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Yet even more arrests for Ponzi schemes January 24, 2009

Posted by jefhenningeresq in News.
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This is getting pretty crazy huh?  The media made it seem like Madoff invented the Ponzi scheme.  Now, there are too many arrests in a day to cover.  I’m sure there are plenty others to follow. 

Many of these cases begin with a civil suit.  I’m concerned that the attorneys working these civil suits are not skilled in handling white collar crime cases.  Otherwise, they will be able to see the criminal case long before the arrest and as a result, they can use the civil case to start building a defense.  Discovery in a civil case is more or less wide open whereas a Federal criminal case is much more limited. 

However, this works both ways.  So, the client can be deposed whereas in a criminal case, they have the right to remain silent.  I believe that this scares many attorneys into throwing in the towel when it comes to the civil case.  While this would normally make sense, the chances of winning a Federal criminal case is remote if the client is indicted.  Thus, if the attorney can develop some good evidence at the civil case, they could put some doubt in the minds of the US Attorney’s office before the client is even arrested.  Due to the way they pick and choose cases (which accounts for the high conviction rate), they may never arrest the client in the first place.  We have done this with many Federal and State cases.   This saves our clients’ reputation not to mention a substantial amount of legal fees.

Two of the more recent Ponzi scheme arrests are:

1.  Vander Tuig, Jonathan Carman, Mark Sostak, Soren Svendsen, Scott Yard and Robert Waldman have been charged with grand theft and securities fraud.  All six men were affiliated with the Carolina Development company and were alleged to have defrauded over 1000 victims out of a total of $52 million.  The alleged scam was to promise big returns to clients investing in luxary property next to golf courses in California.  Like many of these cases, this alleged fraud came to light during a 2006 SEC investigation which resulted in a 2007 judgment.  Story is here. 

2.  Frank Castaldi is alleged to have stolen tens of millions of dollars from about 200 to 300 clients.  Since 1985, he allegedly promised investors returns of 10 percent to 15 percent on six-month promissory notes.  Unlike the six men in the other story, Castaldi is not locked up with a multi-million dollar bail.  Why?  Because he is cooperating.  That’s the real interesting part of this story.  His attorney is obviously doing a good job for him. 

He owns several businesses and thus, has several business partners.  Anyone connected to this guy is in big trouble and needs a good attorney ASAP because the more people he brings in, the better of a deal he will get. 

The story is here.

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1. Victim - January 30, 2009

THE TRUTH ABOUT FRANK CASTALDI AND HIS VICTIMS
You can call us stupid, DO NOT call us greedy. Let me tell you about the people who are victims of this horrible, evil monster, the REAL story. None of us are “big shots” with huge fancy houses & huge fancy cars. We are regular folks who live in regular houses in regular neighborhoods. We are people who simply trusted someone that we thought was really smart & knew a lot about investments. Regular folks don’t know about things like that, that’s why we thought we were so lucky to find Frank Castaldi.
You think we are stupid? Let me tell you about this conman. We would go to his office & he would give us a kiss each & every time. He asked about our kids each & every time. He was invited to our weddings, anniversary and birthday parties. He was a family guy. He knew everyone’s financial situations because he was the neighborhood tax guy. He approached us about this opportunity because he said he wanted to help us out, “we are like family”, family helps family out. None of us knew about investing money. What do you do, look in the yellow pages for a stranger? No, you go to someone that you trust and have known for years. Isn’t that the smart thing to do?
I can tell you first hand that just last month he encouraged & tried to personally get an equity loan for someone . The reason-this persons’ wife is very ill from cancer & he is trying to stay home to care of her. Frank Castaldi personally knew that. He tried to get them a $150,000.00 loan so they would get more interest & that would really help them out, make their lives easier. What a nice guy?! Now these poor people don’t even have enough money for groceries. Does that sound like a greedy person to you? Does that sound like someone who just wanted to be rich and not have to work? There are many more stories just like this.
So many people who have worked hard their whole lives gave him their money not to become millionaires but to make their senior years a little easier and hopefully have a little left for their kids. I was personally in his building the week before all this came out. There were at least 10 elderly men that came in within just a 20 minutes. They were so heartbroken that they couldn’t even utter a sentence. All they could say was “Frank” when they walked in the door. They not only had panic in their sad, sad, old eyes, many of them had tears.
Now, because he is being so wonderfully cooperative, he gets to go home without even paying $5.00 for bail. God only knows what he is saying to help himself out. He lied so many times to us, I know he will lie in court. Don’t be fooled by his demeanor or the gift he has to convince people that he is an innocent hard working man just trying to help people out. All of us cannot be fools. He’s really, really good at it. Reports say that in 2008 alone he renewed notes for between 200 & 300 people who invested for a total of 68-69 million dollars. Compared to most ponzi scams, that is not a whole lot of people for that huge amount of money. That just shows you how much he was trusted and yes, I hate to say it now, but even loved. This is so not the man we thought we knew. There is not a soul on this earth that most of these people will ever trust again. It is so terribly sad.
You may notice that I am not signing my real name. Let me assure you that it is NOT because I am ashamed OR embarrassed. It is because I do not know what this evil little man is capable of. I pray for all the other victims to please try to keep your lives going. Do not give anything else up to him. Do not give up on this new fight we have. Do not give up on humanity.
To all you people out there that are blogging, saying we deserve this and are just greedy-Shame on you. Tell that to just one of those poor old couples that will now die feeling like a stupid failure. That is the saddest part of all.
Honest victim of a terrible “human” being

