Saturday, September 22, 2012

Who is My Prosecutor?

      Assistant U.S. Attorney Corey J. Smith is the prosecutor presiding over the investigation of my medical office, Colasante Clinic, which was raided by dozens of FBI agents on June 16, 2011.  On August 6, 2011 my personal and business bank accounts were forfeited, with Mr.  Smith's permission, leaving my business with no liquid assets for continued operation, and no means of paying for legal representation.   I know of no good reason for the government to have assaulted my clinic and my reputation in this way.
    Colasante Clinic has been under investigation for two years, three months, and six days.  The investigation was initiated in response to a whistleblower report filed by Pat McCullough, who purchased and bankrupted, in little over a year, my previous clinic--which was well-respected, solvent and had 8,000 patient charts--in Hawthorne, FL.  She needed to deflect attention from her wrongdoing, including misrepresentation of clinic assets to banks in order to gain approval for bank loans.
     Ms. McCullough's accumulated $12 million in debts was forgiven, astoundingly, in June 2011, in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy filed in Lexington, KY..  During her brief ownership of Hawthorne Medical Center, Ms. McCullough found it easy to use her brash certainty, claims of victimhood, and unctuous charm to bamboozle vendors, lenders, insurance companies, local businesses, employees, consultants, and--perhaps--government agents.  Where did the $12 million go?  That's anybody's guess.
     On September 14, 2011 an emergency hearing took place at the Alachua County courthouse.  During the daylong hearing my lawyers requested return--or copies--of the 3,000 patient charts confiscated during the raid, as well as enough working capital to allow the clinic to conduct business.  They also requested that the affidavits giving the reasons behind the investigation be opened.
     Mr. Corey Smith represented the government at this hearing, along with U.S. Prosecutor Bobby Stinson.  Mr. Smith's argument against returning my patients' medical records was that copying them would be too time-consuming and costly for the government.  He stated that any important records could be obtained by following a procedure outlined by the FBI.  That procedure required ten steps, several weeks, and a cost to be borne by the clinic--and it proved unworkable.  Most patients, moreover, are still unable to obtain records directly from the FBI office.
     Mr. Smith's reasons for refusing to open the affidavits were twofold:  1) "Even redacted affidavits (with blackout of names or other identifying information) might put the witnesses at risk," and 2) "Dr. Colasante only wants to know what's in the affidavits so that she can build a defense."  Those reasons were good enough, apparently, for Magistrate Gary Jones, who presided over the hearing and permitted the affidavits to remain sealed.
     Mr. Smith had to delay his attention to the Colasante Clinic case because he was busy with another case, which went to court for seven days and ended February 20, 2012.  He was attempting to convict four former executives of Vanguard Fire and Casualty Company, on grounds of fraud.  A grand jury had indicted them, but everyone knows that grand jury trials are formalities--one-sided, conducted in secret, controlled by government officials, and in no way a declaration of guilt.
     The executives of Vanguard Casualty were charged with making false statements about the company's financial status in the wake of the 2004 hurricanes, after a spate of claims demolished the company's assets.  The statements were made to Florida's CAP fund as part of a request for help.   Here's the link:   

http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/press/2011/mar/vanguard.html

     What happened?  It took six years and $500,000 of government money to bring the case to court.   (How did the defendants last that long, I wonder.  "The government moves slowly," my lawyers warned me.)  The four accused executives faced five years in prison for conspiracy, and ten more years for each count of fraud.
     The case was heard by U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle.  On Feburary 20, 2012, after seven days in court, midway through the hearing, Judge Hinkle did something highly unusual:  he halted the hearing, and issued a judgment of acquittal.  He stated that he hadn't done this in fifteen years.
     The four executives were released from all charges of fraud, in the middle of the hearing, because Assistant Prosecutor Corey Smith had so little evidence to support his case against them.  "How can it be a fraud case, if they said, 'Here's what we're doing'?" Judge Hinkle asked in court.  He also declared  that the government had, in fact, proved that the defendants were innocent.
     Here's the link to a report about the Vanguard Casualty trial and acquittal:

