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February 17, 2014 § Leave a comment
Divorce Industry “Honest Services Fraud”: Kickbacks, Referrals, Bribery, and Extortion. California Coalition’s Expanded Racketeering Complaint Details the Crimes
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Last week California Coalition for Families and Children filed its
Amended Racketeering and Civil Rights complaint in federal court, adding City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, Assistant City Attorney Emily Garson, Judge Michael Groch, San Diego Superior Court Counsel Kristine Nesthus, and adding charges for obstruction of justice against a group of Superior Court judges led by the San Diego County Bar Association and its insurer, Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, in thwarting California Coalitions’ Complaint in this action. It alleges numerous felonies under state and federal law, including extortion, bribery, fraud, false arrest, and civil rights crimes under 18 U.S.C. §§ 242, 241, 371—which are federal felonies by themselves.
The complaint also expanded on the details of the “honest services fraud” schemes operated by divorce lawyers. These schemes, which involve illegal kickback and behind the scenes dealing between attorneys, service providers, psychologists, and judges, are illegal under the federal criminal code, 18 U.S.C. § 1346.
“Many people think that fraud is a one-on-one transaction, such as when a consumer purchases counterfeit goods. But under federal law, fraud is defined much more broadly, to include any transaction in which the seller is somehow benefited from providing dishonest services.” Says Colbern Stuart, President of California Coalition.
Honest Services Fraud under Federal Law
“Honest Services Fraud” includes transactions in which a seller is receiving a behind-the-scene “kickback”, or compensation of any kind for a referral that wrongfully influences the referrer.
If Company A sells you goods or services, then refers you to company B, you expect that referral to be unbiased—in essence Company A is representing to you that they’re recommending company B solely because Company B is a good company. However, if Company B is paying Company A for the referral, or offering something else of value–a “kickback”—as happens very often today—Company A must disclose that relationship to you as the buyer. If they don’t, they’ve committed fraud, and if you’re harmed by Company B, company A may be liable to you.
“These referral networks are vast and well-entrenched in the divorce industry.” Says Stuart. Because the industry is a ‘closed society’, competition by outsiders is artificially limited by referrals from lawyers to preferred accountants, to psychologists, to mediators. ”The network is as vast as the divorce litigant’s bank account.” “Litigants usually don’t realize the services they’re being sold are entirely unnecessary or outright fraudulent until it’s too late. They come to a divorce lawyer angry at a spouse, greedy, or frightened—whatever blinding emotion at hand.” Says Stuart. For such litigants, the divorce lawyer remedy may be more deadly than the disease. “Divorce lawyers know litigants are vulnerable, but rather than save them, they walk them into the trap. It’s outrageous and its plainly fraud, but it happens every day.” Says Stuart.
California Coalition’s First Amended Complaint sets forth the Domestic Dispute Industry Honest Services Fraud in its Racketeering Counts. “You may recognize this pattern of referrals and “you scratch my back” cooperation—sometimes even between the adverse attorneys working to disadvantage their clients. If you do, you may have a racketeering claim against your attorney, your ex-spouse’s attorney, and maybe even your ex.” Says Stuart. “We suggest that divorce litigants check to see if these types of scenarios are happening to them-is your divorce lawyer telling you things like “that’s how it’s done” in divorce court, or “there’s nothing you can do?” Is he or she telling you the Constitution doesn’t apply?” Is she suggesting you go to a paid service provider for something you can get in court for free? If so, you’re in danger of being defrauded, and once you’re in it, there’s no easy way out.” Says Stuart.
“Black Hat” Operatives in the Domestic Dispute Industry Criminal Enterprise
On the other end many divorce lawyers promote themselves as ‘black hat’ operatives—those who can use the dysfunction to your advantage. “These are the bad guys we’re in process of exterminating.” Says Stuart. Hiring an attorney to sue for revenge or out
MARILYN BIERER, “BLACK HAT” DOMESTIC DISPUTE INDUSTRY OPERATIVE
of any emotion including fear is extremely dangerous. ”Backfire is common and always harmful, even deadly. Sadly, attorneys simply won’t stop you from hurting yourself, and you won’t know that you’re doing so until it’s too late.” Say Stuart. “We’re going to balance that equation out. As we move forward anyone, who has signed up a client to use illegal tactics that fall into our gun-sights, that lawyer just signed his own death warrant.” Says Stuart.
“Courts, institutions, and prosecutors have tolerated this illegal behavior for far too long. RICO empowers victims of fraud to fend for themselves, and offers enhanced damages of three times actual loss, plus costs and attorneys fees. We put those extraordinarily powerful statutes to work against bad lawyers and evil clients.” Says Stuart.