2. Victims of Frank Castaldi - February 11, 2009

PERSONAL LETTER TO FRANK CASTALDI-I know someone will tell you about this

Just in case you thought that we are “getting use to” what you have done to us let me assure you that we ARE NOT! Because of you we have lost everything, our cars, ours homes, our security, our lives, our souls. People are frantically trying to put their homes up for sale, sell anything they can in their houses, having to take money from their children who don’t have much themselves. You have left us dead. Do you realize that we can do nothing else 24 hours a day but to think of what you have done to us? You made us feel so stupid. The first thought on our minds when we wake up is you, the last thing we think of when we finally fall asleep is you. Day after day after day. It is NOT getting easier. You are actually killing all the older people that trusted you. Minute by minute. I know that for sure because I am not that old and my mind and body dies a little, every single second that passes. I truly do not know how they are still holding on. I pray for them every day. We are trying so hard to keep going but many of us are going to fail. I hope you realize that people are really going to die because of YOU. Die from a broken heart.

What in the world did you get out of this? Why in the world did you do this to us? Why would you hurt us like this? Was money that important to you? I do believe that you did this because your “addiction” was the respect you got from people. People loved you and thought you were so smart. You had a social life because of us. You went to our weddings, birthday parties, anniversaries and even funerals. You were the “big man” who cared about everyone and everyone loved you. That’s what drove you. You are a sick, sick person. Why couldn’t you tell us when you lost just half our money and at least gave us that?

Have you had a good life living these lies all these years? Have you been sleeping good? What do your kids think of you? What have you done to their lives? Is there anyone in the world that you care about? You can also tell that lawyer of yours to kindly wipe that smirk off his face next time he shows up on the news. We DO NOT appreciate that. What in the world is so amusing to him? He’s already making a mockery out of this. That just puts salt in our wounds.

If you have an ounce of human being inside of you, you will admit to the lies you have told us all these years and get this over as soon as possible. Give us at least a little piece of our lives back. Don’t you dare lie about what you have told us all these years to get a couple years cut off your sentence. Our “sentence” will last a life time no matter what happens to you. None of us will ever be the same or enjoy simple life like we use to. By the grace of God you will think about that.

I’m sure you thought that because the majority of your victims are elderly and do not speak English very well that they would just hide out of fear. I will do my absolute best to give them the confidence to fight and speak out because there is NOTHING to fear. We did absolutely NOTHING wrong and now these poor people are terrified because they have to talk to the FBI. The FBI! My God, this is something we watch in a movie sitting on our couches in our living rooms. This is not real life for us. How dare you put these people in these circumstances!

Lastly, I will fight till my death to get every single penny out of you and every person that was involved with you. I don’t care about the amount, I just want everything you have. You deserve NOTHING. They deserve NOTHING. These victims deserve their money back. The deserve so much more than that but at least give them that. If you have any of their money left, I beg you to tell them. Money will no longer give you the respect you have craved all these years. Nothing will give that back to you but at least show us that maybe one time, even if it was years ago, you cared just a little bit about these people. Just give them that, even if it is not the truth. For some reason it is still important to them.

Time is the worst thing for us right now but it is also the best thing. We are not just sickened and shocked anymore. Time has allowed us to get MAD. I look forward to seeing you in court. I want to see your face. I want you to look at us. We need to know what you have to say to us. I want to see you go to prison so I can send you a note every day to remind you that we will never, ever forgive you or let you forget what you have done. I will keep you up to date on how these peoples’ lives turned out because of you. I will send you the funeral cards. We are not on this earth long enough to begin with so the fact the you have taken years off our lives should forever be in the back of your mind. I will help remind you of that. I promise.

This is definitely not the last time you will hear from me. I will continue to inform the victims of any news as time goes on and keep them motivated to fight this to the end. Right now my only wish for you is that your children do not have to carry on this legacy.

P.S. Since you always asked about my kids I will update you…. They are not doing so good.

