Thursday, May 14, 2009

If you are interested in what has transpired at HL Leasing please see the article written by Christopher Menkin on Leasingnews.org as it gives you a very good overview of what we know at this point. If you have other information or questions please post them on the blog entitled "new blog on John Otto" located on the left side of this page, and also directly below, as it has the majority of comments

73 comments:

  1. I also have been a long time investor and my life savings and retirment income. I am opting to join forces with TomMcCurnin which seems to have a history and has past experiences with leasing schemes, although the outcome may be grim, I will be in the front lines to hold Dan Ramirez, Andy and Norma accountable. Dan was a long time friend, I thought,but at this time, I can only pray for all of us and although this has an effect on many people involved, it is a time to gather our friends and families support and believe that there will be sort of justice and that there is a way to recover what has been a devastating situation. My prayers, thoughts and aloha goes to all of us/debdes/

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  2. Why hasn't the Fresno Bee been more forthcoming with this story from the beginning of the week? It would have really helped the investors I am sure. My thoughts and prayers go to the inocent employees of Heritage Leasing, and to JOhn's innocent friends.

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  3. And it goes without saying, my thoughts and prayers go out to all of the investors who believed in John. He was a charmer and so good at this scam, you guys shouldn';t feel embarrassed-, he was slick

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  4. I have been an ivestor for a few years and I know others that have been investing for years.

    Thank you for posting everything you know!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Dan was such a good salesman, and he had us selling the program to all our friends an family.
    We've been in it for 10 years and some of us and friends are really hurting. God help all of us!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Please be aware that the link above to "leasing news" should read www.leasingnews.org, not ".com".

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have been with Dan over 15 years, this was all the money I had for my retirement. I am so upset, I guess like everyone else. I do not know what to do if I should do anything at all at this point. I e-mailed Tom Mc Curnin, and his first sentence was "I do not think you will revover anything" and the other lawyer wants $10,000 retainer. The money is gone, who has an extra 10,000 laying around.

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  8. You are not alone. At this point I agree with Tom. Not sure if any "pot of gold" will be found. We can only hope that maybe between the assets and some money hidden in accounts we can maybe get back something. I hate the fact that I trusted Dan. He seemed like such a genuine guy. Always acted like he cared and we were friends. I asked him many times if this was something I needed to worry about and he always assured me it was good. That hurts very much. Will be hard to trust people going forward.

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  9. I have a few things to say about all this. Well see my step father got me in with these scam artists late 2007. However, my step dad who passed away early April, who also had hundreds of thousands+ wrapped into this scam. Well 2-3 weeks or so after my step father passed away I spoke with Danny R. AT LENGTH, about death and he rambled on about his sister, and never once had mentioned to me anything about Otto's stoke nor cancer, however, he was able to swindle me into believing everything AGAIN. My landlord whom also knows a lot about businesses and so on, said for me to contact Marc Miles, Norma Lewis, Danny and Otto to send me the company who is handing escrow, the sale and no reply, so i emailed it again, no reply. and then i get the news doe to my mom-in-law who thought the whole thing sounded suspicious and like a scam. I know we all have way too much to lose and I dont mean to burden anyone, I just dont know what I need to do in order to help. Please someone let me know, I am just soooo new to all this.

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  10. Where the hell is OUR federal bailout?!?!?

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  11. I was invested for seven years and my boyfriend for almost twenty we lost well over a Million. I won't ever recover financially. I am so frustrated because I have no idea what we are suppose to do next. The FBI agent left me a message and told me they are mailing out a letter this week. I would imagine it is to confirm that it is a ponzi scheme. In order to file revisions on our taxes we have to prove that it is a ponzi scheme.

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  12. ANYONE HAVE ANY IDEAS WHAT IS HAPPENING AT THIS POINT, DID WE REALLY LOSE IT ALL?

