}

Friday, September 27, 2013

David Hunter Takes Plea Deal; GUILTY On Two Felony Counts

BREAKING NEWS!! 

On September 25, David Lee Hunter plead guilty to two felony counts of conversion by false pretense, thereby avoiding a trial scheduled to begin in Grand Traverse County on October 8.

In one of the most notorious cases of "convictus interruptus" your girl Miss Fortune has ever seen, Hunter pulled out of his upcoming trial after agreeing to a deal that dismissed four additional felony conversion counts.

The Grand Traverse County Prosecutor also dropped a habitual offender sentencing enhancement that could have added substantially more than the maximum sentence for Hunter's crime. Each felony count is punishable by up to five years in prison and/or three times the value of money or property involved.

Hunter's sentencing is scheduled for October 25 in Grand Traverse County's 13th Circuit Court.

Back in November 2012, Traverse City Police said Hunter signed a month lease on a Wadsworth Street home during the summer. He then put the home up for rent on Craigslist and set up separate tours for potential renters.

Hunter claimed to be the home's legal owner — or that he was in partnership with the owner — and signed several one-year lease agreements with the potential renters. He collected six $1,000 payments intended as security deposits.

"The suspect leased the same property to six different groups of victims, taking money from all six groups," according to a police report.

All of the fake leases were supposed to start on Oct. 15, 2012, and one of the renters contacted police not long after that when they began to suspect the deal was a scam. Hunter was in contact with all parties and repeatedly provided excuses as to why they couldn't yet move in.

Police checked with the vacation rental group that rented the home to Hunter, and a woman there confirmed that Hunter had no authority to rent the property at all, let alone for a period of time past his lease.

Hunter returned money to only one set of victims.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Vince Gilligan "Breaks Bad" In Battle Creek; Per Wickstrom Breaks Wind...Again!

The interwebs are crackling with the news today that Breaking Bad creator, Vince Gilligan (left), will team up with David Shore, the writer behind House, for his next project, a detective drama called Battle Creek.


Gilligan is making a 13-part series for CBS, the network for whom he previously developed it in 2002. It is expected to broadcast in 2014.

Battle Creek tells the story of two detectives in the lovely Michigan town who have contrasting approaches to law enforcement – to do it by the book, or by whatever means necessary.

Your girl Miss Fortune can hardly wait for the episode titled "Tranquility Detox".

Thursday, September 19, 2013

MOORED! Kathleen Glynn and Michael Moore Get Down To the Matter of the Heart: MONEY!


Looks like the Glynn/Moore drive-through divorce just hit a speed bump: money!

A hearing is scheduled for 10:00 am this morning in Grand Traverse County Circuit Court to discuss spurned spouse Kathleen Glynn's request to modify the mutual temporary restraining order restricting both parties' access to assets and spurnee Michael Moore's response.

Hey, we might have our own Kim-and-Kris scenario going on up in here!

Stay tuned to "Glistening, Quivering Underbelly", the news source that broke the Glynn Moore divorce story! Even Breitbart's "Big Hollywood" gave Miss Fortune mad props.


DateActionProceeding
06/17/2013SIVERIFIED COMPLAINT FOR DIVORCE


SUMMONS ISSUED TO EXPIRE 9/16/2013
06/17/2013MOOPLTS' VERIFIED EX-PARTE MOTION FOR MUTUAL TEMPORAR


RESTRAINING ORDER CONSERVING PROPERTY
06/17/2013OREX-PARTE MUTUAL TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER


CONSERVING PROPERTY SGN BY JDG NELSON 6/17/13
06/26/2013HRGNOTICE OF FINAL HRG OF DIVORCE ON 9/10/13 @9:05
07/22/2013SVSERVICE ACKNOWLEDGED BY T.PLUNKETT (P18957) FOR


DEF'T KATHLEEN GLYNN
07/23/2013
PROOF OF SERVICE-NOTICE OF FINAL HEARING
07/24/2013
PROOF OF SERVICE/TRUEFILING
09/05/2013DPT**DOMESTIC RELATIONS** PRE-TRIAL STATEMENT
09/09/2013CCVERIFIED COUNTER CLAIM FOR DIVORCE
09/09/2013
REQUEST FOR HEARING
09/09/2013MRDEFT'S ANSWER TO PLTF'S VERIFIED EX=PARTE MOTION


FOR MUTUAL TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER CONSERVING


PROPERTY
09/09/2013MODEF'TS VERIFIED MOTION TO MODIFY OR RESCIND TRO


CONSERVING PROPERTY
09/09/2013HRGNOTICE OF HEARING-DEF'TS OBJ TO TRO, MOTION TO


MODIFY, AND DEF'TS MOTION FOR DIST OF CASH ASSETS


TO BE HEARD AT A TIME SET BY THE COURT
09/09/2013ANDEFT'S ANSWER TO VERIFIED COMPLAINT FOR DIVORCE
09/09/2013MODEF'TS MOTION FOR IMMEDIATE PARTIAL DIST. OF


CASH ASSETS TO BOTH PARTIES
09/09/2013OBJDEFT'S VERIFIED OBJECTIONS TO EX PARTE MUTUAL TRO


CONSERVING PROPERTY
09/10/2013
TRUEFILE POS
09/10/2013
TRUEFILE POS
09/10/2013
TRUEFILE POS
09/10/2013
TRUEFILE POS
09/10/2013
TRUEFILE POS
09/10/2013
TRUEFILE POS
09/10/2013
TRUEFILE POS
09/11/2013HRGNOTICE OF HEARING-DEFT'S VERIFIED OBJ TO TRO,DEFT'


MOTION TO MODIFY OF RESCIND TRO, DEFT'S MOTION


FOR PARTIAL DISTRIBUTION OF CASH ASSETS TO BE


HEARD ON 9/19/2013 @10AM
09/13/2013
TRUEFILE POS
09/17/2013MRPLTF'S RESPONSE AND BRIEF IN OPPOSITION TO


DEFT'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL DIST OF CASH ASSETS
09/17/2013MRPLTF'S RESPONSE AND BRIEF IN OPPOSITION OF DEFT'S


