the technological aspects of his operations.
Click "Take The Money and Run (For the Border)" to read author Lewis Perdue's analysis of the TAVES trial in his 2002 book: EROTICA BIZ: How Sex Shaped The Internet.
Click "Porn In The USA" to read a November 2000 newspaper article about the internet Pornography industry and the financial services industry which supported them, including additional information about Kenneth Taves, David Goldfarb, and Automated Transaction Services.
David Goldfarb and Bill Parodi employed a number of their fellow JW Elders, Ministerial Servants, and other JWs, including wives, at Automated Transaction Services, who would have known the identity of ATS's clientele. Andy Varble, aka Andrew Varble, believed to be an "elder" at the Westlake Village Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, was ATS's "Business Development Manager". We have identified at least two other managers who probably were JW elders.
Click this AMICUS CURIE BRIEF link to see who the members of the U.S. Congress and U.S. Senate sought out in 1998 to provide them with expert information regarding the intricacies of credit card processing in the Internet Pornography industry. Yes, one of the experts interviewed was a Manager employed at ATS named Scott Lockwood. Google that name along with the keyterms "jehovah's" and "software".
JERRY STAUFFER v. FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS (2022) reveals that when Wisconsin's Oxford FPC cancelled weekly "Jehovah's Witnesses" services in February 2017 that Jerry Stauffer was the only inmate attendee of services conducted by local Wisconsin Jehovah's Witness Elder Ron Kneifel, aka Ronald Kneifel. (Services at Oxford FPC may have been started for Stauffer given his June 2016 sentencing.) Transferred to Minnesota due to advancing age reasons, Jerry M. Stauffer (b1948) thereafter attempted unsuccessfully to keep this lawsuit "moot" by alleging that "Jehovah's Witnesses should be part of the regularly scheduled religious services at Oxford FPC" irregardless of Stauffer's absence.
UNITED STATES v. JERRY M. STAUFFER was a 2015-17 Michigan PONZI SCHEME federal prosecution. In 2016, Jerry Stauffer was convicted by a federal jury of one count each of wire fraud and money laundering, in connection with a foreign-currency-exchange (Forex) Ponzi scheme, and was sentenced to two 120-month concurrent sentences. His sentencing guidelines included a commodities-law enhancement and an obstruction-of-justice adjustment. Ordered restitution was $845,679.00.
Jerry M. Stauffer was a resident of Traverse City, Michigan, where he operated a boat-brokerage business named Atlantic Boat Brokers. At some point, Jerry Stauffer began to misrepresent himself as a Forex expert to certain ignorant and gullible local residents. Between 2009 and 2015, Stauffer accepted $1.8 MILLION from 15 persons in Michigan to trade on the Forex market. In return, Stauffer was to receive a share of the trading profits. Investors received monthly brokerage statements showing that Stauffer was trading with their money as promised, and, in several cases, that their investments were performing well. In reality, Stauffer traded very little, if any, investor funds. Jerry Stauffer's Forex trading was merely the cover for a Ponzi scheme. The statements were forged, and the profits were imaginary. After Stauffer told investors that he lost their money in a hack of his brokerage account, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) opened criminal and civil investigations. In February 2015, Jerry M. Stauffer was indicted on one count each of wire fraud and money laundering.
At trial, several investors testified regarding how they came to invest with Stauffer, the representations he made to them, and the hacking story he told when the scheme began to fall apart. Doug Baker testified that after he learned that Stauffer was a Forex trader, Douglas Baker asked to invest and signed an agreement allowing Stauffer to trade foreign currency on his behalf, making an initial investment of $20,000. The contract provided that the investment would be part of a common fund with a target 5% monthly compounding return, that Stauffer was not permitted to use funds for personal use, and that he would receive a share of any profits. Doug Baker made subsequent investments totaling $350,000. Each month, Douglas Baker received payments and account statements purporting to be from the United Kingdom branch of Interactive Brokers (IB), an Internet-based broker. (JW Insiders will recall that there is a RICH NATIONALLY PROMINENT JW FAMILY named "Baker" in downstate Michigan, but we have no idea whether the above "Baker" is part of that JW family.)
The payments stopped after July 2013, however, when Stauffer sent an email to Douglas Baker explaining that his online IB account had been hacked and a "considerable amount" of the funds were lost by the hacker making money-losing trades. Doug Baker received a statement in July 2013 that purported to be for IB account "U90", with an opening balance of $890,322.40 and a closing balance of $192,450. The statement also indicated that the U90 account had margin-trading capabilities.
