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PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM LOANS
Jehovah's Witness Ministers nationwide and of all racial groups and genders are applying for SBA-PPP loans, which are known to regularly be "forgiven", and thus do not have to be repaid. Recently, nearly every time that we do a search on a suspect "Jehovah's Witness", we are finding SBA-PPP loans. Since we have limited additional info, we can't mention names, YET, but consider the following:
A WEALTHY caucasian JW Male reported to be used occasionally as a "Substitute Circuit Overseer" by the WatchTower Society recently applied for and received a SBA-PPP Loan in excess of $20,000.00 while living temporarily in a state several hundred miles from his homestate.
A late 20s African-American JW Male "independent contractor" who lives in south Florida, and who recently claimed to be a current "Regular Pioneer" for 9 years, applied for and received TWO SBA-PPP Loans -- one for $20,XXX.XX in March 2021, and a second one in April 2021 at a different bank in the amount of $15,XXX.XX.
The above scenario reminds this Editor of the STUDENT LOAN SCAM worked by Jehovah's Witnessess nationwide during the late 1990s through early 2000s, which we have never previously addressed here. As is true of the above, noone but the scammers, their banks, their schools, and the government knew the full details of every individual case, but we overheard during field service one JW PIONEER SCAMMER explaining the SCAM to another JW PIONEER. Here is what we still recall from two decades ago:
JW Pioneer Scammer told JW Pioneer to go down to local "technology school" and sign up for the minimum number of classes/hours to qualify for a government guaranteed student loan. MAX OUT the loan amount. Such would include JW Pioneer's living expenses for the specified number of terms/semesters. JW Pioneer would then "pioneer" while attending only the required minimum number of classes. JW Scammer claimed she rarely went to class, and rarely did any of the work. JW Scammer claimed that JW Pioneer could later default on the loan with little expectation that the government would attempt to collect. In fact, this Editor knows that JW Pioneer Scammer dropped out of school as soon as the money ran out, and JW Scammer never ever was employed using any of the learned skills. Only a few years later, JW Scammer filed bankruptcy.
JACK DONALD SUPINGER III v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE was a 2021 South Carolina federal tax court decision. Jack D. Supinger III received compensation in 2017 for which he owed federal income tax of $9,008.00. "In filing a 'zero-return', Mr. Supinger substantially understated his income tax and triggered imposition of the 20-percent ... accuracy-related penalty ... in the reduced amount [of $1,801.00]. Furthermore, Mr. Supinger's persisting in his frivolous position after the Commissioner made his concessions demonstrates bad faith and warrants imposition of a $5,000 penalty ... ." The court further reasoned, in part:
Mr. Supinger was employed in 2017 as a plumber's assistant by J.R. Putman, Inc., [in California] and Frontier Communications [in South Carolina] ... He earned $4,083 from Putman in January and February and earned $59,388 from Frontier in February through December. ...
Mr. Supinger filed his Form 1040EZ, ... for the 2017 year on or before April 15, 2018. ... Supinger reported income of $0 and claimed entitlement to a refund of $5,993 (apparently calculated by aggregating the withholding amounts listed on his Forms W-2 for Federal income tax, social security tax, and Medicare tax). ...
At trial Mr. Supinger testified that he had no taxable income for 2017, but he effectively refused to say anything further about the income he received. He professed to be unable to state his relationship to Frontier and Putman. When questioned by counsel and the Court, he professed not to understand the meaning of "employed" or of having "received" money, and he claimed not to be able to remember whether he worked as a plumber's assistant in 2017 nor whether money was deposited into his bank account. In several instances, when directed by the Court to answer such questions, he declined to answer on the grounds that it might incriminate him to do so.
The Commissioner therefore called as witnesses personnel from Frontier and Putman. They authenticated company records showing that Mr. Supinger was an employee and showing payments consistent with the Forms W-2.
At the conclusion of the trial, the judge ... invited Mr. Supinger to make any statement he wished to make that might affect the amount of the penalty. In particular, the judge suggested that Mr. Supinger might "assure me that you would not do this again", but Mr. Supinger declined to offer any such assurance. ...
Mr. Supinger was polite in the conduct of the trial. He timely submitted his pretrial memorandum and cooperated with the logistics of the remote trial proceeding by electronically filing his exhibits. Furthermore, as far as we know Mr. Supinger has not previously made frivolous contentions in court nor been penalized for doing so.