MOTION TO MODIFY MUTUAL TRO CONSERVING PROPERTY
09/17/2013MRDEFT'S REPLY TO PLTF'S RESPONSE AND BRIEF IN


OPPOSITION TO DEFT'S VERIFIED MOTIONS
09/18/2013
TRUEFILE POS
09/18/2013
TRUEFILE POS
09/18/2013
TRUEFILE POS











Wednesday, September 18, 2013

BREAKING NEWS! South Bend Tranquility Detox's Long And Winding Licensing Road Just Got Forked! Public Comment Period Still Open As State of Indiana Submits Second Request For More Information

A spokesperson for
the State of Indiana's Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) today confirmed exclusively to Miss Fortune that Per Wickstrom's certification application for South Bend's Tranquility Detox is still pending while the state waits for a second round of additional information requested on August 27.

Wickstrom's group submitted documentation for its official certification as an Addiction Services Provider, including Detox, Subacute, and Transitional Residential Services for its facility located at 3606 E. Jefferson Boulevard in South Bend, Indiana in late July. 

After reviewing the application, the FSSA's Division of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHA) sent a letter on August 27 to Wickstrom's representatives requesting the additional information, and as of this morning had not yet received a response.

Let's make some noise, people! Send your public comments to 
DMHA.feedback@fssa.in.gov
 
For more information about the certification process, including the complete administrative code, please use this link:
Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHA)

Monday, September 16, 2013

PER MACHT FREI: Per Wickstrom's Drug Clinics Score Failing Grades After License Inspections; State of Michigan Slams Wickstrom's "You Vill Work For Free" Forced Labor Therapy; Best Drug Rehabilitation, A Forever Recovery "Not In Substantial Compliance"

In September 2011, Human Rights Watch released “The Rehab Archipelago”, a 121-page report documenting the experiences of people confined to fourteen South Vietnam drug detention centers.  In Vietnam, “labor therapy” is stipulated as part of drug treatment by law, and drug detention centers are little more than forced labor camps where tens of thousands of detainees work six days a week processing cashews, sewing garments, or manufacturing other items.

In an August 8 substance abuse facility licensing inspection report, the State of Michigan determined that A Forever Recovery (AFR) and Best Drug Rehabilitation (BDR) were conducting their own forms of “labor therapy”.  AFR and BDR were both cited for violating the human rights of clients paying upwards of $25,000 for drug rehabilitation by forcing them to clean the facilities—without payment for their labor. 


In addition, the report revealed a critical lack of emergency care readiness, no discharge documentation for clients moved between facilities and “co-mingling within the same space with no physical separation whatsoever”, a clear reference to the unlicensed Tranquility Detox.

[NOTE] AFR and BDR both refer patients to the 163 North Avenue facility in Battle Creek for detox services, and location run in tandem by the two clinics. However, no license exists for Tranquility Detox. 

A FOREVER RECOVERY 

AFR’s annual license inspection was conducted on June 25 in Battle Creek, Michigan at 216 St. Mary’s Road. AFR participants included Tamra Hall, Clinical Director, and Lisa Lee, Deputy Executive Director.


Jay Calewarts, Manager, Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, and Chris VanFleet, Regulatory Officer, represented the State of Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

Based on the inspection findings, LARA determined that the program was “not in substantial compliance with the requirements of the code and rules, specifically Michigan Administrative Rules for substance abuse programs R325.14101 through R325.14928.”


The report cites these two violations:

1) In the Client Handbook for ‘A Forever Recovery’, under ‘Client Rights’, it is stated that: Clients, when appropriate, have the right to participate in their treatment and treatment planning. Per the administrative rule R 325.14305 (1) A recipient shall participate in the development of his or her treatment plan. The phrase “when appropriate” should not be in the explanation of the Client Rights as that it is not the way it is explained in the Administrative Rules.

2) The program had the clients conducting chores such as cleaning various areas of the facility. The program did not have a policy on chores describing the rationale how the chores were therapeutic benefit as required by R 325.14306 (6)
 

LARA’s report states that a “recipient has the right to be free from doing work which the program would otherwise employ someone else to do, unless the work and the rationale for its therapeutic benefit are included in program policy or in the treatment plan for the recipient.”


BEST DRUG REHABILITATION

BDR’s annual license inspection was also conducted on June 25 at 163 North Avenue in Battle Creek, the building serving as the home of “Tranquility Detox”. [NOTE: BDR's Manistee location was not inspected during the June visits.]


LARA’s Calewarts and VanFleet were accompanied by its Executive Director, Douglas Wickstrom.


Based on the inspection findings, LARA determined that the program was “not in substantial compliance with the requirements of the code and rules, specifically Michigan Administrative Rules for substance abuse programs R325.14101 through R325.14928.”

The report cites the following eleven violations:

1) The facility currently has two licenses for the same location. Licenses are site-specific. If there are two licenses at the same address, the programs must be physically separated within the building, such as separate suites. Upon entering the building, it was realized that both Best Drug Rehabilitation and A Forever Recovery were co-mingling within the same space with no physical separation whatsoever. Since there is no physical separation, one of the licenses must be surrendered unless a physical separation is provided.

2) All policies were for Tranquility Detox. The name on the policies must match the program name listed on the license to ensure that the policies are in fact for the program which is licensed.


[NOTE] There is no license for “Tranquility Detox” since it’s run in tandem by AFR and BDR. Both facilities send their clients to Tranquility Detox before routing them to whichever facility originally recruited them.

And to make the situation less tranquil and even more confusing, a check of the State of Michigan’s Business Entity records shows two corporations using the name "Tranquility Detox". 


One of them, Tranquility Detox, Inc., was registered on May 9, 2011 as a Domestic Profit Corporation by Per Wickstrom’s nephew, Stephen Anderson.

