Gayle's Geothermal Scheme, Only My (Dead) Accountant Knows For Sure and Roy's Conspiracy Circus.
GAYLE'S GEOTHERMAL UNDERWEAR
Back on January 20, Gayle Ingersoll filed his witness list, and included Tom Dent. (Steven Ingersoll and Roy Bradley included Dent on their joint witness list.)
Dent was a mechanical engineer for the Bay City Academy project and, according to the witness list, would describe “the reasons that Mid Michigan Geothermal could not be utilized for the project.”
Gayle Ingersoll added himself as a witness, indicating he would also “testify about the circumstances under which he was involved with the Bay City Academy project, and his bank account transactions.”
In its January 26 response to the motion, the government moved for an order prohibiting three defendants (Gayle Ingersoll, Steven Ingersoll and Roy Bradley) from introducing evidence related to the defendants’ initial plans to use geothermal heating at the Bay City Academy Madison Avenue location.
Gayle Ingersoll wanted to introduce “the initial plans to use geothermal heating at the Bay City Academy” as relevant to his defense because it provides the perfect cover for why he participated in the Bay City Academy project, and it gives
In other words, he wanted to show that the bank account that fat stacks of government-backed cash were deposited into and withdrawn from (which form the basis, in part, for the charges against Gayle Ingersoll) was really, really, really legit.
Miss Fortune's investigation has uncovered facts that indicate the bank account may have been established specifically for the fraud scheme.
Let's take a step back for some background: the April 26, 2014 superseding indictment alleges that Steven Ingersoll and contractor Roy C. Bradley, Sr. conspired to induce Chemical Bank of Bay City to approve a construction line of credit loan. The proceeds were to be used to pay for the conversion of a Bay City church building into the school building currently used by one of Ingersoll’s charter schools, the Bay City Academy.
Ingersoll and Bradley, along with Ingersoll’s brother Gayle, his wife Deborah, and Bradley’s wife Tammy, engaged in a series of transactions that successfully diverted nearly half of the $1.8 million Chemical Bank construction loan proceeds away from the Bay City Academy construction project to a joint, personal bank account held by Steven Ingersoll and his wife Deborah at Fifth-Third Bank.
And how that money got there is the trick of this tale.
In the spring of 2010, Ingersoll’s Madison Arts LLC shell corporation purchased the former Madison Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church church at 400 N. Madison Avenue in Bay City. In October 2010, Ingersoll signed a contract with Roy C. Bradley, Sr., owner of Lasting Impressions, a construction company, to convert the church into a school for use by the Bay City Academy.
In January 2011, using the construction contract signed by Bradley and acting on behalf of Madison Arts, (formed on December 16, 2010), Ingersoll obtained a $1.8 million construction line of credit from Chemical Bank in Bay City.
The loan was backed by the U. S. Department of Agriculture, and was supposed to be used to pay for the church conversion. Later that month, Ingersoll signed a promissory note on behalf of Madison Arts, LLC to obtain the loan from Chemical Bank.
OK, now we're caught up and can put what happens next in perspective—but those dates are important.
Over the next few months, the Ingersolls and Bradleys moved large sums of money between various business and personal accounts and issued checks to one another, according to the indictment.
Sometime in February 2011, Roy Bradley signed documentation that Steven Ingersoll used to obtain a $508,000 advance from Chemical Bank.
Ingersoll deposited the check into a Madison Arts account he controlled at Chemical Bank. Later that month, Ingersoll issued a $100,000 check payable to Roy Bradley drawn on the Madison Arts account that was subsequently deposited into Bradley’s construction company’s bank account. Also in February, Ingersoll obtained a $400,000 cashier’s check, payable to Roy Bradley, using money from the Madison Arts account at Chemical Bank.
Bradley deposited the $400,000 cashier’s check into his construction company’s bank account.
Bradley then issued a $200,000 check drawn on his construction company’s bank account and payable to Ingersoll’s brother, Gayle, the owner of what was described in the superseding indictment as “a subcontracting company”.
