}

Friday, April 19, 2013

A 'GLISTENING, QUIVERING UNDERBELLY' EXCLUSIVE-Misadventures In Paradise: David Lee Hunter's Hawaiian Hustle

Left: Fugitive Traverse City, MI and alleged Craigslist rental scammer David Lee Hunter 

David Hunter’s former boss spoke exclusively to “Glistening, Quivering Underbelly” about his experience with the Charlevoix native, who’s on the run from a Traverse City fraud charge. 

Hunter allegedly skimmed $25,000 from the man’s Hawaiian restaurant, made restitution.



[NOTE: At his request, the name of Hunter's former boss and other identifying details, including the name and location of his restaurant, are being kept confidential.]

When David Hunter breezed into the sea side Hawaiian restaurant in early 2005, its owner thought he’d found his perfect Dining Room Manager. Full of a con man’s superficial charm, and flaunting the brawny good looks of action star Vin Diesel, Hunter had a grifter’s narrative and an important quality shared by nearly every fraudster—he could fake authenticity.

The owner of the recently launched restaurant, who needed a quick hire, listened raptly as Hunter spun stories about the fabulous places he’d worked, the night he'd gotten a $100 dollar tip and the big ideas he had for expanding the new business.

Hunter was hired, and quickly impressed his new boss by scoring a huge mark-up on a cache of middling wine—selling the wine that retailed at $25 for $150 a bottle.

But this Hawaiian orchid’s bloom faded quickly when Hunter’s boss received a call from a credit card company attempting to verify an unusually large charge. Checking with his customer, the owner learned that while the customer had eaten at the restaurant on the night the card was swiped, the amount charged far exceeded the cost of his dinner.

The man’s business partner called the police, and Hunter was arrested. 

After making bail, Hunter broke down and sobbed during a meeting with his bosses. Crying so hard his tears soaked the t-shirt he wore, the restaurant owner told Glistening, Quivering Underbelly that he thought he "might have to get a mop” to clean up the fish pond of tears puddling on the floor at Hunter’s feet.

Hunter begged for his job, even offering to work for free. The owners relented, and things were fine...for a couple months.

One night in mid-2005, the restaurant’s night janitor came to work after the restaurant had closed, and found David Hunter still at work in the office closing out the night’s receipts and preparing the next day’s bank deposit. She reported it to her bosses, who confronted Hunter.

And guess what? Since most of us don’t swim in the same gene stream as Hunter, we might not understand how charisma and coolness under pressure blend smoothly in some folks like milk chocolate and peanut butter.

Hunter assured the men that he had dutifully come back to the restaurant after a night of bar hopping to finish up his closing duties.  The men accepted Hunter’s story and agreed to “trust him”, but decided to keep a closer watch on his activities.

And it didn’t take long—a few weeks later, the restaurant’s chef arrived at early one morning to open up, and found David Hunter (yes, you guessed it) in the office, working on the computer.

The chef’s report to the owners spurred forensic and IT audits—and the results indicated that Hunter had allegedly skimmed at least $25,000 from the restaurant in less than 10 months. The audit appeared to show Hunter had created a sophisticated, months-long scheme to skim a portion of each day’s receipts without leaving a paper trail, an operation that included manipulating the nightly receipts and diverting the cash to his own bank account. In addition, he had altered the company’s records so that the owners would not easily discover his discrepancies.

The fiscal fandango had stopped, and Hunter was cornered—but even he’d never guess what would happen next.

“In Hawaii, there are families who never call the police with a problem,” the restaurant owner told Miss Fortune. “They take care of it by themselves.”

Convincing Hunter to meet by offering a con man’s favorite wholesome snack, flattery, the business partners then sat Hunter down and demanded his U. S. passport, Hawaiian drivers license, and social security card.  They told Hunter they wouldn’t press charges if he repaid the men the money he’d skimmed--$25,000.

Hunter reportedly signed a confession, and prevailed upon his then mother-in-law to loan him $15,000, paying off the rest in $1,000 monthly increments.

Later, the men learned that Hunter had repaid his debt the old-fashioned way—he'd reportedly stolen it from another Hawaiian restaurant.