The other corporation, Tranquility Detox, was registered on the same day as a Domestic Non-Profit Corporation by Grand Rapids attorney Phillip Slot. Slot and Tom King are representing AFR in its zoning suit against Pennfield Township.


3) Recipients’ rights were not posted in a public place as required by R325.14302 (9) Rights of recipients shall be displayed on a poster provided by the office in a public area of all licensed programs. The poster shall indicate the program rights advisor's name and phone number.

4) The administrator stated
the program did not have an agreement with an emergency inpatient program as required by R325.12115 (3) An agreement shall exist between the licensee and 1 or more licensed medical service facilities for the provision of emergency inpatient and ambulatory medical services. If such a facility does not exist within 40 miles of the licensee's facility, an agreement shall exist between the licensee and a physician to provide emergency services.

 
5) The administrator stated that the license was kept at the corporate office. The license was not posted in the facility as required by R 325.14212 (5) The current license shall be posted in a conspicuous public place in the program. For purposes of this rule, the term "license" includes a provisional license or a temporary permit.

(6) When a document is required by the act or these rules to be posted in a "public place" or in an area "accessible to patients, employees, or visitors," the term means any of the following locations in a program:
(a) The main entry or hallway.
(b) The reception area or foyer.
(c) The dining room or multipurpose room.

7) Visitor hours were not posted in a public space. The administrator stated that visitors "were not allowed at this facility." There was no written policy on visitors or visitor hours. Policy can restrict visitors under certain circumstances but this provision of the rule does not allow a program to deny all patients the right to receive visitors for their entire stay at the facility. Reference R 325.14306 (2) A program shall post its policy concerning visitors in a public place. R 325.14306 (3) Unless contraindicated by program policy or individual treatment plan, a recipient is allowed visits from family members, friends, and other persons of his or her choice at reasonable times, as determined by the program director or according to posted visitors' hours. A recipient shall be informed in writing of visitors' hours upon admission to the program.


8) The program did not have a policy for restraints. The administrator stated that the program did not use restraints. The program is required to have a policy on restraints (and if they are not used the policy should reflect that) per R325.14306
(5) A recipient has the right to be free from physical and chemical restraints, except those authorized in writing by a physician for a specified and limited time.


Written policies and procedures which set forth the circumstances that require the use of restraints and which designate the program personnel responsible for applying restraints shall be approved in writing by a physician and shall be adopted by the program governing authority. Restraints may be applied in an emergency to protect the recipient from injury to self or others. The restraint shall
be applied by designated staff. Such action shall be reported to a physician immediately and shall be reduced to writing in the client record within 24 hours.


9) The program had the clients conducting chores such as cleaning various areas of the facility. The program did not have a policy on chores describing the rationale how the chores were therapeutic benefit as required by R 325.14306 (6) A recipient has the right to be free from doing work which the program would otherwise employ someone else to do, unless the work and the rationale for its
therapeutic benefit are included in program policy or in the treatment plan for the recipient.


10) Page 7 of the A Forever Recovery Rehabilitation Center Blue Cross/Blue Shield Insurance Enrollment Agreement states that money remaining in the Client’s account will be mailed within 30 days. Per R 325.14306 (8) A recipient has the right to receive all money or other belongings held for him or her by the program within 24 hours of discharge.

11) Clients are currently shuttled back and forth between this facility and other facilities located at 216 St. Mary’s Lake Road, Battle Creek (A Forever Recovery #SA0130102) and 300 Care Center Drive, Manistee (Best Drug Rehabilitation Services #SA0510026). 

Currently there is no discharge documentation done when moving clients back and forth between facilities. Since these are separate facilities with separate licenses, clients must be properly admitted and discharged from the facility as required by 
R 325.14902 and R 325.14928 respectively.

Jay Calewarts confirmed in an email to Miss Fortune that A Forever Recovery and Best Drug Rehabilitation provided the State of Michigan with their respective correction plans on September 16.

Miss Fortune will bring you further updates as they become available.

Forced labor, no emergency care, no policy on restraints?

Looks like somebody has been reading his Schicklgruber!

Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

David Lee Hunter Case Update: Defense Attorney's Motion to Withdraw as Hunter's Counsel DENIED!

Grand Traverse County's 13th Circuit Court yesterday denied a motion filed by David Lee Hunter's defense attorney Shawn Worden to withdraw from the case.

Although Miss Fortune has not reviewed the motion, a common reason given by an attorney for withdrawing from a case is a "serious and irreparable breakdown of the attorney-client relationship".

Sparks are flying and the trial is still nearly a month away!

 
Circuit Court Criminal Records
13th Circuit Court
Grand Traverse County-- Phone (231) 922-4710
328 WASHINGTON ST
TRAVERSE CITY, MI 49684


Case #:   2013-11648 FH  County: Grand Traverse
Case Type:   FELONY/NON-CAPITAL    Case Status:   CASE OPEN
 


Court Proceedings

DateActionProceeding
08/19/2013CBCOMPLAINT/BINDOVER FROM DC


ARR HELD IN DC 8-16-13; DEF PLED NOT GUILTY


NOTICE OF PRETRIAL 8-21-13 @1:00PM/TGP
08/21/2013POSPROOF OF EMAIL/FELONY INFO AND WITNESS LIST
08/21/2013WLWITNESS LIST FROM PA
08/21/2013FIFELONY INFORMATION FROM PA
08/22/2013NPTNOTICE OF PRE-TRIAL 8-23-13 @10:00 AM/TGP
08/26/2013CPTCRIMINAL PRE-TRIAL AND SCHEDULING CONFERENCE


ORDER/TGP
08/27/2013NFCNOTICE OF FINAL CONFERENCE 9-13-13 @1:00PM/PER
08/27/2013NJTNOTICE OF JURY TRIAL 10-8-13 TO 10-10-13 @8:30


/PER
08/30/2013RFDPL REQUEST FOR DISCOVERY/ATTWOOD
08/30/2013POSPROOF OF EMAIL/PL REQUEST FOR DISCOVERY
09/12/2013MOTDEF'S MOTION FOR WITHDRAWL OF COUNSEL