However, we now know the name of Gayle Ingersoll's “company”—Mid Michigan Geothermal.
So now that we've come full circle, I'll bet you're wondering when Gayle Ingersoll formed his Bay City DBA.
I wondered the same thing, so I called the Bay County Clerk's office this morning and asked the nice lady who answered the phone.
Was it back in the spring of 2010, when his brother Steven Ingersoll purchased the 400 N. Madison Avenue property?
Was it in October 2010, when Roy Bradley's construction company got the contract to convert the church? You'd be correct in assuming that the use of geothermal heating for the Bay City Academy building might have been well under review by that time—but you'd be wrong.
Was it in 2010, before the end of the year?
Even though Gayle Ingersoll
Evidence of quid pro quo corruption? That will be one for the jury to decide.
According to the government's January 26 motion, Dent previously stated to government agents that he was not aware that Mid-
Michigan Geothermal was associated with the Bay City Academy job. The government produced the report of Dent’s interview as part of the discovery in this case, but none of the defendants have produced reciprocal discovery regarding Dent or the role of Mid-Michigan Geothermal.
So now you know why I called this section of my report “Gayle's Geothermal Underwear”—looks to Miss Fortune like he's using it to cover his proverbial ass!
ONLY MY (DEAD) ACCOUNTANT KNOWS FOR SURE!
In his trial brief, filed on January 15, attorneys for Steven Ingersoll revealed that Ingersoll expects to request a lesser included charge based on a “reliance on tax preparer” instruction.
Given that heads-up, on January 26, the government filed a motion requesting an order precluding the presentation to the jury of “statements by counsel and evidence of each defendant’s reliance on the advice of an accountant absent a preliminary showing of an adequate evidentiary foundation for each defendant’s reliance defense.”
Ingersoll's attorneys filed a response, calling out the government for concluding that “a defendant should not be allowed to make opening statements or present testimony as to matters relating to reliance on an accountant’s advice absent reason to believe that the defendant can satisfy the disclosure requirement of a reliance defense.”
The nerve of some people!
Ingersoll's attorneys claim the government’s motion is “particularly troubling since its agents appear to have intimidated Dr. Ingersoll’s only living tax preparer, Matt Baker, into not cooperating with the defense.”
Clutching their pearls, the defense attorneys claim that much of the evidence on this topic will have to be introduced through (gasp!) cross examination of Baker—calling him a hostile witness while revealing that the only person who can testify as to Steven Ingersoll’s reliance on his deceased tax preparer, Duane Kundinger, is (wait for it) Steven Ingersoll!
Is this a Lifetime movie, or what?
ROY'S CONSPIRACY CIRCUS
Roy Bradley requested a lesser included offense jury instruction on the tax evasion conspiracy charge in count 2 of the indictment.
And the government's response?
In its January 30 response, the government asserts that Bradley’s request for a lesser included offense instruction “appears to be based on the mistaken premise that his culpability for his participation in the tax evasion conspiracy charged in count 2 of the indictment is contingent on his commission of a substantive offense. That premise is wrong as a matter of law.”
The government asserts that the conspiracy charged in count 2 of the indictment is a conspiracy to defraud the United States, not a conspiracy to commit a substantive offense in violation of a particular statute. The government does not have to charge or prove a conspiracy to commit any substantive offense to establish a conspiracy to defraud the United States.
And that, dear readers, was the sound of Uncle Sugar giving a back-handed bitch slap!
And it goes on: the government is not obligated to prove that Roy Bradley (shown in the gruesome photo at left) or any other member of the conspiracy committed any substantive offense to establish Bradley’s guilt of the charged conspiracy.
What is required is proof that two or more people conspired to defraud the United States, that Roy Bradley knowingly and voluntarily joined that conspiracy, and that some member of the conspiracy committed an overt act in furtherance of that conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Judge Thomas L. Ludington has scheduled a motion hearing for Friday, February 6 at 10:00am.
TOMORROW: Part 3 of Miss Fortune's exclusive motion review!