Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Weird-scam Capitol of the US

Far be it from this Honorable Court to pick on other, less fortunately endowed territories, but there comes a time when even this Judge’s favorite ski destination must take a hard look in the mirror.

Granted, on a per-square mile basis, there aren’t a lot of people who live in most of Utah, but among those that do, there are some of the oddest of the kooks, and this most recent series of incidents indicates, at least to this court, that the inmates are soon to be in control of the asylum.

Not content to be just the home of the whacky polygamist splinter-faction of the Mormon church (a shared “distinction” with Arizona), Utah is home to some of the fastest-growing financial scams ever devised. Anything to do with “affinity marketing” seems to work in Utah so just by living there you can count on being a neighbor to a serial MLM’er.

And garden-variety silliness in the legal lalla-land seems to have found a home in Utah.

Take for example, something called the “Western Arbitration Council,” who set up shop in Sandy, Utah (which appears on maps as a suburb to the Capitol, Salt Lake City).

Scammers have used the WAC to pull all kinds of stupid pet tricks, including one couple in Kansas who pulled one of these worthless “awards” against the insurance company that bonds the bankruptcy Trustee overseeing their Chapter 7 filing. They got sentenced to 18 months for mail and bankruptcy fraud.

Another whacko in California, one Curtis Richmond, has been dancing a rain dance in multiple Federal courts with alleged arbitration awards from the WAC, including one for over fifteen-million against Citibank. His similar scam against EFS Bank has landed him in a contempt hearing after being ordered to stop filing stupid motions and letters in the case he lost with prejudice. He really gets around – he has an “award” against the Colorado Supreme Court, too and is filing yet another action in an Arizona court to get yet another body to read even more gibberish about the Citibank case.

And what do these all have in common, other than the bogus WAC “awards?”

It only gets “WACkier”. Turns out Richmond fancies himself as a member of something called the “Wampanoag Nation, Tribe of Grayhead, Wolf Band.”* One Dale Stevens of Vernal, Utah, is not only Chief, he’s also a “Supreme Court Judge.” And yet another nutball from that area of the State, one Thomas Smith, is a member of the tribe as well as the Chief Tribal Judge – AND – director of arbitration for the WAC.

Another of Vernal’s band of fools, tribe member James Burbank, doesn’t believe the law about license plates and driver’s licenses applies to him because of his membership in the “tribe.” When the state impounded his vehicle he, too, got an “award” from the WAC against the county officials.

And if that isn’t fun enough, out in Hawaii, one outfit known as “Americorp International LLC,” was before the Hawaii Real Estate Commission trying to get approved, but there was this little hang-up: A little IRS matter involving one Bruce Travis, who seemed to be trying to convince the Commission (unsuccessfully, by the way) that the WAC had issued an judgment against the IRS on his behalf, essentially voiding a $247,000 assessment. But only recently, Travis has changed tactics, and is now suing the IRS (again) on the basis that they never provided him with legitimate assessments for taxes since 1996. His prior, similar suit was dismissed and of interest is the fact that it’s an almost identical copy of about twelve other suits from tax protesters around the country.

This court has to wonder if the source of their “legal expertise” came out of Utah.

The Honorable Judge Roy Bean

*Not to be confused with the legitimate Wampanoa Tribe of Gay Head