POS/TRUEFILED
09/13/2013MOTPEOPLE'S MOT TO CONSOLIDATE/MOEGGENBERG


POS/TRUEFILED
09/13/2013NOHNOTICE OF HEARING (MOTION FOR WITHDRAWAL OF


COUNSEL) 9-13-13 @1:30PM/PER
09/13/2013ORMOTION TO W/DRAW AS COUNSEL IS DENIED/FINAL CON-


FERENCE IS ADJOURNED TO 9-27-13/PER
09/13/2013NFCAMD NOTICE OF FINAL CONFERENCE 9-27-13 @ 1:00 PM/


PER




Thursday, September 12, 2013

DIY Charity: How to Bleed Hearts...and Boost Sales










Miss Fortune's been immersed the last couple weeks in an in-depth investigation of a purported "charity company" and the research reminded me of one of my very favorite "charity" scams.

A couple years ago, the Carrier family, the geniuses who run Center Line, Michigan-based Window Plus , dreamed up one of the most audacious business development schemes your girl Miss Fortune has ever seen. (And remember, I spent ten years in New York City!)

One can just imagine the pillow talk that richocheted off the walls of a certain suburban home. It might have gone something like this:

"Roll over, you slug, I've got a great idea."

"Not again! I told you I'm not into that!"

"You have a filthy mind...and that's why I love you. Effin' Lehman Brothers just cratered the market, home price are falling and we need a gimmick!"

"I'm listening...go on."

"Let's create our own charity and give a real gooey name--like Giving Hearts."

"That's great, baby!"

"And when we call to sell our crappy windows to old people home alone, we can even beat the 'do not call' list because we're a charity!"

"I've never heard a more repulsive way to drum up business...and that's why I love you!"

Well, maybe it didn't go exactly like that, but Diane Carrier and the hubs created Giving Hearts and used it as bait in the old switcheroo known as cold calling.

Here's how it worked: although "Giving Hearts" showed up on the caller ID, when you answered the operator would ask if Miss Fortune, the home owner, was available.

When pressed, the operator would claim that Giving Hearts collects on behalf of the Ronald McDonald House from every sale. Lacking a Michigan charity solicitor license didn't stop these folks from rattling the tin cup on behalf of the clown, and the scheme went on for years.

Giving Hearts did eventually register as a charity and its publicly available 990 records reveal to-date less than $7,000 was donated to Ronald McDonald House.

Wonder how much window-generated money ended up in that suburban home with Diane Carrier and her nocturnal whisperings?

Even Miss Fortune can't answer that question.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

PART 4 OF MY EXCLUSIVE 5-PART SHIP4CHARITIES EXPOSÉ: "MO CHARITIES, NO MONEY"

On its website, Ship4Charities describes itself as “a shipping logistics company that donates to charity for each package shipped.”

But an in-depth investigation by "Glistening, Quivering Underbelly" indicates that the organization may be executing an elaborate charity donation scam, one using legitimate charities as its bait.


In the fourth installment of an exclusive five-part investigative series, “Glistening, Quivering Underbelly” reveals more fraud and deception by Ship4Charities.com, the truth about two more "charity partners", and one outrageous claim that truly takes the red velvet with buttercream--that's cake, folks!


VELO-CARDIO-FACIAL SYNDROME EDUCATION FOUNDATION, INC.

The Velo-Cardio-Facial Syndrome Educational Foundation, Inc. (VCFSEF) is an organization comprised of both professional and lay people whose purpose is to educate the public, the scientific community, families of individuals with Velo-Cardio-Facial syndrome, and individuals with Velo-Cardio-Facial syndrome (VCF) about this common genetic disorder.

Based in Dallas, the VCFSEF supports an international network of resources and support information.

When contacted by Miss Fortune about its partnership with Ship4Charities, Executive Director Dianne Altuna responded via email. In her message, Altuna said that although she wished she could speak about Ship4Charities, "we were ready to launch this program two years ago, but have not as yet".

But that pesky little bit of business housekeeping didn't stop Ship4Charities.com from promoting its new "partner" on Twitter and Facebook...and collecting money on its behalf.


Ship4Charities.com still features VCFSEF on its site as a "favorite cause" although the group will never receive a nickel of the money raised in its name.








FOCUS: HOPE

Focus: HOPE's Mission was adopted on March 8, 1968 and has remained consistent ever since.  The Detroit-based organization is committed to its mission as well as its proclaimed values: recognizing the dignity and beauty of every person, we pledge intelligent and practical action to overcome racism, poverty, and injustice and to build a metropolitan community where all people may live in freedom, harmony, trust and affection. 

Although Ship4Charities.com began promoting its partnership with Focus: HOPE nearly a year ago, a spokesperson confirmed in an email what she told Miss Fortune during a phone conversation about the organization's relationship with Ship4Charities.

The Focus: HOPE spokesperson explained that the group's Facilities Manager had discovered Ship4Charities and recommended it to its Development Manager. The spokesperson confirmed that Focus: HOPE was "new to Ship4Charities and we hadn't started to promote it yet" and that organization had not received any funds donated in their name via Ship4Charities.

Although Ship4Charities has been collecting money on behalf Focus: HOPE for almost a year, the spokesperson confirmed the organization had yet to receive any donations.

VETERANS JUSTICE OUTREACH

But here's Miss Fortune's personal favorite. Call it balls, call it cojones, call it chutzpah--just a few of the choice words you can use to describe this brazen act.

Are you ready for this? Ship4Charities.com claims to "give generously to Veterans Justice Outreach". But there it is on the order screen, a "favorite cause" drop-down window for Veterans Justice Outreach.

Holy Eric Shinseki! Ship4Charities actually wants you to believe that it's giving money to a program completely funded by Uncle Sugar? 

OK, so it's just collecting money to "give", since it's pretty clear that Ship4Charities believes charity begins at home.