IB's records contradicted Stauffer's hacking story. Brad Klauseger, an employee in IB's compliance department, testified that IB maintains a database recording all trading activity in an account, and that no two accounts have the same number. IB's records showed that Stauffer had two accounts, "U90" and "U10". The U90 account was opened in June 2010 as an "individual" non-margin account, and was closed in September 2010 without ever being funded. The U10 account permitted currency conversion, but not leveraged Forex trading; it was opened in August 2012 and was funded once with $10,000. The Government introduced as exhibits IB statements Stauffer had sent to investors. Klauseger testified that these statements were not genuine because the notations and trading activity they reflected were inconsistent with the records in IB's database. For example, a purported statement showed the U90 account as being an "advisor" and "margin account", when in reality it was a non-margin "individual" account; the statements also falsely showed that Stauffer's accounts were with IB's United Kingdom, rather than the United States, branch.
The trial lasted four days; the defense presented no evidence and Jerry Stauffer did not testify. In its closing argument, the Government argued that Stauffer accepted funds on the false pretense that they would be added to his Forex fund and invested. Instead, he forged IB statements to make it appear as if he was actively engaged in Forex trading, used investors' funds in a Ponzi-scheme-like manner (diverting money to personal use -- such as paying living expenses and credit-card debt -- while using later investments to pay "profits" on earlier investments), and falsely claimed to have been the victim of a hack to cover up the resulting losses. In his closing argument, Jerry Stauffer argued that he did operate a Forex fund just as he had told investors, that his hacking story was true and the IB statements he gave investors were genuine, and that the Government failed to investigate IB's records or security practices. The jury convicted Jerry M. Stauffer of both counts.
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION v. MICHAEL BRENT ROTHENBERG was a 2018-19 California federal civil court case. ROTHENBERG VENTURES was founded in 2012 by then 28 year-old Michael B. Rothenberg, who was reared in a VERY PROSPEROUS tight-knit, extended, multi-generation Jehovah's Witness family in/around Georgetown, Texas. Michael Rothenberg's (plus two brothers and one sister) "strict" Jehovah's Witness Parents include a father, Robert D. Rothenberg, who is a prosperous Real Estate developer and agent, and a mother, Patricia McMillan Rothenberg, who was a math teacher at Georgetown High School (See R. D. McMILLAN COMPANY). Mike Rothenberg holds a Masters degree from Stanford and a M.B.A. from Harvard. Along with 14 "limited partners", including his Jehovah's Witness Parents, Mike Rothenberg founded ROTHENBERG VENTURES in 2012. Rothenberg changed the name of his company in September 2016 to FRONTIER TECHNOLOGY VENTURE CAPITAL. On December 20, 2019, a federal district court ordered Michael B. Rothenberg to pay more than $31 million in disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and penalties in connection with the misappropriation of investor money.
In August 2016, multiple investment and technology websites began reporting that this San Francisco, California based venture capital firm had admitted that it was then being investigated by the S.E.C. after a former employee filed a "whistleblower" complaint in July 2016. Three additional former employees reportedly filed unpaid wage claims with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. A fourth former employee reportedly filed a civil lawsuit seeking reimbursement of business related expenses amounting to nearly $110,000.00. The City of San Francisco reportedly also filed a zoning complaint accusing Rothenberg of operating a business in a rented property zoned as "residential". Outcomes pending.
The SEC's complaint, filed in August 2018, alleged that Rothenberg marketed ROTHENBERG VENTURES a/k/a FRONTIER TECHNOLOGY VENTURE CAPITAL as uniquely positioned to identify millennial entrepreneurs and invest in "frontier technology" companies. Rothenberg and his firm allegedly misappropriated millions of dollars from the firm's funds, which Rothenberg used to support personal business ventures he claimed were self-funded and to pay for private parties and events at high-end resorts and Bay Area sporting arenas.
Without admitting or denying the allegations in the complaint, Rothenberg previously consented to the entry of a final judgment enjoining him from violating the anti-fraud provisions of the Investment Advisers Act, which was approved by the court on October 17, 2018. Rothenberg also agreed to be barred from the securities industry with a right to reapply after five years. Further, Rothenberg and the SEC agreed to have the court determine any monetary relief. The U.S. District Court granted the SEC's motion, ordering Rothenberg to pay disgorgement of $18,776,800, prejudgment interest of $3,663,323, and a civil penalty of $9,000,000.