But what would you expect from a guy who, according to the manager, “convinced eight restaurant employees to hand over $1,000 each to accompany Hunter and his bride on their cruise ship honeymoon. And none of them, including Hunter, had even asked for time off!”

Hunter’s former boss went on to build a successful business, expanding his restaurant to include catering.

Hunter and his wife, Crystal, eventually divorced, and he moved on to Miami where he a June 18, 2009 complaint filed with the Martin County Sheriff's office alleged investment fraud relating to a World Bikini Football League team ownership sale.  According to a now-retired Miami police detective who contacted the Hawaiian restaurant owner, Hunter's alleged victim estimated the amount taken was north of $45,000. The charges were dropped against Hunter when the money was returned.

In 2008, Hunter reached out to his former boss, sending him an email signed “Paradox Hunter”.

Miss Fortune couldn’t have said it better.

Hunter's Traverse City, Michigan "Craigslist rental scammer" case

Hunter, a Charlevoix, Michigan native, signed a one-month lease on a Traverse City home last year.

But in the short time David Hunter lived there, police say he grew to know its qualities well, allegedly giving several tours to potential renters while acting as an owner.

He signed several one-year lease agreements with potential renters and collected six $1,000 payments for security deposits. The leases were to start after he moved out. Renters reportedly contacted police after Hunter offered only excuses of why they couldn't move in on time. They'd heard of the home through a Craigslist ad.


A warrant was issued on March 15, 2013 by Michigan's 86th District Court for the arrest of David L. Hunter. Although Hunter has claimed his original case was "closed", his case was bound over to 13th Circuit Court. He may try to convince you that he is no longer wanted--that is not true. 

If you see Hunter or know where he is, contact your local police department or the office of Grand Traverse County's Prosecuting Attorney at (231) 922-4600.



Here's the rundown on Hunter's cases (with annotations by Miss Fortune):


11/01/2012     CASE OPENED    
11/01/2012     WARRANT ENTERED INTO LEIN BY COURT    
11/01/2012     OUTSTANDING WARRANT    
11/05/2012     ARRN DATE SET 11/6/12 @ 9:45 AM    
11/05/2012     NOT USE/POSS ALCH/CONT SUB/MEDICAL MARIJ    
11/05/2012     PASS DAILY AM PBT'S   (preliminary breath test)  
11/05/2012     IMMEDIATE URINE SCREEN    
11/05/2012     WEEKLY URINE SCREEN    
11/05/2012     SUB ABUSE REFERRAL INFO    
11/05/2012     NO BARS OR PLACE THAT SERVES ALCOHOL    
11/05/2012     WARRANT CANCELLED BY AGENCY/COURT     11/05/2012
11/05/2012     ARRAIGNMENT AREA     11/06/2012
11/06/2012     BOND POSTED BY BONDING COMPANY    
11/06/2012     NOTICE-PRELIMINARY EXAM     11/20/2012
11/06/2012     FINGERPRINT ORDER
11/06/2012     COURT RECORDER- SHEILA HALE    
11/06/2012     ARRAIGNMENT HELD; APPEAR W/O ATTY; MIRANDA GIVEN;    
11/06/2012     WILL HIRE ATTY; BOND CONT; FILE TO DATE SET    
11/06/2012     ARRAIGNMENT HELD    
11/07/2012     BOND VIOLATION FILED FTA AM PBT 11/7  (Hunter failed to appear for PBT)   
11/07/2012     OUT OF TOWN VERIFICATION FILED PBT 11/23    
11/13/2012     URINE SCREEN FILED, COLLECTED 11/6    
11/13/2012     BOND VIOLATION FILED FTA AM PBT 11/9    
11/13/2012     OUT OF TOWN VERIFICATION FILED PBT'S 11/7 & 11/9    
11/13/2012     BOND VIOLATION FILED FTA AM PBT 11/10 & 11/11    
11/14/2012     BOND VIOLATION FILED FTA AM PBT 11/14    
11/15/2012     URINE SCREEN FILED, COLLECTED 11/8    
11/15/2012     FILE WITH ANGEL KALEY WOLFE    
11/15/2012     BOND VIOLATION FILED FTA AM PBT 11/15    
11/16/2012     SCHEDULED NEXT HEARING
11/16/2012     BOND REVIEW HEARING     11/20/2012
11/16/2012     OUT OF TOWN VERIFICATION FILED 11/11, 13, 14, 15    
11/16/2012     URINE SCREEN FILED, COLLECTED 11/13    
11/16/2012     ACTION NOT HELD    
11/19/2012     BOND VIOLATION FILED FTA AM PBT 11/18    
11/19/2012     BOND VIOLATION FILED FTA AM PBT 11/19    
11/20/2012     COURT RECORDER - COLEEN ROCKER    
11/20/2012     DEF PRESENT W/O ATTY, PRELIM WAIVED, BOUND OVER    
11/20/2012     TO CIRCUIT COURT. DEF BLEW HOT AT TIME OF PRELIM  (alcohol present)   
11/20/2012     C.C. ARRN: HELD, STANDS MUTE, BOND CONTINUED,    
11/20/2012     FILE TO DATE SET    
11/20/2012     PRELIM WAIVED    
11/20/2012     CASE IS CLOSED     11/20/2012
11/20/2012     BOUND OVER TO CIRCUIT COURT    
11/20/2012     BINDOVER TO CIRCUIT COURT
11/20/2012     BINDOVER TO CIRCUIT COURT    
11/21/2012     ELECTRONIC JUDGMENT SUBMITTED - EJUD COUNT: 1



