ACCOUNTING, BANKING, and OTHER FINANCIAL SERVICES
A JEWISH JOURNAL
article dated October 28, 2004, reported on Austrian Jehovah's Witness Leopold Engleitner's then recent Holocaust-related sermon delivered at the Los Angeles Museum of Tolerance
. The WatchTower Society's Media Department apparently arranged for the attendance of a Jewish Journal
reporter, plus arranged for the Jewish Journal
reporter to interview the WatchTower Society's Los Angeles-area spokesperson, David Goldfarb
, whom the reporter described in his article as "a Jehovah's Witness church leader in Beverly Hills who grew up Jewish and became a Jehovah's Witness at age 15."
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 internet Pornographers and the financial services industry which supported them, including additional information on TAVES and ATS.
We also believe that 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 associated with 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 JWs.
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".
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION v. WILLIAM E. PARODI, SR. was a 1988-89 federal administrative action in which William E. Parodi, aka William Parodi, aka Bill Parodi, then age 47, of Woodland Hills, California, consented to be PERMANENTLY BARRED from association with any broker, dealer, investment company, investment advisor, or municipal securities dealer. Bill Parodi's brother, Frederick W. Parodi, then age 35, of Canoga Park, California, also consented to be PERMANENTLY BARRED from the securities industry by the S.E.C. This action resulted from the S.E.C.'s finding that both brothers, while employed as registered representatives at two California brokerage firms, had engaged in excessive and unsuitable trading (churning) of their multiple California Municipality customers' accounts, and had misrepresented and omitted material facts to their multiple California Municipality customers. The Parodi Brothers worked as brokers for First Investment Securities, of Little Rock, Arkansas in 1987, and for E.F. Hutton in 1986. Allegedly, the illegal account "churning" had generated at least $1,750,000.00 in commissions.
More specifically, the S.E.C. alleged that the Parodi Brothers had invested the money of seven California Municipalities, plus three local government agencies, into high-risk bonds, and then "churned" the accounts so as to yield excessive commissions for both the Parodis and the two brokerage firms. Additionally, the customers of the Parodi Brothers alleged that they lost a total of $8,279,000.00 while doing business with them. As examples, the City of Imperial Beach, California invested amounts averaging $195,000.00 over a recent four-month period. However, that account was turned over 20 times through various investments, costing the city $104,000.00 in commissions. The city lost its initial investment, plus $10,120.00. Rancho Palos Verdes invested amounts averaging $1,120,000.00 between May 1986 and March 1987. Allegedly, Bill Parodi, generated $190,000.00 in commissions from the account, which turned over 46 times. The city lost $68,140.00.
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.
According to a May 15, 1984 NEW YORK TIMES article, the above scenario was NOT the first time that William E. Parodi had been investigated by the S.E.C. In December 1981, Bill Parodi was co-founder of an Irvine, California brokerage firm called National Money Market Services, Inc. By only early 1984, the New York State Attorney General, Robert Abrams, began investigating National Money Market Services after nearly 40 New York school districts and counties were persuaded by NMMS to invest $20 million with a small government securities dealer recommended by NMMS that filed for bankruptcy in April 1984.
The NYTIMES alleged that Bill Parodi and his partner, Philip L. Kratzer, had no prior securities trading experience before founding National Money Market Services, Inc. in December 1981. However, in their very first year in business, Philip Kratzer and William Parodi placed approximately $1 BILLION in funds; earning $2.1 million in commissions. By 1983, placements had soared to $5.6 BILLION; bringing in $6.8 million in commissions.
Outcome of federal and state investigations are unknown. However, as indicated above, by latter 1986, Bill Parodi and his brother were working as brokers at competing national firms. Phil Kratzer continued to operate National Money Market Services, and he and NMMS were also sued in the latter 1980s by one or more California Municipalities which had lost significant monies investing with NMMS.