According the the Veterans Administration, the Veterans Justice Outreach initiative "limits the criminalization and unnecessary arrest of Veterans suffering from acute and persistent mental illness through a targeted outreach program including many experiencing homelessness. VA Medical Center teams work to ensure that eligible justice-involved Veterans either currently experiencing homeless or reentering communities from incarceration receive appropriate mental health and substance abuse services.  This outreach initiative involves collaboration among VA Medical Center points of contact, local law enforcement, and treatment services to provide for the needs of Veterans helping to avoid subsequent arrests and involvement with the criminal justice system."

And this initiative is funded through the Department of Veterans Affairs and administered by local Veterans Justice Outreach Coordinators in each state.

Yes, that's right. You all do your own donating every April 15!

Ship4Charities claims an affiliation with and financial support of a taxpayer-financed program?

Why, your girl Miss Fortune may have finally found herself a federal case!

PART 5: COMING SOON

Monday, September 9, 2013

PART 3 OF MY EXCLUSIVE 5-PART SHIP4CHARITIES EXPOSÉ: Miss Fortune Follows The Money...All The Way To Chris Paganes

On its website, Ship4Charities describes itself as “a shipping logistics company that donates to charity for each package shipped.”

But an in-depth investigation by "Glistening, Quivering Underbelly" indicates that the organization may be executing an elaborate charity donation scam, one using legitimate charities as its bait.

On the surface, Ship4Charities appears to be all about “helping those in need, while enhancing the profits of business”. But scratch the surface of the company, headed by disgraced former investment advisor Chris Paganes, and you'll see it’s as much in the sleight-of-hand business when it comes to an honest accounting of the money raised on behalf of its charity partners. 


In fact, the four charities featured in this article have never received any of the money potentially donated in their names. And with the exception of one, the Michigan Humane Society, Ship4Charities is still rattling the tin cup--purporting to donate a portion of each sale to their respective causes.

In the third installment of a five-part investigative series, “Glistening, Quivering Underbelly” reveals the fraudulent and deceptive ways Ship4Charities.com helps itself, while enhancing the finances of one of its founders.

To tell the story of Ship4Charities, Miss Fortune researched the company and its founders, John and Chris Paganes. 

Chris Paganes
In addition to reviewing publicly available corporation records, Miss Fortune viewed Chris Paganes’ history of SEC sanctions, beginning in 2003 and culminating with his involvement in an alleged $34 million investment fraud victimizing hedge fund investors. That case also involved Battle Creek chiropractor, Robert Buckhannon, and two now-defunct Bradenton, Florida-based hedge funds, Arcanum Equity Fund LLC and Vestium Equity Fund LLC. 

Miss Fortune requested sponsorship donation information from the charities listed on Ship4Charities.com. Representatives of Detroit-based Alternatives for Girls, the Michigan Humane Society, Art Road, and Camp Casey responded to “Glistening, Quivering Underbelly” by today's deadline.

And what they told Miss Fortune shows Ship4Charities’ claims of charitable donation—made on their website, Facebook page and Twitter feed—travel along a continuum from gross exaggerations to flat-out lies.

ALTERNATIVES FOR GIRLS

Alternatives For Girls (AFG) is a Detroit-based 501(c)3 nonprofit serving homeless and high-risk girls and young women.  Since 1987, AFG has provided critical services to the girls and young women we serve, including safe shelter, street outreach and educational support, vocational guidance, mentoring, prevention activities, and counseling.

While Ship4Charities.com actively promotes its support of AFG on its website and social media including Facebook and Twitter, a spokesperson for AFG told Miss Fortune that the group has never received any money. 


The spokesperson explained that Ship4Charities.com approached AFG with a partnership proposal approximately 18 months ago. Although Ship4Charities was ambiguous when AFG inquired whether the donation level would be a fixed rate or percentage of sales, they agreed to the partnership with Ship4Charities.

And while AFG added a backlink to Ship4Charities.com on its Fundraising page to help promote the partnership and is still currently available as a choice on Ship4Charities’ check-out drop-down window, the organization has never received a dime.

[UPDATE: On November 14, a spokesperson for AFG confirmed to Miss Fortune that the organization had recently received a donation from Ship4Charities. Due to donor privacy policies, AFG declined to reveal the amount.]

MICHIGAN HUMANE SOCIETY

Ship4Charities.com began promoting its support of the Michigan Humane Society (MHS) in a December 12, 2012 tweet:


A spokesperson from MHS' administrative headquarters in Bingham Farms, Michigan confirmed to Miss Fortune in an email that “MHS does partner with two wonderful organizations that help the military and homeless animals – Pets for Patriots and Stiggy’s Dogs”.

However, when she checked with the MHS Development department about its partnership with Ship4Charities, she told Miss Fortune that she “hadn’t been able to identify who here had signed us up”.


In addition, although Ship4Charities.com has apparently been collecting funds on behalf of the MHS for nearly nine months, the spokesperson confirmed in an email to Miss Fortune that “there is no record of donations from the program to date”.

Late last week, after Miss Fortune spoke with the MHS, Ship4Charities quietly removed the Michigan Humane Society from its "Pets & animals charities" page. The image at left was captured on September 4.


ART ROAD

Art Road is a suburban Detroit area 501(c)(3) non-profit that describes its mission as “actively bringing art class back into schools for the entire school year as part of the regular curriculum”. Currently, Art Road is providing art class to 1,200 students that lack art in their curriculum.

Art Road’s spokesperson confirmed to Miss Fortune that Ship4Charities.com did propose a partnership, but the organization opted not to proceed. The spokesperson reported that the group has not received any donations, and never approved use of its logo on Ship4Charities.com.

But once again, Ship4Charities claims Art Road as a “favorite cause”, available on its order page for you to select for a donation.

And once again, this charity has received seen a dime from Ship4Charities.


CAMP CASEY

Camp Casey is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit horseback riding program for children with cancer headquartered in Royal Oak, Michigan.  Through generous donations and amazing volunteers, Camp Casey has spread the healing power of horses for over eight years.