http://www.wctv.tv/news/headlines/117212078.html

     This was not a good outcome for Mr. Smith.  This is not how a prosecutor makes a reputation and climbs up the government ladder.  Wasting government funds on cases that have no merit is a public disgrace.  I wonder what Mr. Smith was thinking, as he reviewed the facts of the Vanguard Casualty case before the trial.
     I  also wonder if Assistant U.S. Attorney Corey J. Smith is planning to do something similar in my case, to have me indicted, and take me to court, in order to prove my innocence in front of a judge, and in front of the entire country?
     I will not go gentle into that good night, as Dylan Thomas's phrased it.  Perhaps my attorneys are right, telling me to avoid criticizing the government.  I don't have to criticize the government--our judicial system and public attorneys are on view for all of us to observe.  Are there any consequences for federal and state attorneys who misconstrue or inflate the evidence brought before them, and who waste our government's time and tax dollars?  Is being an Assistant U.S. Attorney a position with tenure?  Can Mr. Smith do this again and again, without consequences?  Is this like other government jobs, from which employees--no matter how incompetent--never seem to have to worry about getting fired?

19 comments:

  1. It is self-evident who your prosecutor is. In my book, a thief is someone has something of mine that I did not give him or her. That was my first thought upon seeing his name because I know that he has control of your property (money and records). Some people do not have any sense at all about right and wrong. Others through some sort of consciousness ingrained in their soul can intuitively judge their own actions between the two choices. He is obviously a member of the first group of people. He has even attempted to make money off of your property by selling your records back to you by way of a fee per copy.

    I do not have any qualms about seeking judgment against people like Mr. Corey Smith. In the event Mr. Smith takes you to court and proves your innocence you need to be ready. You want to be prepared to hit the ground running in seeking damages because you have legitimate claimants ahead of you. You have time now to identify and interview civil attorneys. You can discuss how you can get back the money that Mr. Smith has become so attached to.

    The U.S. Government along with the FBI and Mr. Smith have sullied your good name and professional reputation, have done everything possible to ruin your medical practice, have taken control over your life and your money, have cost you a fortune in legal fees, and have caused you considerable pain and suffering. If it was I, Mr. Smith and the U.S. Government would be sued for malicious prosecution and I would sue the Federal Bureau of Investigation for false arrest if that time comes. You need to snatch your money back from Mr. Smith’s control so you can use those funds to pursue judgment against him.

    It is fortunate that you have found a pattern of Mr. Smith persecuting other innocent people. He may have done this same thing prior to them and I would check into what I could about all his past cases. It is unfortunate that those four individuals are ahead of you in seeking damages. If they beat you to a judgment against Mr. Smith they could already be awarded his real property and other assets before you can get satisfaction.

    Perhaps Ms. McCullough’s debt forgiveness in June 2011 is not astounding at all. Instead, It may be part of a deal in the bigger picture. I can see what you are thinking about her. How does a person simply walk away with 12 million dollars of someone else’s money?

    Were your personal and business bank accounts cleaned out in 2012 or 2011? Look at your first paragraph.

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  2. Are you claiming in this public forum that Ms. McCullough materially benefited from the purchase and subsequent closure of the Hawthorne clinic? Are you claiming that Ms. McCullough failed to disclose any assets in her personal and corporate bankruptcies? Are you claiming that Ms.McCullough retained any assets beyond her personal effects and vehicle valued at $10k by the courts? Are you claiming that Ms. McCullough transferred ownership of any assets prior to her bankruptcy?

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  3. Anonymous,
    Did Ms. McCullough materially benefit from the purchase and subsequent closure of the Hawthorne clinic? Did Ms. McCullough fail to disclose any assets in her personal and corporate bankruptcies? Did Ms. McCullough retain any assets beyond her personal effects and vehicle failed at $10k by the courts? Did Ms.
    McCullough transfer ownership of any assets prior to her bankruptcy? Come on, you can tell me.

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  4. Would you like to publically identify yourself, Rinker, and make any of those claims?

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  5. Anonymous,
    No one has made any 'claims' but you. And as you know, your 'claims' are real specific. You seem to be the 'go to' person about 'claims'. So, if you know something, I'm listening.

    I do have a question if you would care to give some insight. How does a person simply walk away with $12 million dollars of someone else's money? When I've borrowed money there has always been the expectation of repayment in full. You have the floor, anonymous.

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  6. The bankruptcy documents are a matter of public record. It appears that you have ignored a number of claims made in this public forum. The creditors of Ms. McCullough have received a full accounting of her finances beyond that required by law. "Walking away with $12 million dollars" implies that Ms. McCullough financially benefited from either the failure of her clinic or her bankruptcy. Do you join Ms. Colasante in making such claims?