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  13. i just realized that this blog has somewhat split off of the main group which you can access by clicking on "new blog on john otto" on the left hand side of this blog. Sorry for any confusion. There are 134 comments on the main blog

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  14. Yes we lost it all - or rather it was stolen from us

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  15. In reading all your stories it is a "crime" and a very add up of events. Dan is certainly a great talker and he assured me many many times over that I didn't need to pull my funds out. He certainly had to know what was going on. We need to unite with "unfortunate Investor: and try to see what Tom Mc Curnin team can come up with before you give $10K to the Fresno attorney , is he nuts most of us lost our retirement and all our savings a $10K retainer is out of the question/

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  16. if anyone of you needs to talk, I am available, as the these blogs are a good way to vent but sometimes a friendly voice, who certainly understands this crisis, I can't help ease the trauma,but if only just for a few minutes. My phone is 808-987-5205. I was one of those investors that some of you talked to over these past years, and I did encourage HL, my checks always came for many many years and this is just such a incrediable, heartbreaking time for all of us. I keep everyone in my prayers/

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  17. Question for "Anonymous 5/20/09 Invested 7 years"
    Did you ever receive a letter from the FBI?
    Has anyone else heard from the FBI?
    Thank you and God bless us all. I am ashamed to mention the amount of money we invested. This will surely change our lives forever.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I could not find the article by Christopher Menkin on leasingnews.com. Can anyone point me to it?

    Many thanks,
    Marty

    ReplyDelete
  19. aloha marty,
    It is actually www.leasingnews.org and I believe that will get you there. You may also want to go up this page and on left side click on "new blog on John Otto" which will take you to the blog that has the most comments on it. hope that helps

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  20. I have not received any letter from the FBI. I called again and now the agent involved is no longer taking calls regarding HL investors. I am now waiting for a contact through family in hopes that it will help us all. If I have anything I will let you know. If it makes you feel any less shameful I had almost everything in there between my partner and myself it was over 1 million 1 hundred thousand. I feel very damaged and don't think I'll have the same secure feelings for my life.

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  21. hello,
    please go up on the left side of this page and click on teh "new blog on John OttO" top get to the larger blog as it will give you more information

    ReplyDelete
  22. sorry,
    I was in a hurry and mis-spelled most of my message--please go up this page and on the left side you will see "new blog on john otto". click on that and it will take you to the larger blog which has more information.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Some years ago I contacted Dan Callahan, Atty. to possibly represent me in a potential lawsuit. His fee structure was that I deposi$ 10,000 in his firms'account and, when his fees depleted that amount, I was to deposit a like amount. I declined. Since John Otto contacted Callahan just a few days before his suicide, could he have deposited a substantial amount of funds with him to be used to take care of his family? It's worth looking into.

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  24. Where is everyone bloging at now?

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  25. Please go up to the left side of this page and click on "New blog on John Otto" as that is where all the comments are.

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  26. The last item I see is dated May 23, I sure there must be something after that.

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  27. When you go to the new john otto page look on the upper right side and you will see "1-200 of 310 and "newest" Click on newest to get to the more recent comments. Hope that helps

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  28. Mrs. Otto
    Listen to me very carefully why don't you tell the truth for once in your life. You hurt so many people by stealing their money. I want my money that my dad put in. That was my inherience from my father who worked very hard for it. You dan and the other crooks have ruined so many lives. Tell the truth for once in your life. You wouldn't know the truth if it was in your ugly face. We want our money. I don't want to buy fancy cars or live in a fancy house I just want to live period. You have ruined so many lives. because you are so greedy. I am just glad that my dad is not alive to see the mess that you, dan and your chicken husband created.

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  29. Merry christmas and a Blessed new Year to all.

    BH

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  30. This really was an awful case. It's so sad to me that you just can't trust anyone any more based on implicit trust in their integrity. One would hope that you wouldn't ever need the services of a business lawyer to make sure everything in the business world is kosher, but unfortunately such precautions do have to be taken.

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  31. well one more "court system: with their jury choices NOT GUILTY on more time killing a 2 yrs old ...

    Casy Anthony is NOT guilty,today in FLorida, OJ is not guilty in Californa of killing his wife and her friend, Well guess OTTO, Rameriz Norma, Ken etc. they all still NOT guilty and never will be , we can't even get the Queen of County Club living still,
    stil not going to trail of course, not another delay...thanks Kathreen what I am guity of is been still pissed that this our justice system in this county SUCKS>
    Well I find them GUILTY thanks again today for the lesson of our court system justice for all,

    I am going to look for another country to live the last that I might have of my life lfet. this one is wrong
    OJ... Casey... Otto, Matoff ...etc let us kill, rape and cheat and steal and I guess it is just ok in this country WEll I might be looking for anew country to find to live Is anyone out there still pissed off and angry? hope you are not I have blessed them all, forgave them all in my time but this is just not right sorry to vent but since I lost my home, my family my job and friends you can listen me vent or delete.
    aloha DEB again Casey Anthony is NOT guilty ????