CANADA v. DEBORAH DIECKMANN (2005-07) and ONTARIO v. DEBORAH DIECKMANN were related lengthy 2005-14 civil and criminal prosecutions. Additional criminal prosecutions of associated Defendants are summarized below. George Salmon (father) and Deborah Dieckmann (daughter of George Salmon) were tried, convicted, and imprisoned in 2014.
ONTARIO v. CAROLINE HARTMAN and ONTARIO v. THOMAS DAVIS. Co-conspirators of Deborah Dieckmann were her sister, Caroline Hartman (daughter of George Salmon), and Tom Davis. Both Hartman and Davis DIED before they could be criminally prosecuted. Tom Davis was the mastermind. Davis devised the plan and was the primary front man who brought in most of the clients. Caroline Hartman also recruited clients and performed other various operations in the scheme.
Between 2002 and 2006, the principal Defendants operated a lengthy and complicated FRAUDULENT SCHEME used to defraud the Canadian government of $5,777,648.01 in "source deductions" using a plethora of companies with ever-changing names and employees which provided bookkeeping, accounting, payroll, staffing, and other human resource services to client employers. Instead of remitting to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) the"source deductions" -- income tax deductions, employment insurance deductions, and Canada Pension Plan deductions -- the Defendants converted those source deductions to their own personal use.
Notably, a number of other family members, friends, and acquaintances who supposedly participated "unwittingly" in the FRAUDULENT SCHEME were not prosecuted. Most, if not all, of the defendants were reported to be "devoted and active Jehovah's Witnesses". TYPICALLY, both Jehovah's Witnesses family members and fellow congregants appeared in court and testified on behalf of the defendants that they were "honest", "trustworthy", "of good character", and were "well respected within the [JW] community." Typically, none of the Salmon Family had ever been previously convicted of a crime.
CANADA v. DEBORAH DIECKMANN (2005-07). The Canada Revenue Agency first brought a civil action against Deborah Dieckmann to recover part or all of the stolen source deductions. After a key witness disappeared shortly before the scheduled trial in 2007, the Canada DOJ settled with Dieckmann in an agreement which absolved her of any liability for source deductions not paid by her clients during the time period in question.
ONTARIO v. DEBORAH DIECKMANN. Despite the above civil judgment, the government pressed forward with the criminal prosecution. In December 2013, Deborah Dieckmann, age 48, was convicted of seven counts of fraud, in relation to $5,143,723.02 in stolen source deductions. In January 2014, Deborah Dieckmann was sentenced to 4 years incarceration on Count 1, and 4 years on Counts 2 to 7, to be served concurrently with Count 1. Deborah Dieckmann was ordered to pay a fine in lieu of forfeiture of proceeds of crime in the amount of $1,285,930.00 -- to be paid within one year after release from incarceration. If she defaults, Deborah Dieckmann shall be imprisoned for a term of 5 additional years.
Dieckmann was a critical player in the scheme because she managed the money throughout. A bookkeeper by training, Dieckmann was responsible for insuring the money flowed from the client companies into bank accounts that she and her co-defendants controlled. She liaised with the managers of those companies, and insured the employees and nominee directors were paid, so that their legitimate clients would remain unsuspecting. She personally had sole or joint signing authority on all of the bank accounts through which the monies flowed. Dieckmann also contracted with a legitimate payroll service provider that physically transferred the wages to the employees. Significantly, and contrary to usual industry practice, she instructed the legitimate payroll service provider to pay the employees but not remit the source deductions to the CRA. In that way she maintained control of the remittances, so that she and Davis could share the spoils. In order to perpetuate the fraud, Dieckmann engaged in several creative strategies. She created and was found in possession of hundreds of fraudulent documents, ranging from false T4’s to “cut and paste” contracts. She arranged for the incorporation of many of the businesses used to further the fraud. When it became apparent to her that the CRA had become suspicious, she set up bank accounts in the Cayman Islands to protect the proceeds of the frauds from seizure by the CRA. She provided false information to her legal counsel in the related civil action that was used to create misleading affidavits, in order to absolve herself of liability.