However, his conduct after the Commissioner had made his concessions, when the only income in dispute was obviously taxable to Mr. Supinger, was frivolous. He was warned multiple times by this Court before trial that the arguments contained in his petition and pretrial memorandum regarding his "self-assessment" of the taxability of his income in 2017 were frivolous and risked incurring the imposition of a section 6673 penalty. Most telling was Mr. Supinger's refusal to answer basic questions about his employment status and compensation in 2017, when instead he professed to not remember basic facts, to not know the meaning of words such as "employed," "received," and "income," and to be unable to answer the questions without "incriminating" himself. He manifestly realized that if he gave frank answers to those questions -- if he simply admitted that he worked for Frontier and Putman and that they paid him the amounts they reported -- then he would be liable for the tax at issue. He fully understood that his "self-assessment" theory could not survive an honest account of his situation. So he dodged, evaded, and obfuscated. He put the Commissioner to the expense and trouble of producing witnesses to prove facts for which Mr. Supinger had no rebuttal. These were facts that Mr. Supinger should have stipulated, see Rule 91(a); and had he done so, the case could have been decided without the expense and trouble of a trial. This is the sort of behavior for which section 6673(a)(1) was invented.
Mr. Supinger's conduct in this litigation after partial concession by the Commissioner and at trial demonstrates bad faith, and we conclude that the imposition of a penalty under section 6673(a)(1) is justified. However, taking account of the mitigating circumstances noted above (chiefly that this is Mr. Supinger's first known offense and that this case did result in a reduction of the deficiency from $25,000 to $9,000), we will impose against him a penalty under section 6673(a)(1) of only $5,000. Mr. Supinger should know that, if a $5,000 penalty proves insufficient to deter him from making frivolous arguments in the future, then he is liable to incur a more substantial penalty up to a maximum of $25,000.
UNITED STATES v. HIRAM MICHAEL MARTIN was a 2017-19 California federal criminal prosecution. (The New York Times, May 12, 1984, page 45, identifies attorney Hiram Martin, of Los Angeles, California, as allegedly one of Jehovah's Witnesses.) In April 2019, African-American Hiram Martin, a tax lawyer who represented retired NFL player Antrel Rolle was sentenced to 36 months in federal prison for fraudulently obtaining tax refunds for Rolle, stealing the refunds, and then covering up his scheme by filing false documents with the Internal Revenue Service. Hiram M. Martin, age 71, of Fair Oaks, California, pleaded guilty in January 2019 to one felony count of attempting to obstruct or impede the administration of internal revenue laws. Martin was sentenced to three years in prison, and ordered to pay $1,223,480.00 in restitution.
Hiram Martin admitted in his plea agreement that he submitted false tax returns for Rolle, who hired Martin when he was a 23-year-old NFL rookie. The tax returns claimed millions of dollars in bogus charitable donations and business expenses, but Martin never informed Rolle about the phony deductions. The IRS issued tax refunds of $322,008.00 for the 2005 tax year and $901,472.00 for the 2006 year as a result of Martin's deductions. Martin directed the IRS to deposit the refunds into Martin's bank account, or to mail the refunds to his mailing address. Martin then used the fraudulently obtained money for his own personal benefit, including an investment account under his control. When the IRS began auditing Rolle's tax returns for these years, in August 2009, Martin faxed two letters to the IRS that attempted to support the fraudulent donations. Martin then -- without Rolle's authorization -- filed petitions in Tax Court challenging the IRS after it rejected the deductions. Martin has admitted that he forged Rolle's signature on the Tax Court petitions. In May 2011, Martin -- without Rolle's knowledge or authorization -- agreed to a judgment that imposed a tax liability of nearly $2 million on Rolle. Martin also admitted that he provided Rolle with a fabricated set of tax returns for 2005 and 2006 that did not claim any refunds -- refunds that Martin never submitted to the IRS.
Martin also took steps to prevent the IRS from directly contacting Rolle by providing the IRS with his own personal and business addresses, and claiming they were Rolle's addresses. When a news article detailing Rolle's tax liabilities were published in January 2010, Martin attempted to prevent Rolle from contacting the IRS by telling him that the article was not true.