    ReplyDelete
  32. well one more "court system: with their jury choices NOT GUILTY on more time killing a 2 yrs old ...

    Casy Anthony is NOT guilty,today in FLorida, OJ is not guilty in Californa of killing his wife and her friend, Well guess OTTO, Rameriz Norma, Ken etc. they all still NOT guilty and never will be , we can't even get the Queen of County Club living still,
    stil not going to trail of course, not another delay...thanks Kathreen what I am guity of is been still pissed that this our justice system in this county SUCKS>
    Well I find them GUILTY thanks again today for the lesson of our court system justice for all,

    I am going to look for another country to live the last that I might have of my life lfet. this one is wrong
    OJ... Casey... Otto, Matoff ...etc let us kill, rape and cheat and steal and I guess it is just ok in this country WEll I might be looking for anew country to find to live Is anyone out there still pissed off and angry? hope you are not I have blessed them all, forgave them all in my time but this is just not right sorry to vent but since I lost my home, my family my job and friends you can listen me vent or delete.
    aloha DEB again Casey Anthony is NOT guilty ????

    ReplyDelete
  33. ABC-30 is trying to do a story on this tonight, in particular, the ruling against Kathleen Otto.
    Anyone here willing to talk to us about the scheme?

    Contact our newsroom at 485-0930 and ask for Karen or Shannon.

    Thanks,
    Corin Hoggard

    ReplyDelete
  34. Who is John Otto?
    by Christopher Menkin
    http://leasingnews.org/archives/Jan2012/1_13.htm#otto

    ReplyDelete
  35. Fresno Bee article. Widow ordered to pay.
    http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/01/10/2678522/widow-told-to-pay-1145m.html

    ReplyDelete
  36. The blog does not allow links.
    http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/01/10/2678522/widow-told-to-pay-1145m.html
    you may have to copy and paste or search the Fresno Bee

    ReplyDelete
  37. Regarding Tax Loss issues, there is a recent IRS Revenue Proc. 2011-58 that modifies the Safe Harbor Rules to accommodate a situation where the death of a lead figure precludes criminal charges.

    http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/rp-11-58.pdf

    At this point with HL, the loss still does not seem to qualify for Safe Harbor Treatment as no receiver or Trustee for an asset accounting has been appointed - this should happen this year with the judgments against Ramirez, etc. Also I am not sure if the discovery year would be 2009 as it is the later of the year of death or date the civil complaint was filed - and I am not sure if the Class Action was filed before the end of 2009.

    Whether this may allow investors to retroactively claim Safe Harbor treatment for 2009 by amending their returns is a big question. The Safe Harbor is an advantage as it requires much less substation or determination of the chance of recovering any money. Also in 2009, it was possible to carry back the loss for 3,4 or 5 years. For 2010 and 2011 and 2012 a theft loss can be carried back only 3 years. So could these new rules allow an investor to retroactively claim a 4 or 5 year carryback if a 2009 return is amended because of the new rules?

    It would certainly be helpful to all investors having IRS issues, for the attorney handling the class action to provide information regarding a Receiver or Trustee for an asset search, so investors can claim the tax loss. At this point I do not think there is any doubt with the civil verdicts that this was a Ponzi scheme, however this verdict was not available in 2009.

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  38. ALOHA I NEED SOME HELP
    We are filing all the amended returns that the IRS has requested but I DO NOT HAVE the court ruling about the guilt of RAMIREZ FROM AUG 2011 NOR THE COURT RULING AGAINEST KATHLEEN?

    PLEASE COULD SOMEONE FORWARD TO ME ....
    ddj5454@gmail my home is 772 324 8732 Thank you and MAHALO again if you could help me/ddj

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  39. Does anyone know if we filed under a carry back lost and received tax money back from IRS is it appropriate or would it even be worth looking into refilling under safe harbor as a ponzy ripoff ?

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  40. Why would you do this? The safe harbor allows you initially to claim up to 95% loss(possibly the remaining 5% later when there is absolutely no chance of recovering anything). If you already filed and received your refunds under regular rules, you used 100% of the loss. Also how does this qualify for safe harbor? Despite the new rules, no trustee or receiver has yet been appointed.