And Camp Casey is the most egregious example of Ship4Charities’ deception Miss Fortune discovered.

In a slideshow on its “Charities” page, Ship4Charities.com features a photo a small child, likely cancer-stricken, riding a horse. In the photo, two adults are shown walking with the horse and child, wearing “Camp Casey” T-shirts.

However, a spokesperson for Camp Casey confirmed in a shocking email to Miss Fortune that Camp Casey had “never received anything from Ship4Charity and didn't even know who this was until you reached out”.


In addition, she confirmed that Camp Casey never received any donations potentially collected on their behalf by Ship4Charities.

But Ship4Charities.com has promoted its support of Camp Casey on social media, including this tweet:



SHIP4CHARITIES OR SHIP$CHARITIES: WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?

Ship4Charities is not a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and as a Michigan LLC is not required to complete an IRS form 990 that charities file to disclose income and program expenditures.

But thousands of dollars may have found their way from Ship4Charities into Chris Paganes’ bank account.

Paganes’ November 2012 bankruptcy filing offers a hint at the amount of “charity” he could be receiving from JoRoc Management, the Michigan business entity that registered ship4charities.com and ship4vets.com.

In his November 30, 2012 bankruptcy income statement, Paganes reveals the nearly $23,000 in gross wages he received from JoRoc Management between May-October 2012:

May $3,846.45
June $3,153.73
July $2,627.76
August $4,537.16
September $4,509.73
October $3,549.58


The "greater good of all"? 

If the words "fraudulent and deceptive" come to mind, then you'll want to come back tomorrow for Part 4 of Miss Fortune's exclusive report on Ship4Charities.

COMING TOMORROW: PART 4

MO CHARITIES, STILL NO MONEY






 




 










Saturday, September 7, 2013

Per Wickstrom's Tranquility Detox Is Hiring In Battle Creek! Director of Nursing Candidates Must Be "Flexible And Drug Free"

Looking for a job?

Well, Uncle Per wants you!

Tranquility Detox in Battle Creek is looking for a a new DON (Director of Nursing) and Miss Fortune hears it will be a fast hire.

Some report the previous DON skedaddled so quickly the door may have even hit her on the ass! 

Miss Fortune would love to hear from that previous DON--one wonders what there is to know?

Flexible and drug free? Kind of like the world's greatest stripper, eh Per?

Here's the link:
http://www.indeed.com/cmp/Tranquility-Detox/jobs/Director-Nursing-e615d487b3723fad

Subpeona Envy: We'll See You In Court, Sweet Cheeks!

Traverse City's favorite alleged con man, David Lee Hunter, has a lot on his plate--or should I say food tray?

Hunter's final pre-trial conference is scheduled for September 13 and Miss Fortune hears he's already pacing and preening in his cell--evidence of a major case of shpilkes, no doubt.




Hunter's jury trial is scheduled to begin on October 8, and is expected to wrap up by October 10.

Miss Fortune votes for a nice place out on the Old Mission for our post-trial bash--Jolly Pumpkin, anyone?

First round's on your girl Miss Fortune! 

Friday, September 6, 2013

FROM CHARITY TO PROSPERITY: How Joeshipping.com Became Ship4Charities.com

Original logo
On its website, Ship4Charities describes itself as “a shipping logistics company that donates to charity for each package shipped.”

But an in-depth investigation by "Glistening, Quivering Underbelly" indicates that the organization may be executing an elaborate charity donation scam, one using legitimate charities as its bait.

In the second installment of an exclusive five-part investigative series, Miss Fortune reveals what she discovered about Ship4Charities, its questionable status as a "veteran-owned business" and its obscure predecessor, Joeshipping.com. 


CHRIS PAGANES: BARRED IN BOSTON...AND EVERYWHERE ELSE

In August 2009, Chris Paganes, the former CEO of Southfield, Michigan-based Maximum Financial Investment Group, Inc., was permanently barred "from serving in any principal capacity at a securities firm and suspended him from associating with any securities firm for nine months based on his conduct while he was Maximum's chief compliance officer."

Paganes’ finances took a significant hit—according to his November 2012 bankruptcy filing, Paganes’ estimated annual income dropped from $70,000 in 2010 to less than $28,000 in 2011.

But Paganes’ father, John T. Paganes, had already begun constructing the foundation for a new business his son Christopher would run, one that would combine charity with prosperity.

Wrapping himself in the flag and asserting his support for America’s fellow veterans, John Paganes launched what would eventually become Ship4Charities.








JOESHIPPING.COM

The company that would ultimately become Ship4Charities began operations in February 2011 under the name “Joe Shipping”. Although the site itself launched on February 22, 2011, Macomb County, Michigan, business entity records show that John Paganes did not register ‘Joe Shipping’ as an assumed name until November 10, 2011.

WHOIS records reveal Joeshipping.com was originally registered on September 6, 2010 by David Osborn, owner of the now-defunct Shebedino, Inc. In a listing on an affiliate sales website, Osborn’s California-based company described itself as “a network of web sites designed to provide part-time jobs with a focus on Veterans and their families.” Osborn further claimed that Shebedino was a “certified SDVOSB (Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business).”


Osborn explained that affiliates could “earn money from our web site. Our site offers FedEx shipping at a deep discount, all shipping will be thru the FedEx system. Discounts up to 30 also we are a charity web site and will donate part of each package shipped to charity. Go to www.joeshipping.com”

In an early pre-launch development version of Joeshipping.com that Miss Fortune accessed online, Osborn explained that the site would provide its members with "discounts on shipping and freight services while supporting a worthwhile cause."