Hiram Michael Martin
Los Angeles, California
UCLA School of Law
IN RE HIRAM MICHAEL MARTIN was a 6/24/1985 "Public Reproval" by The State Bar of California.
IN RE HIRAM MICHAEL MARTIN was a 7/01/2019 "Suspension" by The State Bar of California.
IN RE HIRAM MICHAEL MARTIN was a 1/10/2020 "Disbarment" by The State Bar of California.
CROWN v. BRUNO TSHIPAMBA was a 2019-20 British criminal court case which involved an African-British Jehovah's Witness ELDER named Bruno Tshipamba, of Addison Crescent, Old Trafford. Bruno Tshipamba, age 46, was convicted on January 22, 2020, at Minshull Street Crown Court, of dishonestly obtaining 21,881 pounds ($29,000.00) from Trafford Council, from January 2014 through June 2018.
Tshipamba was responsible for managing funds sent to him by Trafford Council to pay for his teenage son's care. However, Bruno Tshipamba used his fiduciary position to transfer some of those funds into his partner's bank account for their own personal use. Trafford Council is recovering all of the money it overpaid to Tshipamba. Council officers found out about the overpayments through carrying out an audit of the amounts it was paying to Tshipamba. That audit flagged some discrepancies and showed significant funds were routinely being transferred away from the account set up to receive council payment for his son's care.
Bruno Tshipamba is one of five Trustees of Manchester's Lingala Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. After pleading guilty at an earlier hearing, Tshipamba appeared in court again and was given a SUSPENDED nine-month custodial sentence. Tshipamba also has been ordered to undertake a 10 day rehabilitation activity requirement.
Judge Potter at Minshull Street Crown Court described Tshipamba's actions as being "thoroughly dishonest". A spokesperson for Trafford Council said: "Mr Tshipamba should be thoroughly ashamed of his actions. The money he fraudulently claimed from the Council could have gone on funding children with their support needs."
NEW SOUTH WALES v. MOHAMMED ZAHIDUL KABIR was a 2014-18 Australian criminal prosecution of a male Jehovah's Witness CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT who stole nearly $75,000.00 from his tax clients. Mohammed Kabir was a highly educated immigrant (MBA) from Bangladesh during the early 2000s. Kabir obtained another MBA and a Masters in Accounting eventually becoming a CPA, a Registered Tax Agent, and a tax firm franchisee.
A 2014 federal investigation revealed that between 2009 and 2014 that Mohammed Kabir had fraudulently used 16 of his clients' tax file numbers to lodge false tax returns resulting in the wrongful payment of tax refunds into his own bank accounts amounting to $22,475.18. Kabir also stole money from 22 other taxpayers by withdrawing their tax refunds amounting to $51,693.00 from their bank accounts without their knowledge. In 2018, Mohammed Z. Kabir, age 43, accepted a plea deal in which he had to make restitution and serve at least 3 of 5 years prison sentence.
Despite Mohammed Kabir's guilty plea, a local JW Elder, named Chow Meng P'ng, submitted a character reference to be used by Kabir's attorney during the sentencing hearing. That JW Elder referred to Kabir as a "reliable man within his Bible [study] group", and relating that he was "surprised" to hear about Kabir's "actions".
UNITED STATES v. KARREAM HASAN SHEARD A/K/A KENNETH DAVID HARVEY was a 2005-09 Georgia federal criminal prosecution of a 28 year-old former WATCHTOWER BETHELITE named Karream H. Sheard. Karream Sheard (multiple aliases, also aka David Lawrence) and his two half-siblings were reared by a devoted African-American Jehovah's Witness Mother in New Jersey. After graduating high school, Karream Sheard volunteered at WATCHTOWER WORLD HQ, in Brooklyn, and also served as a Ministerial Servant at a Kingdom Hall in the Bronx.
After exiting the WatchTower Cult around 1998, Sheard relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, where his elder half-brother, William C. "Bill" Marshall Jr. (multiple aliases), got Sheard a job with him as a Car Salesman at an Atlanta area Chevrolet automobile dealership. Sheard publicly admits that he and his brother routinely used fake documents forged by another dealership employee in order to obtain financing for customers who did not qualify for financing. Sheard further publicly admits that he soon graduated to forging the fake financial documents himself -- first selling them to other car salesmen, and then later, to real estate mortgage brokers.