CANADA v. GEORGE SALMON. The Family Patriarch, George Salmon, age 72, also engaged in the scheme, but his role was confined to multiple "machining" companies -- Ontario Limited o/a Tritech Precision Machining and CNC Machine Inc. -- he personally ran or with which he was associated. In collaboration with Tom Davis, George Salmon brought his employees into the fraudulent payroll scheme whereby source deductions amounting to $397,758.65 that should have gone to Revenue Canada were instead used to enrich the offenders. When the CRA tried to collect the outstanding funds, Salmon engaged in further deceptive conduct, including the use of nominee directors and the creation of false agreements that purported to suggest that he had factored his company’s receivables to another company of which his daughter Deborah Dieckmann was President.
In December 2013, George Salmon was convicted on only one count of fraud relating to the scheme. In January 2014, Salmon was sentenced to 2 years less a day, and ordered to pay a fine of $397,758.65 -- to be paid within one year after release from incarceration. If he defaults, Salmon shall be imprisoned for a term of 3 additional years.
CANADA v. ROGER OKE was a 2009 Ontario criminal prosecution related to the above Salmon Family criminal prosecutions. In September 2009, Roger Oke, of Bolton, Ontario, pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud over $5,000 and one count of failing to attend court. Roger Oke had been a director of Russell Staffing Inc., a front company in the scheme. Oke was given a suspended sentence and two years probation for the fraud charges, and sentenced to time served of nine days for the failure to attend court charge.
CANADA v. RUSSELL CONROY. Russell Conroy owned and operated Russell Staffing Inc. Conroy allowed Tom Davis to use RSI as a front company in the scheme. Defendant Russell Conroy pled guilty. Other details and sentence unknown.
UNITED STATES v. ANGEL CRUZ
is a pending 2008 Florida federal FRAUD prosecution. In 2008, Angel Cruz (a/ka Angel Cruz-Durand; a/k/a Angel Durand; a/k/a Angel Duran)
, then age 48 (PHOTO)
, was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in Florida on one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States of America and six counts of bank fraud. Angel Cruz quickly disappeared, and has yet to be apprehended by federal law enforcement. The Miami-Herald
referred to Cruz as a "devout Jehovah's Witness"
. Cruz publicly claimed to be an immigrant from Cuba, but Cruz actually may be Puerto Rican, and Angel Cruz may be hiding in Puerto Rico.
UNITED STATES v. HARRY WILLIAM MARRERO is a related 2008-9 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.
ONTARIO v. JOHN UMENWOKE
was a 2010-13 Toronto, Ontario, Canada criminal court case. John Umenwoke, age 63, a/k/a Solomon Idiaraba, is yet another Nigerian fraudster
, who had the Canadian judge in this court case wrapped around his finger. Reared as a Jehovah's Witness in Nigeria, along with 15 siblings, Umenwoke claims to have fulltime pioneered from 1968 to 1971. Umenwoke claims that he fled to Canada in 2006 because he was being persecuted for his religious beliefs in Nigeria. Umenwoke claims that he graduated from the University of Nigeria with a B.S. in Computer Science, and was employed as a secondary school teacher. Several Nigerian friends and relatives (in both Canada and Nigeria) who served as character witnesses for Umenwoke never used the term "Jehovah's Witness", but instead referred to Umenwoke as a "preacher" and "evangelizer".
In April 2010, Umenwoke was arrested and charged with defrauding Liquid Capital Exchange Corporation of $75,650.60 USD, in 2009. LCEC is in the accounts receivables factoring business.
They advance money to businesses based on a business's accounts receivables. The receivables are then paid directly to them, and when they are collected, LCEC remits the amount collected less their fees.
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.
CROWN v. GARY TURNER.