UNITED STATES v. MICHAEL BRENT ROTHENBERG is an ongoing 2020-23 California federal criminal prosecution. Michael Rothenberg has been charged with 23 counts of criminal conduct stemming from his alleged fraudulent activities as founder of Rothenberg Ventures Management Company, LLC. The Government filed a criminal complaint alleging wire fraud on June 25, 2020. A 23 count waiver-less information and grand jury indictment followed on June 26, 2020 and August 20, 2020 respectively.
Michael Brent Rothenberg, age 36, was charged with 19 felony counts of wire fraud and other crimes in connection with several alleged investment schemes from 2013 to 2016. Mike Rothenberg was alleged to have raised millions of dollars to invest in Silicon Valley start-up companies, but allegedly took much higher fees than those to which he formally agreed. Federal officials said Rothenberg also committed bank fraud with alleged schemes to obtain money to make up for shortfalls in one of the funds he managed. Federal officials allege that, since 2013, Rothenberg fraudulently obtained at least $18.8 million through illegal conduct.
Rothenberg founded a venture capital company, Rothenberg Ventures Management Company, LLC that he used between 2013 and 2016 to raise and manage four annual funds whose purpose was to invest in Silicon Valley start-up companies, mostly those pursuing virtual reality technology.
The complaint alleges Rothenberg partially funded his money commitment to the second of those funds by committing bank fraud when, in 2014, made false statements about his wealth to his bank while refinancing his home mortgage. Federal officials allege that Rothenberg, while obtaining a $300,000 personal loan, poured some of the ill-gotten money he obtained from the bank into that second fund.
Federal officials also contend that, in 2015 Rothenberg took excessive venture capital fees from one of the funds he was managing at his Rothenberg Ventures Management Company, creating a shortfall in that fund he did didn't want his investors to know about. Rothenberg then allegedly engaged in a scheme to defraud a bank by making false statements and misrepresentations to that bank to obtain a $4 million line of credit to pay back the fund from which he had taken excess fees.
In February 2016, officials said, Rothenberg allegedly engaged in a scheme to defraud an investor who believed was investing in a Rothenberg-owned virtual reality content production company, when in fact most of that money is alleged to have gone somewhere else.
Overall, in connections to the above and other allegations, Rothenberg faces two counts of bank fraud, two counts of making a false statement in a loan application to an FDIC-insured lender, 11 counts of wire fraud and four counts of money laundering. Pending.
NOVEMBER 2023 UPDATE: A federal jury has convicted Rothenberg on nearly all counts. Sentencing has been set for March 2024.
LITTLE LOAN SHOPPE SCAM
Nelson allegedly raised over $135,000,000.00 from approximately 660 investors from 1999 to 2008. Approximately 75 percent of investors were active Jehovah's Witnesses from across Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Many of these Jehovah's Witness Investors were sucked into the scam by PAUL COOPER -- a prominent JEHOVAH'S WITNESS ELDER, who reportedly set up a separate investment business to fund Nelson's payday loan operations. Paul Cooper, who reportedly was originally from Idaho, initially set up operations in the Spokane, Washington area, but eventually relocated to Acapulco, Mexico. Paul Cooper allegedly obtained the "trust" of his fellow Jehovah's Witnesses by "funding charitable works", as a newspaper termed such, but what were likely actually large donations to the WatchTower Society. In fact, one of Cooper's JW victims, a Building Contractor from New Jersey who had retired to Mexico as a WatchTower missionary, named Russell Titmas, told a reporter that he "saw the investment as an opportunity to offer financial assistance to his faith and enhance its missionary work." Russell Titmas, who now claims nearly $500,000.00 in losses, started investing with Paul Cooper in 2006 after first checking out Cooper with several other Jehovah's Witnesses, who all praised Paul Cooper's investment recommendations. Typically, one newspaper reported that many of Paul Cooper's Jehovah's Witness Victims did NOT believe that JW Elder Paul Cooper had done anything wrong. (See WARD case below.)