In 2002, Karream Sheard a/k/a Kenneth David Harvey and his brother William C. Marshall Jr. formed a supposed automobile leasing company named XQUISITE EMPIRE INC., which in reality was used to launder the ill gotten gains of criminals who did not pay taxes on their illegal income -- more specifically, to purchase luxury cars for members of the Black Mafia Family, a rap music connected drug trafficking organization that sold $270 million in drugs in major cities across the United States. Over time, the two brothers paid 50 straw buyers a "commission" to purchase 224 luxury automobiles, valued over $11 MILLION, in their own names, using their own credit histories. The autos were then turned over to the two brothers in exchange for the "commission" and the two brothers' promise to make all of the straw buyer's loan payments -- which never happened. When the defrauded lenders attempted to repossess those autos, the original purchasers had no idea where were those vehicles.
Gradually, the two brothers' responsibilities for the Black Mafia Family grew. William C. "Bill" Marshall Jr. became the drug cartel's Chief Financial Officer. Karream Sheard became the "fixer". Sheard forged documents to purchase cars, houses, and even large dollar amounts of jewelry for Black Mafia Family members. Sheard paid off employees inside several state motor vehicle agencies to obtain 250 driver's licenses, each with a fake name. When the DeKalb County, Georgia police impounded a cartel limousine with $2 million in cocaine and cash inside, Sheard manufactured notarized documents and retrieved the vehicle from the impound lot.
In 2005, the FBI and DEA ended the party by arresting many of the leaders of the Black Mafia Family -- including Marshall and Sheard. In 2006, William Marshall, age 39, and his brother "Kenneth David Harvey" were also indicted on charges relating to Xquisite Empire Inc. In 2009, Karream Sheard pleaded guilty to wire fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering, and was sentenced to 46 months (reduced later to 33 months) in federal prison, where he was visited every month by his JW Mother. Restitution of $2.4 MILLION also was ordered.
GEORGIA v.KARREAM HASAN SHEARD and GEORGIA v. KENNETH DAVID HARVEY, ETC. were MULTIPLE lesser arrests and/or convictions under multiple aliases in Georgia from 1998 to 2005 -- including providing false identity to police (2000).
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 was founded and operated by prominent Jehovah's Witness Elders 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.
In this case, LCEC advanced $75,650.60 to Unified Solution Providers in April 2009, based on financial information purporting to come from its' owner, Solomon Idiaraba. Unified Solution Providers is actually a corporation established by John Umenwoke, and all of the stock is in the name of Umenwoke's girlfriend (last name "Mokgwathi"). "Solomon Idiaraba" was really John Umenwoke. The accounts receivable were fabricated, and LCEC lost every penny it advanced to USP.
The decision of this Canadian court is unbelievable! John Umenwoke, who receives a government disability pension, pled total poverty, so was NOT ordered to pay any restitution. Umenwoke claimed that he had sent all of the stolen money to his four children back in Nigeria to use for their college educations. Umenwoke received no jail time -- not even when he was initially arrested. Twelve months house arrest. Eight months curfew. 125 hours community service. One year probation with 50 additional hours of community service.
FYI, this court opinion also mentioned that John Umenwoke spent time attending and working at Norwood University in Michigan. Umenwoke also operated a Michigan corporation named Network Computer Reboot Incorporated.
This tax case resulted from the I.R.S.'s determination that Brooks had underpaid her 2005, 2006, and 2007 federal taxes by $11,399.00 due to a variety of questioned "deductions". The questioned deductions included a claimed charitable contribution deduction of $3500.00 in 2005 for undocumented "cash" donations to Brooks local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, and included a claimed charitable contribution deduction of $5200.00 in 2006, which itself included undocumented "cash" donations in the amount of $2200.00 to Brooks' local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, plus another undocumented $3000.00 donation to "a tsunami relief fund through the Jehovah's Witnesses" -- although Brooks admitted that her mother physically made the donation. (The IRS was also seeking $5584.00 in "penalties" from their JW Employee.) Amusingly, not only is it Pamela Brooks' job at the IRS to review others' tax returns for the disallowance of these same undocumented charitable contributions, but the WatchTower Society has for decades warned its members every November-December regarding the IRS's requirements for claiming a tax deduction for donations made to it and its local Kingdom Halls.