“These are crimes. These people belong in prison. The U.S. Attorney for this District Laura Duffy won’t do her job to enforce the criminal law. The District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis won’t do her job to enforce the criminal law. In my opinion, they probably belong in prison for tolerating such widespread and outrageous behavior damaging kids and families, but that’s not my business. They won’t put the industry under, we will. And with RICO’s injunctive remedies, we can. If we can recover some hardship money for parents and kids who’ve been injured along the way, even better. ” Says Stuart.
If your attorney is recommending to do things you know are illegal—such as lie under oath, fabricate evidence, or exaggeration, you may be committing racketeering by cooperating. “We have a client whose lawyer advised ‘if you don’t do it to them, they’ll do it to you.’ That sadly is not uncommon, and the likelihood often begins the cycle that leads to a “messy divorce” and personal destruction. Nobody on the inside has the spine to stop it. We do.” Say Stuart. “We’re establishing precedents that enable clients who’ve been duped by their own attorneys or their spouse’s attorneys to fire back—with thermonuclear weaponry of federal law racketeering mail fraud, extortion, bribery, and honest services fraud charges. With the precedents established, other litigants can follow our path and use them to combat fraud in other jurisdictions. We hope the herculean efforts we’re undertaking in San Diego will benefit parents and divorce industry litigants nationwide.” Says Stuart.
California Coalition’s complaint details how the industry is entrenched, with government lawyers, prosecutors, and judges squarely in the divorce industry’s pocket. “We don’t expect to see real change industry-wide until heads roll. But that’s the kind of battle we enjoy most. We’re blessed to have capable minds, eager hands, and some extremely powerful federal law at our disposal.”
RACKETEERING COUNT 2
18 U.S.C. §§ 1962(c), (d)
Honest Services Fraud
18 U.S.C. § 1346
Against All RICO Defendants
1031. This is a Count asserting numerous Claims for relief under RICO section 1962 (c) and (d), based upon predicate crimes actionable under 18 U.S.C. § 1346 for Honest Services Fraud, against defendants as identified per Claim in this Count.
1032. All prior paragraphs are re-alleged and incorporated as if set forth in full.
General Allegations to Racketeering Count 2
1033. Defendants engaged in one or more SAD by and in conjunction with the ENTERPRISES to deprive Plaintiffs of the intangible right of honest services.
1034. On information and belief, Defendants, and each of them, support and promote one another in perpetrating each SAD actionable fraud, bribery and/or kickbacks, wherein a quid pro quo (monetary, preferential referral, business referral, and/or some other form of benefit) is provided to or from each RICO defendant, and including such benefits to or from persons unknown to Plaintiffs, to assure that Plaintiffs in their PUBLIC BENEFIT ACTIVITIES would be effectively punished, silenced, discredited, and rendered ineffective as an effectively competing alternative vehicle offering reasonable and realistic forms of professional quality services to counsel and advise individual parents and guardians addressing family law, child custody, and domestic relations issues.
1035. In the case of DOYNE and BLANCHET, these quid-pro-quo exchanges are backed up with use of one or another SAD, such as “that’s just how it is” or extortion such as “if you ever want to see your son again ….” which are enabled by the abuse of process tools of The Pit and DDIJO abstention/enforcement of illegal DVILS ORDERS. In STUART’S case, additional muscle was provided by SDCBA’S security guards, and ultimately the familial relationships between STUART ASSAULT COORDINATORS and CITY ATTORNEY DEFENDANTS.
1036. The fraudulent quid-pro-quo ignores ethical PROFESSIONAL DUTIES of loyalty and zealous advocacy among putative opponent lawyers, and judicial officials who disregard their ethical duties enforce law. In doing so, Defendants effectively re-define their opponents to be their own clients, take those who should be their opponents as collaborators, and pursue the collaborators’ joint interests above their clients’.
1037. DDICE operatives do so by collaborating with opposing counsel and state interests under color of law to extort, defraud, and abuse their own clients, whom they refer to as “Litigants Behaving Badly” in a grotesque and reprehensible criminal enterprise conducted with full knowledge, consent, and contribution from public and private servants alike.
1038. Such conduct constitutes the deprivation of the intangible personal property right to receive ‘honest-services’ for purposes of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341, 1343, and 1346.
1039. As an actual and proximate result, Plaintiffs have been damaged or injured in a nature and amount to be proven at trial.
The “Honest Services Fraud Scheme” of Sharon Blanchet, Ashworth Blanchet Christenson & Kalemkiarian, Jeff Fritz of Basie and Fritz, and Dr. Stephen Doyne
The kickback and extortion scheme between Sharon Blanchet, Ashworth Blanchet Christenson & Kalemkiarian, Jeff Fritz of Basie and Fritz, and Dr. Stephen Doyne is described elsewhere in the complaint:
42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Cal. Const. art. I, § 26
Against DOYNE, DOYNE, INC., BLANCHET, ABC&K,
808. This is a Count alleging breach of contract, fraud, extortion, bribery and abuse of process centered on the actions of Defendants DOYNE (DOYNE TERRORISM) acting under color of law, and related deprivations of rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Cal. Const. art. I, § 26 against DOYNE, DOYNE, INC., BLANCHET, ABC&K, WOHLFEIL, and SCHALL (DOYNE TERRORISM Defendants).