    You should talk to whomever filed your carryback claims. Also have you received any communication from the IRS examining your claims? It seems some are getting through and some are not.

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  41. I had a lot of problems when I first filed under the carry back. I won't go into all the ways the IRS tried to get out of giving me back my tax money. Finally with the persistance of my CPA we were "assigned" to an intermediary who communicates with the IRS and then instructs my CPA as to what to do. Once the IRS agreed to send me a check this intermediary advised my CPA do not push for interest which I should be entitled to get. He stated that it could trigger an audit. I finally got my check, all in all it took over a year from my initial filing.

    ReplyDelete
  42. $163,720,000 Collections to begin May 9
    in John Otto’s HL Leasing Ponzi Scheme
    http://leasingnews.org/archives/Mar2012/3_28.htm#scheme

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. May 11, any news on collections?

      Delete
  43. Latest news in this archive story published May 11, 2012 (anniversary of first story)


    May 11, 2009 Archives
    Heritage Pacific Leasing, Fresno, California
    http://leasingnews.org/archives/May2012/5_11.htm#archives

    ReplyDelete
  44. I should also add, to collect on this, you need to be part of the class action suit. I believe there are two firms. The news stories name the law firms.

    I don't know if you can be added to the class action suit if you were not part of the original filing, as that is up to the way it was set-up.

    The was not a criminal suit, but a civil suit.
    It was covered here in this blog and you may find out more or who to contact by reviewing previous entries.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Trust Company of America has devalued my IRA account that held HL leasing notes 15% or from $402k to a little over $60k. 2cents cash, the rest still in worthless notes. I still can't get the $60k haha.Has this happened to anyone else?

    I'm about to call TCA and will share info on the blog.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Yes as you know it has happen to me as well. I called and told them I wanted the rest of my balance and of course TCA said there really wasn't anything in my account since NORMA took it all and gave it to OTTO.

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  47. And Norma got off easy - she was a major witness for the plaintiffs and she was not sued, even though she too was an officer in the company working there for 10 or so years. And she did nort suspect it was a scam? She knew something was wrong and ratted the others out to save herself. And due to the statute of limitations is free and clear now, but I am sure she was hiding her money over the last 3 years...

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  48. Our CPA did an amended return 1120X for the years 2009 & 2008 taking the 300K loss. This was September 15, 2012. Approximately 5 weeks later we received a letter saying they were ordering the returns from the Federal Record Center and would notify us within 60 days which Area will review your claim. November 16, 2012 a letter saying we have review your amended return. "It has been forwarded for consideration to the Examination Area Office of the Internal Revenue Service. They should respond to your claim within 45 days." January 15, 2013 a letter from the Acting Director, California Examination Area saying that our federal income tax return has been transferred to a Revenue Agent for further consideration. Now our CPA has 10 days to schedule an interview. He feels really confident there is enough evidence to claim the loss. Keeping our fingers and toes crossed. Has anyone else taken a carry back loss and been successful?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have not as yet but are ready to do so. I will share your comments with our tax advisor. Please keep us informed and we will do the same. Thanks for the info.

      Delete
    2. Two and a half months later our CPA just met with the IRS agent to discuss the carry back. She asked to speak to me and wanted to know how I had met John Otto. At the end she asked to see proof of the interest payments, which we have complied with. Now we wait. Just wish there was some way to carry back the lost through the California FTB.

      Delete
    3. Wondering how your Carry Back return ended up?
      I wrote on this blog 3/7/2012 I received my refund but it took a year. I didn't have to meet with anyone maybe it had to do with the intermediary that was assigned by the IRS to my case.

      Delete
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  51. John Otto, the alleged perpetrator of the Ponzi scheme, where money was lent by investors for a rate of return for leases that did not exist, committed suicide. Corporate officers were taken to a class action suit in Fresno where a jury ruled for a judgment against Heritage Leasing, MAC dba Heritage Leasing, Kathleen Otto (wife of John where bookkeeping was maintained at their house in Palm Desert (and Air Fred (small airline where they leased planes) for $114.5 million, plus $46.5 million against both Dan Ramirez and Andy Fernandez; $720,000 on top of that against Dan Ramirez.