This tax court's discussion of a questioned "deduction" which related to a home owned by Pamela Lynn Brooks also disclosed some "interesting" information. At some point, Brooks had purchased a home in Riverside, California for $168,000.00. In 2004, some fire caused some "smoke damage" to Brooks' home. Brooks filed claims with BOTH her insurance company and FEMA, and Brooks eventually collected an unspecified amount of money from each. However, during the insurance company's investigation of Brooks' claim, smoke-damaged asbestos was discovered in Brook's home. The insurance company determined that it would cost only $30,000.00 for both the expensive asbestos removal and treatment of whatever other smoke damage remained.
"Petitioner did not make any repairs to, or remove the asbestos from, the Riverside property. Instead, she attempted to sell the Riverside property. Her initial asking price for the Riverside property was $335,000. After she received an offer and while the property was in escrow, petitioner's real estate agent discovered that petitioner had failed to disclose the asbestos problem to the buyer. Petitioner consequently agreed with the buyer to reduce the price to $305,000, an amount equal to the asking price reduced by the cost of repairing the property, including the costs of repairing the smoke damage and removing the asbestos. In September 2004 she sold the Riverside property for $305,000."
This tax court decision also affirmed the IRS's disallowance of dependency exemption deductions for Brooks' grandson in 2006 and Brooks' son in 2007, due to both relatives' ineligibility. Amusingly, in 2007, Brooks also failed to catch her "mistake" of deducting $23,000.00 for state and local sales taxes, instead of the alleged correct amount of $2300.00. The federal tax court ended this lengthy and complex decision with this assessment:
"... Petitioner is an IRS employee with many years of service. Her occupation involves the examination of Federal income tax returns. Despite petitioner's expertise, she claimed excessive deductions and dependency exemptions and failed to maintain adequate records to substantiate her itemized deductions. ... ."
MICHIGAN v. CHRISTIAN LONGO was a 2000 Michigan criminal court case which involved a Jehovah's Witness "Ministerial Servant" named Christian Longo. Christian Longo was reared as a Jehovah's Witness by parents who were prominent Jehovah's Witnesses in Indianapolis. Chris Longo's father was an Elder, and his elderette mother was a "Pioneer". In the mid 1990s, the WatchTower Society selected Christian Longo's parents to travel as special delegates to WatchTower Conventions to be held in several eastern European countries and the Baltic republics.
In September 2000, Christian Longo pled guilty to two counts of forgery and two counts of uttering and publishing in connection with a series of forgery and fraud crimes committed in Summer 2000. Similar to the modus operandi in the METCALF case above, Longo had manufactured, signed, and cashed checks which he duplicated from genuine checks issued to him by a construction contracting firm which had employed Longo to provide janitorial services. In actuality, Longo had faked and forged six checks amounting to approximately $30,000.00. By the summer of 2001, Christian Longo was again manufacturing and cashing fraudulent checks duplicated from employers' legitimate checks. Longo was never prosecuted for such, because by that time his criminal activities were swiftly escalating to theft of automobiles, boats, construction equipment, and the finale -- murder of his wife and three children (see OREGON v. LONGO). In 1992, an 18 year old Christian Longo had been convicted of misdemeanor embezzlement after he stole cash out of the cash register at a Michigan photographic equipment store where he was employed as a clerk.
FLORIDA v. MICHAEL CHRISTIAN CRABTREE was a July 2013 Florida arrest on two counts of "Fraud - Uttering A False Instrument" in Saint Augustine, Florida. Michael C. Crabtree, then age 50, of Deland, Florida, told arresting officers that he was a "Buyer" for OFF LEASE ONLY used auto sales, a large Florida used auto dealership with lots in Miami, Lake Worth, Palm Beach, and Orlando. Michael Crabtree's son, Ian Crabtree, is also an employee of OFF LEASE ONLY used auto sales. Tipster relates that they last knew Michael C. Crabtree, DOB 5/7/63, as an Elder at a southeastern Florida congregation -- along with his father, Richard "Dick" Crabtree". Tipster further relates that JWParents Richard Crabtree and Eunice Crabtree were the TWO BIGGEST PHARISEES who he knew amongst thousands of Jehovah's Witness Pharisees. $30,000.00 Bond. Outcome unknown. Arrestees are presumed innocent of all charges.