In March 2012, a British Jehovah's Witness businessman, named Gary Turner, age 47, pleaded guilty to tax fraud committed over a 14 year period -- amounting to approximately $6,000,000.00
(USD), and was sentenced to five years in prison. Turner founded Turners Butchers
in 1988. Turner's retail meat business was successful until 1996, when the mad cow scare and other factors caused Turner's retail business to go bust.Turner reinvented his business as an imported meat wholesaler. It is unclear whether Turner actually ever operated as an imported meat wholesaler, but Turner began filing fraudulent VAT
returns with HM Revenue and Customs
which claimed large sales and profits which entitled Turner to large VAT
tax refunds. Turner reportedly used those fraudulent tax refunds to fund a luxurious lifestyle for himself, his wife, and their six children -- buying houses, luxury automobiles, and overseas vacations. Thus far, HMRC
has been able to find and freeze only about 25% of the amount of the tax refunds.
PAMELA LYNN BROOKS v. INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE
is a 2011-13 federal tax court case involving a California Jehovah's Witness named Pamela L. Brooks. Ever so amusingly, Pamela Brooks has been employed by the I.R.S. since 1987, and since 2003, Pam L. Brooks has been working as a "Tax Compliance Officer"
, whose duties are the examination of individual tax returns.
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. ... ."
A now-deceased Jehovah's Witness, who had for many years worked as an I.R.S. Auditor, once admitted having lived many of those same years in a state of spiritual depression because of their repeated professional encounters with fellow Jehovah's Witnesses -- particularly individuals who that JW discovered in the course of their work to be Elders and Ministerial Servants. In the early part of their career, that JW dealt psychologically with the "problem" by naively writing letters to the WatchTower Society outlining the widespread nature of the "problem", and encouraging the WatchTower Society to admonish its JW members to be honest when filing their tax returns. After years of seeing the "problem" increasing, rather than decreasing, this JW eventually started having doubts that the WatchTower religion was "the only true religion" given the state of "honesty" amongst the religion's very "leaders" observed over a wide geographic area. Finally, this JW came up with a solution. The JW went to their management and told them a watered-down version of what has been related above, and requested that in the future they be relieved from any case once that case was identified as a Jehovah's Witness. Their request was granted.
UNITED STATES v. KEVIN METCALF was a 1997-8 California federal criminal court case which involved a Jehovah's Witness Real Estate Appraiser named Kevin Metcalf. Metcalf and a co-conspirator (unidentified by source, but probably a fellow Jehovah's Witness) manufactured and attempted to sell counterfeit checks, which were copied from genuine checks issued to Metcalf by mortgage companies and other firms who had employed Metcalf to perform real estate appraisals.
This JW Duo also manufactured and attempted to pass counterfeit $20.00 bills. Kevin Metcalf was found guilty on one conspiracy count and four counts of counterfeiting, and was sentenced to three years in federal prison. Metcalf was also ordered to pay a $15,000.00 criminal fine and $2,068 in restitution to California Federal Bank.
In sentencing Metcalf, Judge Kram found that Metcalf obstructed justice by giving false testimony during his trial, and that he was the organizer of the conspiracy. Judge Kram rejected Metcalf's request for a reduced sentence based on his claims that the counterfeiting operation was "aberrant behavior" because he was a Jehovah's Witness who was active in charitable causes. Metcalf's co-conspirator pled guilty to unidentified charges - possibly an indicator that they assisted in Metcalf's prosecution.
MICHIGAN v. CHRISTIAN LONGO was a 2000 Michigan criminal court case which involved a Jehovah's Witness "Ministerial Servant" named Christian Longo. Chris Longo was reared as a Jehovah's Witness by parents who were prominent JWs. Longo's father was an Elder, and his mother was a "Pioneer". In the mid 1990s, the WatchTower Society selected Longo's parents to travel as special delegates to JW Conventions in several eastern European countries and the Baltic republics.
In September 2000, Chris 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". $30,000.00 Bond. Outcome unknown. Arrestees are presumed innocent of all charges.
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.
