He who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client.
A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.
The feeding frenzy has begun among the participants in the Affinity Scam Ponzi scheme that my colleague Pen and I have been chronicling here on Penigma. It was inevitable that the alleged crooked participants in this massive swindle, this rapacious fraud, would sooner or later begin to turn on each other as the pressure was applied by the victims and their lawyers, by the receiver charged with recovering as much of the money as possible, by the SEC and CFTC, and by the US Attorney's office. It is what the pressure is intended to do.
In confidential information from the victims, I have been hearing for months that additional indictments are going to be handed down soon. From that information I have been expecting them over the last three months or more. Defendants Beckman, Durand and Pettengill have been surprisingly quiet, as has Patrick Kiley. The court activities have swirled almost exclusively around Trevor Cook, while continuing to reference that he committed his crimes with the deliberate assistance of unnamed others.
This has left an aura of waiting for the other shoe to drop......and waiting and waiting and waiting.
In the interim, Trevor Cook has gone to jail for contempt, and subsequently made an incredibly sweet plea bargain deal that has allowed him to plead guilty to only a couple of charges for which he is guaranteed he will serve no more than 25 years. I am told that this is 25 years without time off for good behavior, or any other time off; it will be the full 25 years behind bars, followed by several years of supervision out of jail.
In this interim, since he made the plea bargain, it appears that Cook acted in bad faith, which those skeptics among us had thought from the beginning. He has not as agreed provided any significant or substantial information as to the whereabouts of large amounts of missing money. He was to be sentenced in the plea bargain in the next week or so.
During these court proceedings the lead attorney, one of the best in the DoJ for this kind of crime, Frank Magill, has left the U.S. Attorney's office to become a judge. The other top lawyers with the expertise to take over had been finishing up other high profile Ponzi scheme trials, like the Tom Petters case. When there are as many swindles going on in a jurisdiction as we have -- and make no mistake, Minnesota has more than many, more than most, to our shame and embarrassment -- there are only so many experienced trial personnel to go around. We've stretched them pretty thin here, even with the organization by the Obama administration of a special Fraud task force, which seems to be scoring successes against the bad guys.
Today however, there was a development so bizarre, so outrageous, so just plain funny, that I could not delay another segment in the series on this scam. Pat Kiley, one of the most prominent, most often cited high-profile actors in this little drama is suing the other defendants, Beckman, Durand and Pettengill, along with Dan Browning, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Pioneer Press and assorted other reporters for millions of dollars -----for having destroyed his reputation in the radio listening community! It gets better. Kiley is representing himself, or acting 'pro se' to use the legal term for it.
The link to the suit is above, already available on Scribd.com. It is comparatively brief, and has some unintentionally comic moments. The descriptions of drunken orgies with hookers alone are entertaining, for what it tells us about these individuals. Presumably for Beckman, Durand and Pettengill to provide this information about Kiley's participation, they were at the very least admitting to being present, certainly it demonstrates they knew what kind of operation they were a part of. From other accounts, I would be inclined to believe that all of them were participants, and none were simply observing.
The other interesting part is that Kiley claims that Beckman, Durand and Pettengill tried to shift their illegal actions onto him; he in turn indignantly claims the other three were the thieves and swindlers in the scam. Among the other shots Kiley levels at his former bosom buddies is that their radio show was inferior to his. This isn't surprising really; bad as Kiley's own radio show was -- and it was god-awful, Cook has complained that the press has not recognized what a shrewd business man he was and is angry at them for depicting him as having lost millions in bad deals - a fraction apparently compared to what he stole and gambled away. If anyone wants to check out Kiley's old radio show, Youtube has quite a few examples of it.
Kiley's dignity slips more than a bit throughout, not unlike his tacky toupee. There will be more information forthcoming: about the SEC case hearing earlier this week, about Cook's polygraph test administered by the FBI, about the efforts by the victims and others to overturn the plea agreement for non-compliance with recovering money and delay the sentencing. With any luck, our patience will be rewarded in the promised indictments being made public, the claw-back suits to recover money have begun, Durand being among those pursued for money. But in the meantime, it is at least a one-ring circus in the Kiley v Browning case courtroom.
CNN has done a series of segments on this Ponzi scheme; I can only wonder if they will continue their coverage of this latest development.
For those who want more information on Kiley's inability to read with comprehension in the filing of this suit, this is an excellent explanation for what is wrong with this stupid suit.
I have to admit the inclusion of Fox News guest host and right wing radio talk show host Laura Ingraham was a bit of a surprise, although the renting of right wing politicians and pundits is certainly not new for these kinds of bogus financial plan promotions. But in the words of those right wing radio hosts -- stay tuned!