ALSO: See MICHAEL CHRISTIAN CRABTREE v. JANET M. CRABTREE, a divorce suit filed in Palm Beach County, Florida, in June 2014.
ALSO: See MOHAMED v. OFF LEASE ONLY INC., a settled 2017-18 Florida FEDERAL CLASS ACTION lawsuit in which Michael Crabtree and Ian Crabtree were designated as "Material Witnesses" (no pun intended), and were represented by one of the same attorneys representing the named defendant.
MICHIGAN v. JOHN DENNIS LAFOND and JONATHAN DENNIS LAFOND was a 2010 Michigan state criminal prosecution of a pair of Father-Son Jehovah's Witness Elders at the Greenville, Michigan Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, who also owned and operated a local used automobile dealership called LAFOND AUTO SALES, in addition to owning a real estate business and a mortgage brokerage business.
In October 2009, the Michigan Secretary of State received a complaint from a LaFond Auto Sales customer which claimed that they had purchased an automobile and an extended warranty from the LaFonds, but had not been able to get their car repaired. In January 2010, without even holding a hearing, the Michigan Secretary of State suspended the license of the dealership after an investigation which uncovered 34 instances, between February 2007 and November 2009, of warranties which had been sold to paying customers, but which had not been submitted to the warranty company. Amazingly, the Lafonds reportedly continued the scam even while the state investigation was ongoing. The LaFonds reportedly attempted to cover up some of their fraudulent sales by performing some repairs themselves.
The Michigan Secretary of State told reporters that this was not the first time that it had had problems with LaFond Auto Sales. Previously, the LaFonds had failed to make title and registration in the purchaser's name within 15 days of vehicle delivery, had failed to provide copies of a document at the time of signing, had improperly disclosed odometer readings, and had invalid uses of temporary registration.
In February 2010, John LaFond, age 66, and Jonathan LaFond, age 41, were arrested and charged with 11 felony counts of obtaining between $1000.00 and $20,000.00 under false pretenses with intent to defraud. Probably due to the bad publicity to the local Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, in less than two weeks in expedited proceedings, the LaFonds agreed with the local Prosecutor to plead "No Contest" to only three counts of obtaining $1000.00 or more under false pretenses with intent to defraud. In May 2010, the LaFonds were each sentenced to one year in jail, plus ordered to pay $48,326.00 in restitution. They also were placed on three years of probation, during which they must complete 300 hours of community service, and they cannot be employed in fiduciary positions.
OFFICE OF FINANCIAL AND INSURANCE REGULATION v. LAFOND AUTO SALES was the January 2011 revocation of the LaFonds' Installment Seller License.
Barak K. Baker was the Manager of Circuit Leasing, Inc. (Thereafter, the WatchTower Society cut out the middleman and formed its own "Circuit Vehicles" auto leasing subsidiary, which allows this subsidiary company to purchase vehicles directly from auto manufacturers and lease such back to the main corporation.) "Barry" Baker is currently President of the BLOOD CONSERVATION SUPPORT FOUNDATION, whose large expenditures over the years seems to indicate a significant asset for the WatchTower Society's anti-blood transfusion agenda.
L. Dale Baker is also a founding Trustee of JAH-JIREH HOMES OF AMERICA, which is a Jehovah's Witness owned, operated, and occupied retirement community located near Allentown, Pennsylvania. Dale Baker is also the father-in-law of Judah B. Schroeder, who is a former WatchTower Society Attorney and the son of deceased WatchTower Governing Body member, Albert D. Schroeder.
KENTUCKY v. ERIC BRIAN MEUX was a July 2010-11 Kentucky criminal court case in which African-American Eric B. Meux, then age 48, of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, pled "Guilty" to 7 counts of "Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument" (checks taken from two more individuals, forged, and cashed) and one count of "Possession of Marijuana", in exchange for a two year prison sentence PROBATED for three years.
Eric B. Meux allegedly is the son of the Presiding Overseer/COBE of the Hopkinsville Kentucky Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. (Be careful not to confuse the criminal records of Eric Meux with the lengthy criminal records of other Meux family members. ALSO, don't confuse this prominent Hopkinsville African-American Jeovah's Witness Family with the only 20 minutes away prominent Madisonville African-American Jeovah's Witness Family, which also is originally from Indiana, and has similar quality/quantity of "alleged" criminals.)