As a sanction for filing a groundless motion to quash document subpoenas served on [Alex] Mirrow in Texas, this Court ordered that [Alex D.] Mirrow was required, jointly and severally with his Texas counsel, Craig Kyle Hemphill, to pay Plaintiff Bruce P. Kriegman, as Chapter 11 Trustee for LLS America, LLC, $9,941.25 in attorney fees. ... ...Separately, the Trustee filed a Motion for Turn Over of Funds and Passport ... seeking the turnover of whatever remained of the approximately $300,000.00 that Mr. Mirrow had entrusted to David Perry in Sri Lanka and requiring [Alexander] Mirrow to sell his condominium in Mexico and turn over the proceeds to the Trustee. The Trustee also asks this Court to compel [Alex] Mirrow to turnover his passport. ... ...... [Alexander D. Mirrow] argued that he does not have access to or control over the Sri Lankan funds, and is thus powerless to turn them over to the Trustee. ... [Alex] Mirrow also explained that his wife [Angela Mirrow] objects to the sale of the condominium and, because she is a joint owner, he cannot sell the home and turn over the proceeds to the Trustee. [See separate court case KRIEGMAN v. ANGELA TERESA MIRROW.]...The Trustee also suggests that [Alex D.] Mirrow's international travel necessitates seizing Mr. Mirrow's passport as he should "not be free to travel the world spending money." ... However, [Alex] Mirrow's travel appears to be religiously motivated travel funded by his mother, Fatima Mirrow, or other Jehovah's Witnesses. ... If other people want to pay for [Alexander] Mirrow's travel, food, and lodging, nothing about the outstanding judgment or the sanctions order can prevent that.
In this action, Washington's DOFI alleges that Doris E. Nelson told investors they could earn as much as 60 percent on money Little Loan Shoppe and its numerous affiliates used to make payday loans to consumers. More than 300 American and Canadian investors bought notes worth $29,000,000.00 in U.S. currency and another $26,000,000.00 in Canadian currency. Dee Nelson allegedly told investors that high returns were possible because short-term, high-fee payday loans allowed Little Loan Shoppe to turn their money over several times. However, investors received no payments after March 2009.
In July 2009, the company filed bankruptcy under the name LLS America, LLC. In documents filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, investors claimed Doris Nelson operated the companies as a Ponzi Scheme that paid early investors with money from new investors. DOFI alleges that Doris Nelson is not currently registered to sell her securities in the state of Washington and has not previously been so registered. Also charged was Paul Cooper, who is believed to now be residing in Mexico. DOFI alleges that Paul Cooper facilitated securities transactions for Little Loan Shoppe, and that Paul Cooper is not currently registered as a broker-dealer or securities salesperson in the state of Washington, and has not previously been so registered. Although it is yet to be determined whether Paul Cooper, Doris Nelson, or some other individual(s) connected to the named entities is/are Jehovah's Witnesses, the court document states:
Most investors with LLS affiliated entities learned about the investment opportunity from friends or family members that had previously invested. A number of investors were Jehovah's Witnesses that heard about the investment from fellow Jehovah's Witnesses. Interested individuals were typically referred to Cooper or Nelson for details on the investment.
Washington's Department of Financial Institutions is also seeking a $150,000.00 fine from Doris Nelson, and a $30,000.00 fine from Paul Cooper. DOFI is also asking that Doris Nelson and Paul Cooper be jointly and severally liable for and pay its' Securities Division the costs, fees, and other expenses incurred in the conduct of the administrative investigation and hearing of this matter of not less than $60,000.00.
Several media and/or web articles report that separate civil actions have been filed by investors in Washington and Florida, and possibly in Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. Those lawsuits reportedly are alleging fraud, conspiracy, breach of contract, and violations of numerous Washington securities and consumer protection laws. Nelson and Gamble have reportedly denied any wrongdoing. One discussion board alleges that Doris Nelson's current husband, Dennis Foster, a son named Chris Foster or Christopher Foster, a daughter named Amanda Foster, and a step-son named Adam Nelson are/were high level employees of the various affiliates.
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION v. FREDERICK ALAN VOIGHT, DAYSTAR FUNDING LP, F.A. VOIGHT & ASSOCIATES LP, RHINE PARTNERS LP, TOPSIDE PARTNERS LP, INTERCORE INC., and INTERCORE RESEARCH CANADA INC. is an ongoing 2015 Texas federal civil court case which names as Defendant the patriarch of a Greater Houston, Texas area family of Jehovah's Witnesses with connections to Texas, California, New Jersey, Nebraska, and Florida. JW family members not named in this lawsuit can be found named in numerous Texas corporate filings of other Voight family connected businesses located at the same Texas addresses but not named in this court case.