NANCY LOZADA, ET AL v. DALE BAKER OLDSMOBILE, INC., d/b/a FRESH START AUTO CENTER, d/b/a DALE BAKER KIA, d/b/a DALE BAKER SUZUKI, and d/b/a NATIONAL FLEET LIQUIDATORS OF MICHIGAN INC, ET AL were three (3) Michigan federal United States District Court decisions, in March 2000, March 2001, and May 2001. This was a certified class-action lawsuit in which previous purchasers at DALE BAKER MOTOR MALL who had POOR CREDIT HISTORY alleged that DALE BAKER OLDSMOBILE, INC. failed to provide them with a copy of their retail installment contracts at the time of execution, allegedly in violation of the federal Truth in Lending Act, the Michigan Consumer Protection Act, the Michigan Motor Vehicle Installment Sales Contracts Act, the Michigan Motor Vehicle Sales Finance Act, and the Michigan Vehicle Code. The plaintiffs sought damages under statutory remedies, as well as replevin and unjust enrichment theories.
The plaintiffs alleged that they were all customers of DALE BAKER OLDSMOBILE who had sought to purchase motor vehicles on credit. Because of their credit histories, the salesmen at DALE BAKER OLDSMOBILE first determined that plaintiffs would not be eligible for conventional auto financing. The salesmen then referred the plaintiffs to the DALE BAKER OLDSMOBILE special finance department, known as the Credit Resources Center, which was then managed by Daryl Moore. After selecting a vehicle, each plaintiff was introduced to the Assistant Special Finance Manager, Stormie Moore, to complete the necessary documentation to obtain credit to finance their vehicles in the sub-prime credit market. At that time, each plaintiff was presented with and signed a Retail Installment Contract which contained disclosures of the annual percentage rate, finance charge, amount financed, total sale price, and payment schedule. Those disclosures were contained under the heading "TRUTH IN LENDING DISCLOSURES" and placed immediately above the signature line. While plaintiffs were shown the retail installment contracts at the time they signed them and while those installment contracts contained disclosures, plaintiffs allegedly were not given a copy of the contracts or disclosures until some days after they signed their agreements.
The defendant admitted that between December 1998 and August 31, 1999, during the period of time Daryl and Stormie Moore were employed by Leroy Dale Baker, customers of the Special Finance Department did not receive, either at or before signing, a copy of the retail installment sales contract. The USDC found that 414 plaintiffs who had purchased their vehicles during that period were "proven class members" to whom defendant was liable under the recited statutes. However, the USDC also permitted any other aggrieved customer of the Special Finance Department between August 16, 1993 through December 1, 1998, to be added as plaintiffs.
Prior to trial, the USDC also ruled that plaintiffs were entitled to recover as damages under the MVISCA the finance charges paid or owed on their installment finance contracts, but also dismissed the plaintiffs' claims for replevin and unjust enrichment. The lawsuit was set for trial starting May 22, 2001. OUTCOME? We have no idea. We cannot locate any further record of this lawsuit. Settled?
Leroy Dale Baker was the founding incorporator of the Wyoming Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Dale Baker's son and business partner, Barak Kerns Baker, aka "Barry" Baker is/was a member of the Cascade Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Leroy Dale Baker made his millions as the founder of Grand Rapids' "Dale Baker Automotive Group"
. A subsidiary, Circuit Leasing, Inc.
, once leased automobiles to the WatchTower Society for its 500 or more traveling "Overseers" assigned throughout the United States -- until Baker eventually sold out his auto business operations.
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.)
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.
MIGUEL ANGEL FAJARDO v. SUPER CERAMIC TILE IMPORTING LTD was a 2012 Ontario, Canada employment court case. Miguel A. Fajardo was hired by Vito Ciancio in January 2010. During his job interview, Miguel Fajardo identified himself as a Jehovah's Witness -- as supposed evidence that he would be more honest and harder working than other prospects.
Hired as a general employee to work in the store and the warehouse, Fajardo was soon assigned payroll duties. In September 2010, Ciancio directed Fajardo to not to take out source deductions and withholdings when computing the paycheck of a certain newly hired employee. Believing that not taking out all the deductions and withholdings was "illegal", Fajardo research the matter on the internet, and determined that source deductions and withholdings were to be made on every paycheck. Fajardo reminded Ciancio that he was a Jehovah's Witness, who could not do anything "dishonest", and he refused to obey his employer's direction regarding the new hire's paycheck. Ciancio told Fajardo that he could do as he had been told, or he could make out his own final paycheck. Fajardo believed that he had just been fired, and did not return. Later, at trial, Ciancio alleged that he was going to pay that specific new hire his gross earnings, and that he would have paid the proper source deductions and withholdings himself at time of monthly filings.