INDIANA v. ERIC BRIAN MEUX were two separate arrests for "Conversion" in January and July 1996. Outcomes unknown. The Meux Clan is originally from Indiana, and this case apparently occurred before the entire Clan relocated to "where the need was great".
ALABAMA v. CELEOUS WILSON was a 2003 Alabama court case. In 2003, an Anniston, Alabama Jehovah's Witness, named Celeous Wilson, 31, was sentenced to one year in the Calhoun County jail for "writing bad checks". By March 2004, Wilson was allowed to participate in the county's work release program. However, on March 11, Wilson did not return from a roofing job, and may not have even showed up at the jobsite that day. During the evening of Wilson's third day of freedom, Celeous Wilson checked himself into Regional Medical Center for a supposed "psychiatric" condition. Outcome unknown, but sounds as if 'ol Celeous may be saner than most.
MASSACHUSETTS v. WILLIAM COUTURE was a 1970 Massachusetts bank robbery court case. In May 1970, William Couture, 56, of Sharon, Massachusetts, but originally from Central Falls, Rhode Island, was shot four times during his apprehension by police after he and two accomplices held-up and robbed a Tewksbury bank. Taken to St. Johns Hospital, in Lowell, Bill Couture refused to consent to needed blood transfusions before, during, and after surgery to remove the four bullets -- due to his beliefs as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. Couture was listed in critical condition. Outcome unknown.
UNITED STATES v. HARRY WILLIAM MARRERO was a related 2008-09 Florida federal prosecution. Bill Marrero, reportedly also a Jehovah's Witness Minister, was Angel Cruz's co-defendant. In exchange for his cooperation in the Angel Cruz prosecution, Bill Marrero pleaded guilty on reduced charges and was sentenced to 97 months in prison. Bill Marrero apparently died in prison of unknown causes even before he was eligible for early release. (Notably, few persons connected with TUC, including victims, would cooperate with law enforcement against Cruz.)
Around 2007, in an elaborate "sovereign citizen" scheme perpetrated on mainly Latino-Hispanic Floridians (some of whom were probably gullible fellow Jehovah's Witnesses of Cruz and Marrero), Angel Cruz initially set up a cooperative called The United Cities Group (TUC) through which private companies and individuals could supposedly share goods and services. Soon, however, Angel Cruz allegedly convinced members that as "sovereign citizens" that The United Cities Group could issue its own currency, form its own banking system, form its own police force, form its own judiciary, etc. In mid-2007, Angel Cruz started printing and attempting to spend SIX BILLION DOLLARS of TUC's own paper currency, which Cruz named "The United States Private Dollar". Angel Cruz's currency featured the slogan "IN JEHOVAH WE TRUST". Angel Cruz declared the Federal Reserve System to be "Satan's banking system". United Cities Group also began to issue its own checks and bank drafts drawn on its on non-existent bank -- "TUC Private Currency Office".
Angel Cruz and his co-conspirators in Orlando and Miami were able to convince an unknown number of private companies, individuals, and even an Orlando Not-For-Profit called "JC Consultores Laborales", to give TUC real money in exchange for Cruz's promise to pay their bills. Cruz then turned around and attempted to pay the business expenses (including employee salaries) and personal expenses (including mortgages) of his members with his own worthless currency, checks, and drafts. In August 2007, both the U.S. Treasury Department and the F.D.I.C. issued warnings to banks that valueless checks and drafts amounting to MILLIONS OF DOLLARS were being issued by "The United Cities Corp" of Miami, Florida, and drawn on "TUC Private Currency Office".