3. Victims of Frank Castaldi - March 3, 2009

To my fellow victims: Just want to give you an update and let you know what I am trying to do this next week. It seems no one in the newspaper and/or television industry cares about our situation. I have contacted so many people to no avail. I do have someone at the Chicago Tribune that would like to do a story on us though. If you are interested pls contact Steve Schmadeke at the Chicago Tribune. In the meantime, I have contacted the Oprah show and my goal this week is to write to every congress person in the city of Chicago, Norridge and Prospect Heights. They need to help us out here. I am not going to ask for any hand-outs but I believe they can and should help us out in other ways. First of all, we all received our real estate tax bills and this is certainly not a good time for that. I will ask them to put a hold on these bills for at least 6 months. I am also going to ask them to contact the mortgage companies of all the victims who are having a difficult time paying their mortgage and are risking losing their homes. We can give them proof of being a victim quite easily. For so many people their homes are the only thing they have left. Their homes are only thing left that they can still feel proud of . Not to dismiss our financial responsibility but to put a hold on our accounts for at least 6 months. They can simply add those months to the end. Those damn banks can sell just one house that that stole from someone to make up for our payments for just a little while. In the United States of America aren’t people suppose to help people out? At least those bank executives will be able to tell the press that they are doing something good for people, rather than the awful things they have been doing for years with OUR money. They should cherish the opportunity to do so. Funny thing though, I bet most people won’t even take that opportunity because of pride. If not, please at least let them know that you care.

These politicians need to do something for us regular people too. I’m sick and tired of seeing them on the news fighting like a bunch of idiots and getting nothing done. Give any one of us a week in their office and we can show them what to do. Most of us can figure out how to feed a family of 4 on 50.00 a week and these damn politicians can’t figure out how to spend millions of dollars effectively. It’s about time they did something to really help. It’s time for them to earn just a fraction of their outrageous salaries. THEY are going to have to speak for us because no cares about or hears OUR voices. Time to step up. I’m sick and tired of these politicians who don’t give a crap about anything but keeping their nonsense jobs and trying to get their family members who have no experience and/or work ethic a job also. Why aren’t just one of them holding news conferences or holding protests to help US out? I wonder why. There must be some politicians that care and would like to help. I don’t know who they are, probably because they are actually in their offices doing real work rather than carrying on like a bunch of whiny 6 year olds complaining about how unfair they are being treated. You have got to be kidding me! You want to talk about unfair, read our stories. If the government caught Frank Castaldi doing something illegal (none of us even know today exactly what that is), why would it have taken them 30 years to figure it out? Please just give us some answers. Please at least help us keep our homes.

I’m sick of the banks just taking homes from people and they are just holding on to these homes until times get better and they can get the big bucks. Has there been anyone who actually got to purchase a foreclosed home? It is next to impossible. They are getting so much money from the government and are still not offering any of it to people who need a loan. They are just holding on to it themselves. I’m sick of all the good people suffering in these times when there are corporations throwing big parties and flying in million dollar jets, I’m sick of these victims not being able to sleep each night because they are scared to death someone is going to take their home away, the only thing they have left in life. This is not how things are suppose to work out for hard working people. It’s just not how it is suppose to work out. I don’t think people who read about this ponzi scheme really understand how this has ruined our lives. I don’t think they really know that we were not rich people, we did not live rich lives. Frank Castaldi was our bank. He was our savings account. He assured us we had a future. Now people have nothing and are talking of suicide. Some have even tried. Someone needs to assure them that they are not guilty by association. We can tell each other that all day long but the fact that we have to answer questions to the FBI is incomprehensible. Why should we have to answer even one question? We simply gave our hard earned money to someone to invest and trusted that what he told us was right. I know so many people think we intentionally “ripped off” the government. My God, if you only knew. These poor old people are so scared. They are so scared that someone is going to think they did something wrong because Frank Castaldi did something wrong. That is so not right. I’m sick of trying to explain ourselves and trying to tell others that we really, really are good honest people. My whole life I have lived by the theory that if you are a good person, good things happen to you. My whole life I have been obnoxiously honest. There must be something good that has to come out of this. It is so hard not to change that way of thinking. I feel my heart is hardening and I don’t want it to happen. It is becoming increasingly difficult.

I’m sorry to be rambling so much this time but as each of us know, we have some ok days and we have some really bad days. For me, today is a really bad day. We wake up every morning and just pray that when we open our eyes we were just having a really bad nightmare. We wish we didn’t even have to sleep at all so we don’t have to realize over and over each morning what this man did this to us and and how our lives have changed. I will hopefully be ok because I am young enough to start over but for God’s sake, please, someone do something for these older people who cannot do that. They cannot only go back to work, they don’t even have the spirit to live anymore. I already know several people who have tried to take their lives. They do not deserve this. They do not deserve this at all. We need to help them. Please, someone help them. Don’t take their homes away from them because an evil little “man” took away not only their money but their pride, their soul, their confidence, their will to live.

You know what, I think I will just forward this exact letter to the politicians and community activists. I would love for any of the other victims to forward this letter to their representatives from their towns also. We need to help each other out. Please fill out those papers we are receiving from the DA office. I know you don’t feel you should have to answer a single question, Frank does. I have been told that by a few people. I give you so much credit for thinking that way but in reality, we need to tell them our side. We need to tell them the truth. Please just fill out the letter and just be honest. Let them know what Frank told us. Make sure you give a copy of every single check if you received any. They need the names of the banks and any other people who’s names might be on them.

To Frank Castaldi: Why in the world were you ever born?


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