03/15/2013     CASE OPENED    
03/15/2013     WARRANT ENTERED INTO LEIN BY COURT    
03/15/2013     OUTSTANDING WARRANT


The bond violation moved the case from 86th District Court to Grand Traverse County's 13th Circuit Court, where a trial date had been set for January 16, 2013.

Hunter skipped town somewhere around December 21, 2012, when he failed to show up for a scheduled to appear in Circuit Court for a pretrial hearing.


DateActionProceeding
11/21/2012ARARRAIGNMENT HELD IN DISTRICT COURT 11-20-12; DEF


STOOD MUTE/MJH
11/21/2012NPTNOTICE OF PRE-TRIAL 11-30-12 @1:00PM/TGP
11/21/2012CBCOMPLAINT/BINDOVER FROM DC
11/21/2012S/RSUBPOENA/RETURN--AMANDA OLSEN
11/21/2012BP$2500 SURETY POSTED BY J & J BAIL BONDS
11/28/2012POSPROOF OF SERVICE/COMPLAINT, PROBABLE CAUSE,


COMPLETE POLICE REPORT, LEASE AGREEMENTS
11/28/2012MOTPETITION FOR AN ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE


PROOF OF SERVICE/PETITION
11/30/2012
PT WAS CONDUCTED; REQUEST COURT APPT ATTY; DEF


MISSED PTS - PAO WITHDRAWS, DEF TESTED IN OTHER


LOCATIONS/TGP
12/03/2012CPTCRIMINAL PRE-TRIAL AND SCHEDULING CONFERENCE


ORDER/TGP
12/03/2012CAACOURT APPOINTED ATTORNEY--JANET MISTELE/TGP
12/03/2012NFCNOTICE OF FINAL CONFERENCE 12-21-12 @1:00PM/PER
12/03/2012NJTNOTICE OF JURY TRIAL 1-16-03 TO 1-17-13 @8:30 AM


PER
12/03/2012WLWITNESS LIST FROM PA


PROOF OF EMAIL/WITNESS LIST
12/05/2012APNOTICE OF APPEARANCE, DEMAND FOR TRIAL BY JURY,


DISCOVERY DEMAND AND PROOF OF EMAIL SERVICE
12/10/2012FIFELONY INFORMATION FROM PA


PROOF OF EMAIL/FELONY INFO
12/12/2012RFDPL'S REQUEST FOR DISCOVERY


PROOF OF EMAIL/PL'S REQUEST
12/21/2012
DEF DID NOT APPEAR; BENCH WARRANT AUTHORIZED, NO


BOND/PER
12/21/2012MOTPETITION FOR AN ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE


PROOF OF EMAIL/PETITION
01/02/2013BWCOPY OF PETITION, AFFIDAVIT & BENCH WARRANT/PER
01/02/2013ORORDER REVOKING RELEASE AND FORFEITING BOND, NOTICE


OF INTENT TO ENTER JUDGMENT/PER











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