Here's how the process was described by Osborn back in early 2011:

-Register if it is your first time using one of the many integrated Joe sites.
-Login.
-Accept or change your default "shipping from" information.
-Accept or change your default charity. The charity can be automatically applied if you came to Joe via a link provided by the charity.
-Fill in your "package" and "shipping to" information (link to a sample form).
-See Joe's discounted price and the amount to be donated to your charity. We could also show the non-discounted price to highlight the savings. We could offer a checkbox to forgo the discount and donate the extra money to the charity.
-Accept the price and pay using our payment gateway/merchant account. We should also accept payment by PayPal for those who prefer to use it.
-Print your label or receive it as a PDF email attachment.
-Your charity will receive an email confirming the donation caused by your purchase.
-Thanks from Joe and thanks from your charity!


At left is a February 22, 2011 screen capture from Joeshipping.com, showing a selection of its charity partners, including the Wounded Warrior Project.

Osborn's son, Kalian, confirmed in an email to Miss Fortune that he had indeed "worked on Joe Shipping a few years ago" but is no longer associated with the project.  

On his personal brandyourself.com site, Osborn states he was born in Michigan and moved to California when he was two. He describes himself as a 1999 West Point graduate who served a short stint in the Army before being medically discharged in 2002.

In a late 2011 public relations push, Joeshipping.com spokesperson Richard “Zeke” Zucaro posed the question, “Have you ever wanted to help a charity or nonprofit but do not have the cash to do it?” In a press release dated September 1, 2011, Joeshipping.com hyped its unique selling proposition: “all you have to do is buy your FedEx labels from www.joeshipping.com and [we] will do it for you!”

The release stated that if you bought your “significantly discounted FedEx label from www.joeshipping.com they will donate to your charity of choice a portion of every label sold.” Joeshipping.com boasted savings “up to 50%”.


In addition, the release stated that “Wounded Warriors (sic) was our first [partner] and they have been really successful!”

In addition to the Wounded Warrior Project, other partners listed on Joeshipping.com were the charities Wide Horizons for Children, West Point Association of Graduates, Better Days Animal League, For Love & Art and The Fort Worth HOPE Center.

“Glistening, Quivering Underbelly” contacted the charities to determine the relative success of their partnerships with Joeshipping.com, and only Mark Lombard, the founder and former president of Dallas-based For Love & Art, responded in time to be included in this report. 


Lombard confirmed in an email to Miss Fortune that his 501(c)(3) charity had “aligned with joeshipping.com early in our growth and development, but really haven't reaped much benefit from such alliance.”

However, Lombard did acknowledge that For Love & Art may not have “actively promoted our alliance in order for it to bear fruit.”

In an August 30 email to Miss Fortune, Zeke Zucaro asserted  that “the Joe Shipping concept did not work out.  We closed it all down.”


But although the domain name, joeshipping.com, officially expires today and is listed for sale on hugedomains.com for $1,795, the “Joe Shipping concept” did not really “close down”.


Chris Paganes, representing Troy, Michigan-based JoRoc Management Group 1, L.L.C., registered ship4vets.com on February 29, 2012 and ship4charities the following day, March 1. 
(JoRoc was incorporated by John Paganes on September 29, 2010.)

On May 17, 2012, John Paganes registered "Ship4Charities, LLC" with the State of Michigan, noting its business purpose in the Articles of Organization as "e-commerce".

And like a classic consumer brand rebirth, Joeshipping.com was retooled and relaunched on August 25, 2012 as Ship4Charities.com. 

But Joeshipping.com's founder, Kalian Osborn, was adamant when questioned about a possible connection between his site and Ship4Charities. Osborn told Miss Fortune in an email that "there was no transition.  We have nothing to do with Ship4Charities.com. It looks like they are using our code and me (the veteran who started Joe Shipping) in their marketing.  Other than that, I know nothing about it." 

Promising to its potential customers that it would “ship your products and you'll be donating to great causes and organizations”, Ship4Charities’ rebranding was nearly seamless, even retaining the iconic military shipping crate/parachute imagery utilized in Joeshipping.com’s logo.

But the new name wasn’t the only change.



SHIP4CHARITIES.COM

On its newly-designed website, Chris Paganes and Ship4Charities aimed directly at the heart of American patriotism—its respect and reverence for our veterans. 

The site’s “About Us” page claims Ship4Charities.com was “created in 2010 by a veteran who felt compelled to help his fellow vets – especially those who were injured while serving our country. He began by dedicating himself to the Wounded Warrior project (sic). That passion led him to FedEx®, where he negotiated a discount on their services on their behalf as a platform for charity giving.”


While it appears that Paganes is referring to Kalian Osborn, a check of California's official business entity records show no registration by Osborn for "Joe Shipping".

Paganes cleverly lets the "created by a veteran" claim float above the fray, although a check of publicly available records reveal no proof of his military service or that of his father, Tom Paganes.

Miss Fortune has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Defense and will provide an update as soon it's available.

On the site’s “Frequently Asked Questions” page, Ship4Charities.com doubles down on its assertion of FedEx’s acknowledgment and support of its so-called charitable “mission”.

In explaining how Ship4Charities.com can offer a discount, the company asserts that “the fine people at FedEx® recognized the power of our mission.  They were able to afford us a volume discount in order to save the customer money on shipping and allow us to donate to charity.”


Although the claim of FedEx support is an integral part of the backstories of both Joeshipping.com and Ship4Charities.com,
a FedEx spokesperson appeared to refute that claim.


While confirming to Miss Fortune that FedEx does not provide exclusive charitable discounts like those claimed by Ship4Charities.com, even on behalf of “military veterans”, the spokesperson explained that company privacy rules prevented him from commenting specifically about any individual account.

However, he did allow that various discounts are available to anyone based on shipping volume, package pre-sort and printing your own FedEx shipping labels.

But Ship4Charities.com continues to make its case:

How does this work?
We made it very simple to use.  You can get a discounted quote for shipping, order a label based on your preferred method of shipping and select a charity from a list and we will donate a portion of the proceeds accordingly. The donation amount will be shown when you purchase the label.  Once the transaction has been completed you actually get a FedEx® label sent directly to your email!

How do I purchase my label?
Simply register for an account, log in and click “order now”.  From there you will be able to enter and save addresses, select your preferred method of shipping, check out using our secured payment methods and the label is immediately available to be downloaded from the “My Account” section of the Site.