In this lawsuit, which was filed nearly two years after his termination, Miguel Angel Fajardo alleged "wrongful dismissal" due to his having refused to commit an illegal act. Fajardo also sought the payment of his last pay check of $733.73, plus accumulated vacation pay of $1092.50, which he had never received. Fajardo claimed damages for "religious harassment" in the workplace, in the form of alleged negative comments made by Ciancio concerning Fajardo's religious beliefs and practices as a member of the Jehovah Witnesses. For all of the above, Fajardo sought general, specific, and punitive damages.
In response, Ciancio denied Fajardo's claims, and further claimed that Fajardo had once even issued a paycheck to himself without taking out deductions. Ciancio also counterclaimed against Fajardo for a $10,000.00 LOAN, on which Fajardo had repaid a mere $250.00.
Under Canadian law, Fajardo was entitled to three weeks notice, thus entitled to 3 (x) $733.73, plus vacation pay of $1092.50. However, the court reduced the three weeks pay to only $1500.00, because, "The figure of $500 is a reduced one being used to take into account [Fajardo's] lack of forthrightness with the court concerning his Employment Insurance benefits and his part time business earnings following his dismissal. As well the plaintiff failed to mitigate his damages by only applying for 3 or 4 jobs and not even producing a resume for the court to demonstrate his search for replacement employment." The court did award Fajardo an additional $1000.00 as punitive damages due to Ciancio's using Fajardo's due earnings as an offset against the $9750.00 owed him on his personal loan to Fajardo.
Testimony regarding the $10,000.00 loan indicated that Ciancio and Fajardo had developed a warm personal friendship, and that Ciancio was concerned about Fajardo and his family's wellbeing. Fajardo eventually told Ciancio about his accumulated high interest credit card debt which he needed to pay off. Ciancio offered Fajardo a loan of $3000.00 to help him out. Fajardo declined that offer, but later requested a much larger loan of over $14,000.00, to be paid back within one year, at an interest rate of 5%. Ciancio did not agree to the over $14,000.00 loan amount, but did eventually present Fajardo with a check for $10,000.00. Fajardo made only two $250.00 repayments, and one of those checks bounced.
At trial, Fajardo claimed that he attempted to make more repayments, but that Ciancio told him that he could wait until Fajardo was on his feet again. Fajardo further claimed that the $10,000.00 loan was "interest free", and the court agreed given no written agreement between the parties. Fajardo was ordered to repay Ciancio $250.00 per month until the loan was discharged.
With regard to Fajardo's claim of "religious harassment", Fajardo alleged that Ciancio "made negative comments" to him on a regular basis about his Jehovah's Witnesses religion -- in particular about not celebrating birthdays and not believing in higher education for children.The court noted that it was Fajardo who introduced his religious beliefs into his workplace when, during his job interview, Fajardo had told Ciancio that he was a Jehovah's Witness who would be a good worker. One week later, Fajardo offered to bring Ciancio some WatchTower literature to explain why he did not allow his children to celebrate birthdays. (How did Ciancio know that Fajardo did not allow his children to celebrate birthdays?) Ciancio testified that he still had a Bible and several pieces of WatchTower literature given to him by Fajardo.
The court noted that "religious harassment" only occurred where the employer knew or ought to reasonably have known that the comments would be unwelcome. The court stated, "In the case at hand the court finds that as the plaintiff introduced his religion and discussion about it into the workplace from his job interview onwards, that the parties had a socially interactive dialogue going on about the plaintiff's religious practices, and that this did not constitute harassment." Additionally, "the plaintiff did not provide any psychological or physical evidence as to how the alleged religious harassment affected him [negatively]."
NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED!!!