809. On or about April 10, 2008, Defendant WOHFEIL recommended and offered to oversee Defendant DOYNE to “mediate” custody issues in the Stuart Dissolution.
810. Concurrent with WOHLFEIL’S recommendation, BLANCHET also made representations and warranties regarding DOYNE and DOYNE INC. as set forth in Exhibit 14 and incorporated herein by reference.
811. Collectively, WOLFEIL and BLANCHET’S recommendations and referral communicated to STUART that DOYNE and DOYNE INC. DOYNE INC. was a trustworthy, competent mediator.
812. Based upon WOHLFEIL’S recommendation and agreement to oversee, and BLANCHET’S representations and warranties, STUART contacted DOYNE INC.
813. Between about April, 2008 and September 12, 2008, STUART and DOYNE, INC. conducted oral negotiations, entered agreements, and executed a written contract (STUART- DOYNE CONTRACTS).
814. During these negotiations and agreements, DOYNE and DOYNE, INC. made representations, promises, and warranties to STUART as follows:
A. That DOYNE was only authorized and would only act to “mediate”, and could not perform a custody evaluation, therapy, “forensic investigation” “analysis” or “evaluation” or act as a witness in court;
B. That DOYNE would not permit ex parte contact, and would take no action or recommendation except as authorized by the court or the parties;
C. That DOYNE would base his reasoning and actions on actual evidence and law;
D. That all parties would be afforded notice and opportunity to be heard before DOYNE took any action or made any recommendations regarding the matter;
E. That DOYNE INC. was an alternative to court and governmental intervention, safer, more private, and less expensive than court, but with the same procedural safeguards;
F. That DOYNE would “quickly” work toward 50/50 custody, that it would only take “a few sessions”, and that his fees and expenses would not exceed the initial $5,000 retainer;
G. That the DOYNE INC. mediation process would be completed in “a month or two”;
H. That DOYNE’s contact with the court would be in the form of a written report which both parties would have an opportunity to review, comment on, contest, supplement, and collaborate over before submission to the court;
I. That DOYNE’S had no authority to take actions or make judgments, but only to work toward cooperative solutions;
J. That DOYNE would not recommend any solution that would harm, burden, or obstruct any party, and that he was “honest, fair, and completely competent” to perform mediation services.
815. These representations were false when made.
816. As described more fully in Exhibits 22 and 23, DOYNE INC breached the contracts and representations by committing extortion, abuse of process, and by failing to abide by each of the above referenced promises, his PROFESSIONAL DUTIES, including duties of disclosure, loyalty, honesty, and good faith, as well as breaching one or more provision of the written contract.
A. DOYNE extended the mediation for months, insisting on weekly sessions to address issues he had not been authorized to “mediate”;
B. DOYNE was not only unable to resolve even minor issues successfully, he welcomed and encouraged both parties to bring up new issues unrelated to child custody, effectively attempting to insert himself as an arbiter for all disputes—real or imagined—between the parties; and by otherwise extended the mediation to increase his fees;
C. DOYNE refused to investigate STUART’s Claims and evidence that MS. STUART was abusing their son, Croix Stuart, in violation of his professional duties to report child abuse;
D. DOYNE exceeded his authority in filing false and misleading reports with San Diego County child protective services alleging that Plaintiff had “held his son upside down over a balcony” when DOYNE in fact knew and later admitted, that claim was untrue;
E. That San Diego County Child Protective Services had performed an investigation of DOYNE’s allegations against Plaintiff and found DOYNE’s allegation to be false;
F. Because of DOYNE’s false and misleading letters and report to San Diego Child Protective Services, DOYNE caused the removal of Plaintiff’s son Croix Stuart from Plaintiff’s shared custody and awarded sole custody to Petitioner Ms. Stuart;
G. That DOYNE repeatedly ignored or failed to follow up on Plaintiff’s concerns that Croix Stuart was being abused, manipulated, and alienated by Petitioner Ms. Stuart;
H. That DOYNE was forcing Plaintiff to pay for services of DOYNE which Plaintiff objected to, did not request, and were wasteful and unnecessary; and
I. That DOYNE effectively held Stuart’s son hostage, dangling his custody decisions between the couple, increasing adversarial hostilities, strife, and conflict, in order increase his fees in the case;
J. That DOYNE was in fact unauthorized to perform any work on the matter as he was ineligible, unqualified, and had failed to establish his eligibility by appropriate procedure; and
K. Further breaches of each representation elsewhere identified.
DOYNE, DOYNE, INC. Terrorism
818. In response to these breaches, in February or March 1, 2009, STUART terminated DOYNE’S services.
819. In addition to complaining to and firing DOYNE, Plaintiff also filed formal complaints with DOYNE’s landlord, Scripps Memorial Hospital, the State of California Board of Psychology, the FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS in the DUE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE and FFRRESA. On information and belief DOYNE knew of these complaints.