Frederick Alan Voight, age 58, of Richmond, Texas (not to be confused with son, Alan Frederick Voight), is alleged by the SEC with operating a $114.1 million Ponzi scheme dating back to 2004 that defrauded more than 300 investors in multiple different offerings of promissory notes issued by F.A. Voight & Associates LP and DayStar Funding LP. Approximately $22 million remains unaccounted for to date.
Frederick Alan Voight's most recent offering, which promised investors returns as high as 30-42% per year, raised $13.8 million that Fred A. Voight said would be loaned to a startup company named InterCore Inc. to fund its deployment of a "Driver Alertness Detection System", or DADS. Frederick Voight allegedly knew the claims were false because he served on InterCore's Board of Directors and was aware that the Delray Beach, Florida public company was financially troubled and had no means to pay back the loans. The SEC alleges that Fred Voight used funds from the DADS investors to make Ponzi payments to earlier investors with his companies, or funneled them to InterCore through two of his other partnerships, Rhine Partners LP and Topside Partners LP. The complaint alleges that InterCore sent the funds to its Montreal-based subsidiary, InterCore Research Canada, Inc., where the funds seemingly disappeared. By routing funds through Rhine and Topside, Fred Voight is alleged to have garnered benefits, including fees and InterCore stock warrants that he never disclosed to the DADS investors.
The SEC's complaint charges Frederick Voight and DayStar with securities fraud, and with conducting unregistered securities offerings. Fred A. Voight and Daystar, without admitting or denying the allegations, agreed to settle the SEC's complaint by consenting to permanent injunctions against committing these violations in the future. They also agreed to asset freezes and other emergency relief, and to pay civil penalties and return allegedly ill-gotten gains with interest in amounts to be set later by the court. Frederick A. Voight also consented to being barred from serving as a public company officer or director and to be barred permanently from participating in the offer, purchase, or sale of any security except for his own personal account.
The SEC named F.A. Voight & Associates, Rhine, Topside, InterCore, and InterCore Research Canada as relief defendants for the purpose of recovering any allegedly ill-gotten gains they received from the fraud. F.A. Voight & Associates, Rhine, and Topside have agreed to asset freezes and other emergency relief and to return allegedly ill-gotten gains in amounts to be set by the court. The SEC will litigate its claims against relief defendants InterCore and InterCore Research Canada.
Additional Frederick A. Voight Biography: From June 1983 until August 1994, Fred Voight owned and operated a chain of retail lumber and home centers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania named Mohawk Lumber Home Centers. From May 1992 until October 1994, Fred Voight served as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Skylands Park Management, Inc., and led the company through two public offerings (IPO courtesy of infamous A.S. Goldmen & Co.) From December 2004 until March 2006, Fred Voight served as a director for Cell Robotics International, Inc., a publicly traded company that was a developer and manufacturer of bio-photonic technologies for clinical and medical research. Fred Voight also served as a director for the DesChutes Medical Products Co., an Oregon company specializing in the design, manufacture, and marketing of innovative products for the medical self-help market, from September 2006 until January 2009, when the company was sold. Fred Voight served as a director of EPV Solar, Inc., a Robbinsville, NJ manufacturing company, from June 1999 through 2010 and as Chairman of the Board from October 2006 until July 2009. Fred Voight also served from November 2010 until January 2013 as the Managing Director, Investments for InterCore Energy Inc. (aka Heartland Bridge Capital, Inc.), a publicly traded clean energy technology company. Frederick A. Voight has been the Chief Investment Officer of Tristar Wellness Solutions Inc. since February 2013.
IN RE ANTONIO PATRICK, JAG DISTRIBUTION, and SECTION 8 CREATIONS, INC. was a July 2014 State of Missouri "FINAL ORDER TO CEASE AND DESIST AND ORDER AWARDING RESTITUTION AND COSTS, AND IMPOSING CIVIL PENALTIES", in which Antonio Patrick and two of his corporate entities were ordered to cease and desist violating a number of Missouri "securities" laws, and all were ordered to pay a total of $45,430.00 in civil penalties and costs.