Puzzlingly, Angel Cruz and his co-conspirators somehow managed to continue to operate this scam for another year. In July 2008, Angel Cruz and approximately thirty of his followers attempted to "evict" legitimate employees from a Miami branch of the Bank of America. Ten of Cruz's followers wore fake badges, fake police uniforms, and even carried firearms. This pack of HISPANIC NUTS presented a "court order" issued by Angel Cruz's own "The United Cities Group Circuit Court". Cruz's own "court order" referenced a pending $15 Billion lawsuit against the Bank of America filed by Cruz in Miami-Dade County Court, in which Cruz alleged the Bank of America had wronged him because an Orlando branch of Bank of America refused to cash $14.3 million in TUC "bank drafts." Angel Cruz and TUC Vice-Chairman Gladstone Gardner (Jamaican immigrant -- unknown if also a Jehovah's Witness) were arrested on misdemeanor "trespass" charges. The Bank of America was forced to file a federal civil lawsuit against United Cities, and obtained a federal court order ordering the group to stop attempting to defraud Bank of America, or otherwise harassing Bank of America in any manner, plus was awarded $28,810.00. Shortly, thereafter, Angel Cruz and Bill Marrero were indicted, and Marrero was prosecuted and imprisoned.
According to a November 2008 MIAMI HERALD article, Angel Cruz was then also being investigated for an alleged mortgage scam, known as "Lifeline", which allegedly scammed Florida homeowners out of approximately $500,000.00.
Other previous business ventures connected to Angel Cruz include Global Private Housing and Financing and Global Private Bridge & Highway Administration Group.
FLORIDA v. JOHN PHILIP ELLIS SR., FLORIDA v. ROBERT KOCH, FLORIDA v. JEFFREY POLLARD, FLORIDA v. MARK KENNEDY, FLORIDA v. EDWARD G. RICCARDI, and FLORIDA v. SHARON ALFONSO were six related 1999-2002 Florida federal criminal court cases. John P. Ellis Sr. was the organizer of three companies called American Asset Protection, International Asset Protection Trust, and Capital Strategies, which had offices in Boynton Beach, West Palm Beach, and Okeechobee, Florida. John Ellis and his sales staff sold so-called "foreign" common-law trusts that they claimed did not require the need to file federal tax returns. Customers were told that if they bought a trust from Ellis that they and their ownership interest could remain secret and continue to control the property placed in the trust by their being named manager of the trust. John Ellis and some staffers reportedly claimed that they were "sovereign citizens", and many if not most of Ellis's customers were members of Florida's "sovereign citizen" community.
In October 1999, John Philip Ellis Sr., then age 49, was charged with conspiracy to obstruct and impede the Internal Revenue Service in the assessment and collection of taxes, obstruction of justice, and structuring financial transactions to avoid the bank reporting requirement. Robert Koch, Sharon Alfonso, Mark Kennedy, Jeffrey Pollard and Edward G. Riccardi were charged with conspiracy to obstruct and impede the IRS in the assessment and collection of taxes. It was alleged that between 1993 and 1999 that Ellis's companies sold more than 360 trusts to over 150 customers, costing $6000.00 to $23,000.00 each, which eventually caused the federal government loss of 5 million tax dollars.
Kennedy, Alfonso, and Riccardi eventually cut a plea deal to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy in exchange for their assistance in the prosecution of the other three defendants. Their sentences ranged from a year on house arrest to 21 months in prison.
John P. Ellis Sr. was convicted by a federal jury on the conspiracy and obstruction charges only, and was sentenced to 126 months in prison. Jeff Pollard, age 46, was convicted and received a prison term of 60 months. Bob Koch, age 51, also was convicted, and received a sentence of 58 months.
During the trial, when John Ellis Sr. took the witness stand to testify in his own defense, Ellis refused to "swear" to tell the truth. When Ellis began quoting Matthew 5:34-37, the judge cut off Ellis's explanation and removed the jury from the courtroom. After that session, "acquaintances" of John Ellis explained to reporters that John Philip Ellis Sr. was a Jehovah's Witness -- who supposedly are forbidden to swear oaths.
CROWN v. JEAN JAMIESON was a 1972 British criminal court prosecution of a 20 year-old female Jehovah's Witness Minister who was employed as a postal clerk by the Postal Service in Scotland. During four months in 1971, Jean Jamieson stole paperwork from a post office onto which she forged multiple signatures in order to fraudulently obtain a mere 96 pounds from the government pension system. In 1972, at a second post office, Jean Jamieson stole 27 pounds from a registered letter. Outcome unknown.
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Short BIBLE TOPIC Readings Selected For Those With Jehovah's Witnesses Backgrounds
Wifely Subjection: Mental Health Issues in Jehovah's Witness Women
Jehovah's Witnesses and the Problem of Mental Illness
The Theocratic War Doctrine: Why Jehovah's Witnesses Lie In Court
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