How do I know if the package will be sent when I purchase through your site?
The fine people at FedEx® will take it from there. Since you are purchasing a FedEx® label, you can drop in a FedEx® box, take it to a FedEx® location or schedule a pick up at your location.

What methods of payments do you accept?
We accept VISA, MasterCard and American Express

What if I have a question about my label?  Who do I contact?  How do I track it?
You can email our customer service at cs@Ship4Charities.com or call 888-777-5063.  You can track your package on our site at any time using the "track my package" link. Please note that Fed Ex sends us the tracking information and we are dependent on them as when it is available for you to see.  In most instances package tracking will not be available for up to 48 hours depending on when the package was scanned and sent.

And while the previous answers seem clear, here’s where the flim-flam really starts:


How do I know if the charity received its donation from Ship4Charities.com?

Ship4Charities vows to ensure the charity will receive its donation. It is our mission to provide timely donations and that is one of the main reasons we set up this program.  Upon request, we will send the customer a summary of the donation along with the date we sent the donation to the charity you selected.
 
Do I receive a tax credit for my donation?

 
Unfortunately, you will not.  However, upon request, we can send you a letter documenting the donation amount we made on your behalf to the charity you selected. We cc the charity for their records so they recognize you made the purchase for their behalf.


HMMM?

So let's add up the major claims and see if the ledger still balances: 

Ship4Charities is not really a charity itself (remember, it's an LLC), and while it "vows to ensure the charity will receive its donation" Ship4Charities cannot be legally compelled to provide a donor with proof that "the charity" ever received the money. 

And even if a donation is made, you can't deduct it from your taxes because it came from Ship4Charities.com.

What? Were you really expecting something different from a company run by the former partner of Robert Buckhannon, Battle Creek's own "crooked chiropractor"?

So how much money is there, and where did it go?

PART 3-COMING MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9

SHIP SAVE GIVE...SHOW ME WHAT MONEY?

Find out which Ship4Charities.com "partner" was not aware it even was a partner until Miss Fortune called for a comment!

And so much more!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

SHIPPING WITH BENEFITS: How Christopher Paganes, a disgraced former investment advisor, is turning a fake charity into real money

On its website, Ship4Charities describes itself as “a shipping logistics company that donates to charity for each package shipped.” 

But an in-depth investigation by Glistening, Quivering Underbelly indicates that the organization may be executing an elaborate charity donation scam, using legitimate charities as its bait.

In the first installment of an exclusive five-part investigative series, Miss Fortune reveals what Glistening, Quivering Underbelly has discovered about the man heading this growing company, Christopher T. Paganes.


Paganes-Facebook photo
Who is Chris Paganes?

Hedge funds, minimally regulated private investment partnerships, are perfect vehicles for fraud. The FBI has investigated a variety of frauds that involve hedge funds. In the Daedalus Capital Partners case, for example, a classic advanced fee scheme was perpetrated by the hedge fund manager; investors received false financial statements claiming large profits, when in fact the money was being siphoned off and used to finance the manager's lavish lifestyle.

In the Global Time Capital Growth Fund case, on the other hand, the hedge fund manager was convicted of trading on material non-public information regarding an impending bank merger--a classic example of insider trading.

And in 2011, the SEC accused suburban Detroit area resident Christopher T. Paganes, his business associate Robert Buckhannon (based at the time in Las Vegas, but now a Battle Creek chiropractor), five cronies and an investment firm of duping investors out of $34 million by bankrupting two hedge funds and skimming more than $16 million off the top. The SEC complaint said the men "looted and bankrupted the hedge funds by steering millions of dollars to themselves." 

Defendants Buckhannon, Terry Rawstern, Dale St. Jean and Gregory Tindall were the managing members of two Bradenton, Florida-based hedge funds, Imperium and Vestium.

Aided by Paganes, defendants Richard Mittasch and Glenn Barikmo and Imperium Investment Advisors, the gang "commingled investor money from three separate offerings and then looted and bankrupted the hedge funds by steering more than $15 million into loans and other deals with companies in which they had undisclosed financial interests" the SEC complaint said.

The SEC’s complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, alleged that from April 2008 through April 2010, the Managing Members raised funds by promising investors that they would generate substantial returns through conservative investments in high-grade debt instruments and, in some cases, limited physical commodities transactions. Additionally, the offering materials and prospectus for Vestium Equity Funds further assured investors that Imperium would safeguard their funds from impermissible uses.

Contrary to these assurances, however, the SEC alleged that the defendants disregarded the Funds’ respective investment parameters and used investor funds for “illiquid private investments and loans to affiliate entities”.

Additionally, although the Funds incurred investment losses of at least $8.1 million, the Managing Members disseminated monthly statements “falsely depicting consistent profits and paid at least $6 million to investors in alleged profits. The Managing members further paid themselves over $1.3 million in compensation that was improperly based on inflated asset values and fictitious profits.”

The SEC’s complaint further alleged that Buckhannon, Mittasch, Paganes and Barikmo collectively misappropriated at least $734,000 of investor funds to themselves and others.

Christopher Paganes was a managing member of Imperium and held securities licenses. He was CEO of Maximum, but in August 2009 FINRA permanently barred him "from serving in any principal capacity at a securities firm and suspended him from associating with any securities firm for nine months based on his conduct while he was Maximum's chief compliance officer."

No fine was imposed at the time because Paganes “evidenced an inability to pay”, according to an October 2009 FINRA Disciplinary Report.

However, in November 2011, Paganes was ordered by the SEC to “disgorge $650,000 and and prejudgment interest of $90,339.19 and to pay a $650,000 civil penalty".


Paganes and his wife declared bankruptcy on November 30, 2012. Paganes' debts were officially discharged on June 13, except for his SEC fines and penalties.

PART 2-COMING TOMORROW:

PROSPERITY THROUGH CHARITY: THE REAL STORY OF SHIP4CHARITIES