Antonio Oono Patrick, age 42, is a one-time WATCHTOWER BETHELITE who once worked as a Computer Analyst at WatchTower World HQ. Antonio O. Patrick's main area of operation is Los Angeles, California, but as seen in this ORDER, there was difficulty locating Antonio Patrick there and in other cities in California. The named corporate entities, which are owned solely by Antonio Patrick, were corporations which Antonio Patrick also has used for other business activities, such as Section 8 Creations which had been used for the purchasing and leasing of vehicles and auto parts.
According to this ORDER, despite the fact that Antonio Patrick was not registered as a securities broker or agent in the state of Missouri, Antonio Patrick offered to sell securities, which themselves were not registered as securities, in the state of Missouri. Patrick stated to prospects that the securities had "no risk", and would return 35%-50%. In October 2009, an investor living in the state of Missouri signed an investment contract with Antonio Patrick and wired $150,000.00 to him. In December 2009, that investor received the proverbial "two" payments from Patrick -- their FIRST and their LAST -- of $1200.00. Although not found, we are assuming that the aforementioned investor is "attempting" to file their own separate civil lawsuit against Antonio Patrick for return of their "investment".
Antonio Patrick, aka Angelo Patrick, also has numerous other business operations not involved in this ORDER, including but not limited to, J&P REALTY TRUST, J&P REALTY CORPORATION, MORELL SYSTEMS, and PATCO MORTUARY TRANSPORTATION SERVICE. Antonio Patrick also may have business connections in Wyoming and Nevada.
UNITED STATES v. RODNEY LEE HATFIELD and UNITED STATES v. LLOYD MYERS. In December 2009, brothers-in-law Rodney L. Hatfield, age 60, of Watsonville, California, and Lloyd Myers, age 52, of Rio Linda, California, were indicted on charges of "mail fraud" and "conspiracy to commit mail fraud" in connection with a company they founded and managed called Landmark Trading Co. LLC, of Salinas, California. Hatfield and Myers organized Landmark for the purpose of offering an "ownership interest" in Landmark, and using the proceeds generated from investors to engage in trading on the foreign currency exchange markets through the FOREX CURRENCY exchange. Most, if not all, of the targeted "investors" were fellow members of the Watsonville California Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. Between 2003 and 2007, Hatfield and Myers reportedly collected about $5,000.000.00 from investors with promises to invest in foreign currency exchange markets. Hatfield and Myers allegedly repeatedly told investors they were making money, when in fact they were suffering significant losses. While the investments were losing money, Hatfield and Myers allegedly diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars to real estate ventures they owned. They also allegedly diverted money from the fund to buy automobiles and pay personal expenses. "Some" of those JW Investors allegedly lost a total of between $1,000,000.00 and $2,500,000.00, while other JW Investors received all or part of their money back. In 2013, Rodney Hatfield pleaded "guilty" to the conspiracy charge only, and was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Disposition of the case against Lloyd Myers is unknown. Myers claimed that he knew nothing about the frauds, which he alleged were committed by Hatfield.
ELIZABETH F. MYERS v. RIO LINDA/ELVERTA COMMUNITY WATER DISTRICT was a 2010-12 federal civil lawsuit which was settled in November 2012 when Water District paid $30,000.00 to Elizabeth Myers -- wife of Lloyd Myers. In 2010, a former general manager of the Rio Linda-Elverta Community Water District terminated Elizabeth Myers as the District's accountant after the District's auditor reported that Elizabeth Myers had used a district credit card for personal expenses, including trips to South Africa and Hawaii. Myers thereafter sued the District in federal court for allegedly violating her right to "procedural due process", and her right to "privacy", after information about the "alleged embezzlement" was leaked to the public and the press before she had full opportunity to defend herself, and before all internal employment procedures had been completed. Reportedly, at some point, Myers reimbursed the District for the alleged personal charges.
UNITED STATES v. JOEL NATHAN WARD was a 2007-8 California federal criminal court case. In August 2007, a former Jehovah's Witness Elder, named Joel Nathan Ward, 50, pleaded guilty to 5 counts of wire fraud, 2 counts of mail fraud, and 2 counts of engaging in a monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity, a form of money laundering. In April 2008, Joel N. Ward was sentenced to 9 years in prison, and to serve 3 years of supervised release after the completion of his prison sentence. Ward must serve 85% of his sentence, or more than 7 1/2 years, before he is eligible for release. Joel Ward, who claimed that he had no money left, was also ordered to pay $11,275,501.53 in restitution.