820. A true and correct copy letters to and concerning DOYNE relating to these allegations are referenced as Exhibits 22-23.
821. In response to STUART’S objections and reports detailed above, DOYNE INC. retaliated against STUART by committing the following acts against STUART:
A. Committing perjury in a hearing relating to the STUART’S son, Croix Stuart;
B. Continuing to file false reports and encourage the (false) investigation of his initial report against STUART;
C. Continuing to demand STUART pay DOYNE and DONE INC. for services not rendered or fraudulently rendered;
D. Attempting to intimidate, distress, harm, defraud, extort, and rob Stuart;
E. Requesting a bribe; and
F. Participating in the STUART ASSAULT.
DOYNE’S Attempted Bribery and Extortion
822. In May, 2009, DOYNE telephoned STUART at home requesting that STUART pay DOYNE for services he falsely claimed to have provided.
823. DOYNE advised STUART that he had sent STUART several invoices which STUART had not paid; STUART had advised DOYNE previously that he would no longer pay DOYNE, INC.’S services or invoices.
824. DOYNE advised STUART that he “should come current” and that if he did so, DOYNE would “work with you” to “get more time with your son.”
825. Given DOYNE’S pattern and history of professional incompetence, fraud, breach of contract, deprivation of rights, false CPS report, overbilling, and other CULPABLE conduct as alleged herein, STUART was horrified at what he regarded as predatory behavior and an extortive threat to commit further acts of perjury, abuse of process, and manipulation regarding custody of STUART’s son if STUART did not “come current.”
826. He was further extremely distressed that DOYNE then maintained a relationship with his Croix Stuart and Lynn Stuart as a therapist, and would inflict further harm or commit further facilitation of Ms. Stuart’s child abuse if STUART did not comply with DOYNE’s demand for a bribe.
827. STUART refused to pay DOYNE further, but was horrified, traumatized, and severely distressed as a result of DOYNE’S behavior.
828. Understanding that DOYNE remained as a witness in STUART’S family law matter, and based upon his past history of abuse of process, false testimony, and abuse of process, he could easily retaliate against STUART for any action he took regarding his conduct, STUART was intimidated, terrified, oppressed and under duress, prohibiting him from taking formal action on such conduct, constituting duress, fraud, and undue influence.
829. STUART was also defrauded by DOYNE and BLANCHET as elsewhere alleged in understanding the nature and extent of the enterprise and conspiratorial relationships between DOYNE, DOYNE, INC. and BLANCHET, CITY ATTORNEY DEFENDANTS, and each STUART ASSAULT COORDINATOR, and their successive duress and undue influence also elsewhere alleged.
830. As a result of such fraud, duress, undue influence, breach of fiduciary and other PROFESSIONAL DUTIES, STUART has been oppressed, deterred, and unwillingly delayed to initiate this Action until August 20, 2013.
San Diego Divorce Attorneys Conduct the Orchestra
Sadly, the ringleaders of the show are the divorce attorneys—those who have the closest relationship to the clients. The sad fact is clients in divorce court are often not the sharpest tools in the shed. Add to that blinding emotion, and you have easy targets for mediocre lawyers to send their kids to Berkley. ”It’s a reaper’s field for every Aesop’s fable you’ve ever heard. This is what Sunday School was supposed to prepare you for. Sadly, most people must not have been listening.” Say Stuart.
“The solution is easier than most people realize.” Says Stuart. “But for some it’s tough. It starts with a big dose of humility. We sow the seeds of our own destruction by enabling the deadly sins—avarice, pride, greed, animus—it sounds old fashioned but its even more relevant today. If you come to divorce court with the intent of getting rich by duping someone, or ruining someone’s life, your evil motives are just as likely to destroy you.” “Divorce litigants are blind to the costs of the process—they regularly pay thousands of dollars for some “control” victory. If you’re the aggressor here, you’re the problem, and soon enough your problem will devour you.” Say Stuart. ”Once you start with your own fallibility, you can forgive others–including your ex-spouse. Once you forgive, you clear your head from much of the emotion, and can hopefully make better decisions by avoiding the deadly sins that lead to your demise, and divorce lawyer riches.”