    Ara Jabagchourian and Aron K. Liang of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP and Donald Fischbach of Dowling, Aaron & Keeler, Inc. began search for the assets (which were few, it appears, as the money had been spent by Otto to keep the Ponzi scheme going).

    The FBI has no one to indict, and in reality, Kathleen Otto was only brought into the action in the class action suite for basically being an officer of the corporation. She has filed personal bankruptcy as well as Dan Ramirez. Both basically have nothing, although transfers of real estate and a vehicle before the bankruptcy are being brought up before the judge.

    In the meantime “http://johnottohlleasing.blogspot.com/ blog” started May 14, 2009 has 1098 emails, with victims trying to prove the loss to the IRS to take tax deductions on their losses (many have lost everything, homes, retirement, money saved for kids college education, you name it).

    Attorney Ara Jabagchourian is a native of Fresno, and works for Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy firm that allows him to spend this time as this case the attorneys get 23 1/2% of what is recovered, and doesn't look like too much at all.

    Previous Stories:
    http://www.leasingnews.org/Conscious-Top%20Stories/heritage_leasing.htm

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kit for keeping us informed.

      Delete
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  53. At this time Appellate briefs have been filed for Kathleen Otto's case. Ramirez has not filed his brief yet. He has "sold" his home to his wife even though Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy had a lien on it. Kathleen Otto has sold her vehicles and transferred real estate before she filed personal bankruptcy.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Attorney Ara tells Leasing News, "Probably going to have oral argument regarding Kathleen Otto's liability in October before the Court of Appeal in Fresno. The bankruptcy folks have sold her home and liquidated many of her assets."

    http://leasingnews.org/archives/Sep2013/9_03.htm#cases

    ReplyDelete
  55. How much of the reported $132 million, and perhaps more specifically to those in the class action suit of the award of $46.5 million, will actually be returned is not known at this time.

    Kathleen Otto, the late John Otto's wife, even though accounting was done at their home, was included in the distribution of assets.

    Correction from last report, that HL Leasing President Dan Ramirez has not filed bankruptcy as fraud has been determined in the John Otto HL Leasing scheme. He reportedly has sold off assets. The Plaintiffs in the Class Action case did not file a fraud case against the wife of John Otto, whose home is where the bookkeeping and payments were received, therefore the courts could not prevent her discharge. The filing of Kathleen Otto's bankruptcy is being questioned, regarding assets. It appears her home has been sold and many of her assets liquidated. Her birthday is October, 1941.

    Attorney Ara Jabagchourian of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP, relates an Oral argument regarding Kathleen Otto's liability is set for October 17 at 9:00 am at the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Fresno ,California.

    Kathleen J. Otto BK Claims (91 pages):
    http://www.leasingnews.org/PDF/KathleenOttoBKClaims_102013.pdf

    Previous Stories:
    http://www.leasingnews.org/Conscious-Top%20Stories/heritage_leasing.htm

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am a CPA and have a client that lost a substantial amount in the HL Leasing fraud. The entire amount was written off in 2009 for IRS and FTB. The statute of limitations is over for the IRS but the FTB is disallowing the entire loss for 2009 based upon the their standing that as of the end of 2009 there was a "reasonable prospect of recovery" of the lost funds. Is anyone else having difficulty with the Franchise Tax Board regarding the deduction of the losses?

      Delete
    2. They stole from me over $700K. I filed in 2009 a "carry back lost" it took over a year but the IRS did assign me a "intermediary" who worked over the phone with my CPA, I think that helped a lot. The IRS did try hard not to pay me. Even telling me that I didn't mail it back in time after they needed more info. Maybe now it can be filed under a ponzi scheme. We didn't want to wait and risk the timing so that is why we filed under a carry back.

      Delete
  56. Court Upholds Ruling Surviving Spouse Liable
    ---Kathleen Otto Responsible for Debt
    by Christopher Menkin
    http://leasingnews.org/archives/Oct2013/10_31.htm#court

    ReplyDelete
  57. Fresno Bee Article:
    http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/10/30/3580677/court-fresno-widow-liable-for.html

    ReplyDelete
  58. Finally HL Leasing Scandal Coming to an End
    And Investors May Get Money Back!
    By Tom McCurnin
    http://leasingnews.org/archives/Jan2014/1_31.htm#hl

    ReplyDelete
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