Joel Ward, a well known commentator and seminar speaker on Forex trading, ran an elaborate Forex trading scam through two of his companies, the Joel Nathan Ward Forex Investment Group, of Turlock, California, and Learn:Forex, Inc., a Forex trading educational center based in Sacramento, California. Ward also allegedly defrauded investors in a Hurricane Katrina scheme, which involved a real estate investment project in Mississippi, in which Ward allegedly diverted investors' funds to his own use. Joel Ward admitted that he stole the investors' funds, using the money for his own compensation and expenses, and to purchase the Learn:Forex School in Sacramento. He also admitted that, in order to conceal the theft, he made "Ponzi" payments using other investors' funds, and that he provided his investors with altered account statements. In a handwritten personal journal, which was recovered during the execution of a search warrant, Ward described himself as a "financial serial killer" and "just another scumbag con artist bilking old people out of their retirement money."
After various federal agencies started investigating Ward in mid 2006, Joel Ward confessed the ongoing fraud to his JW Wife around November 2006, and Ward thereafter sent a series of emails to his victims admitting the theft, asking for their forgiveness, and purposing that if they would allow him to continue doing business legitimately that he could soon recoup the lost funds, and repay them all their money.
Many of Joel Nathan Ward's victims were JW friends and JW family members who publicly defended Joel Ward to the authorities and media, including retired newspaper editor Edgar I. Spitzke, who claimed to have lost $100,000.00. Edgar Spitzke was an Elder at the Monticello, Kentucky (where Joel Ward visited multiple times in the past) Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, in Wayne County, Kentucky, when he defended Joel Nathan Ward:
"I find it hard to believe that he would purposely start a business that had no other purpose but to defraud, especially his closest friends and relatives," said [Ed] Spitzke, who said Ward is his wife's nephew. -- MODESTO BEE, 3/30/2008.
However, several of Ward's victims were in no mood for forgiveness. Ward's JW wife even eventually divorced him. She first showed Ward's aforementioned personal journal to her father, Oren Collett, who was Ward's partner, and Collett reportedly informed the federal authorities of Ward's confessions. Ward was eventually arrested by the F.B.I. in April 2007.
Even after his arrest and guilty plea, Joel Ward continued to plead with victims, prosecutors, and the federal judge to allow him to continue doing business legitimately, so that he could soon recoup the lost funds, and repay his victims all their money. Joel Ward's former mother-in-law, Barbara Collett, who, along with her husband, Oren Collett, lost nearly $100,000.00, told the Wall Street Journal that over half of Ward's victims wanted to forgive him and supported Ward's restitution plan (actually 44 of 79 victims who expressed their opinion). Joel Ward even told the Modesto Bee of his plan:
"Several friends who know my trading ability are willing to put up seed money so I can trade, and my commissions would go into a recovery fund. My former father-in-law and business partner, Oren Collett, would manage the fund and several victims have volunteered to sit on a board of trustees and act as auditors. I would have no direct access to the money."
Gene Myatt, purportedly a Jehovah's Witness businessman in Modesto, California, who lost $50,000.00, was quoted in that same 2007 Wall Street Journal article as supporting Ward's restitution plan: "If Joel goes to prison, no investor will be cared for." Russ Sharpe, who owns a marketing company in Oakdale, California, and who lost $480,000.00, stated, "I've watched him trade. He can exceed by vast measures what he has lost. ... I have no doubt that Mr. Ward has the capability of making whole this loss." Rohn Ritzema of Elk Grove, California , who lost $320,000.00, and Michael Mello of Sacramento, California, who lost $754,000.00, both urged the judge to give Joel Ward another chance.
However, David Rothell, an insurance broker in Bryan, Texas, who lost $15,000.00, told the WSJ that Ward needed to pay for his crimes. According to the Modesto Bee, Nancy Jones, an auditor from Dallas, Texas, who lost $50,000.00, stated, "If Joel had just come to my house and beat me up, I'd be a whole lot better off today."
Interestingly, the federal government's Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) had a finance professor analyze Ward's business records, and he reported that of the $15,000,000.00 that Ward took in from investors, Ward only ever invested $2,000,000.00, and Ward lost $1,840,000.00 of that. In fact, of the two trading accounts in which no employee of Ward also traded, there was a profit of only about $1000.00. Yet, 44 of 79 of Joel Ward's victims still think that Ward is a financial genius. One can't help but wonder how many of those 44 people also believe that they are members of "the only true religion" -- the WatchTower Cult.
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