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  7. Anonymous,
    'Simply walking away from' or 'debt forgiveness' means there was no repayment plan required for the debt she owed. Those funds were forgiven (written off) and her debtors were denied. That is astounding.


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  8. You can't even quote yourself correctly.

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  9. Rinker,

    Previously, you said, "walked away with $12 million." Then you misquoted yourself, "walking away from..." So, you recognize there is more than a minor semantic difference between those phrases?

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  10. Who cares about "semantics"? We're not here to nitpick, but to get at the truth. How did $12 million appear in the coffers of a woman who claimed not to have had enough money or borrowing power to finance the purchase of a clinic, and then where did the $12 million declared in bankruptcy go? The clinic debt wasn't included in the bankruptcy. How did it disappear? In my opinion, it sounds like a clever little set-up--but if in fact financial information was misrepresented to banks (and wasn't I a bank?--carrying a loan for Pat?) it's a set-up that is classified as a felony--defrauding a bank--and carries a sentence of 20 years.

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  11. According to the bankruptcy documents you posted, Ms.McCullough's debts discharged through Chapter 7 bankruptcy totaled $8.11 million and you are listed as a creditor in the amount of $4.65 million.

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  12. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it's a duck! Pat=quack.
    Money doesn't evaporate it migrates.

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  13. Anonymous, The final bankruptcy amount did not include the purchase price of the clinic, according to my attorney. Oddly, Pat had no desire to negotiate a reasonable price for the practice and real estate--my attorneys were astounded that she didn't engage in the offer/counter-offer process that typifies any sale. Her aim, I believe, was to make the business look as asset-rich and receivables-rich and VALUABLE as possible--for the creditors she was planning to deceive. Or, she may have had collaborators (at the bank?) in her scheme, and the higher she could make the value of the clinic, the more reasonable her "loans" would look--loans that were headed for the default heap.

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  14. There are a number of anonymous posters, I'll join the party.

    Given what I have researched, as a fellow creditor of Ms. McCullough, I will give you an abbreviated summary of how such a large sum of money could disappear.

    Instead of using the $12 million dollar figure, let's start with some more accurate values. The bankruptcy totaled $8.11 million, which included your $4.65 million according to the filing I read. Which leaves a considerable sum of $3.46 million.

    So, did she borrow $3.46 million and run off with the cash? First, this figure is inflated quite a bit. Creditors get to add penalties, interest, legal fees, and other allowable charges that can increase the balance by 20-25%. So the original basis, might have been closer to $2.5 million.

    So, did she pocket $2.5 million? No, much of this was accumulated debt held by her companies that had enjoyed profitability for more than a decade. More than a third of that amount was real estate that lost half its value in the wake of our country's real estate crash.

    While I'm sure that it provides little comfort, the truth is that McCullough continued to leverage her assets and corporate earnings. The failure of the Hawthorne clinic appeared to have set in motion a domino effect, catching all of her business interests over-leveraged in debt.

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  15. To the Most Recent "Anonymous"--One of my past staff members, someone who worked during the transition of ownership at Hawthorne Medical Center, has suggested that you are not "Anonymous" but must be--given the tone of your voice, and your intense desire to defend Pat, despite being one of her "creditors"--none other than "Shawn"--the "IT" person Pat brought along to Hawthorne, and someone who was either completely naive about Pat's intentions, or was her confidante and partner-in-crime. Logging in as anonymous means you have a lot of fear, or a vested interest in defending your part in the planned debacle that Pat would like to reframe, absurdly, as "having been defrauded." Sorry, Shawn, you've been outed, and your participation in Pat's devilry makes devalues your opinion (and your defense of Pat) substantially.

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  16. I'm a financial professional associated with an institutional creditor listed on the bankruptcy filings you have linked to.

    In previous posts, it appears that somebody is trying to make a case for libel, in a somewhat threatening manner. That person jumped in with some bankruptcy facts that I am familiar with, thus my entry into the thread.

    Those posts sound like an attorney or sympathetic friend or co-worker. Maybe it's the person your employee suspects, I don't know.

    I am not familiar with the details of her clinic's operations and I'm confused of how it might be linked to your present legal troubles.

    That said, I have seen the financials presented in her bankruptcy and have pointed out how they aren't consistent with your narrative. As a creditor, I can say that McCullough is not a very responsible steward of her creditors money.

    I'm not sure I have provided much of a defense of McCullough by countering your claim that she stole $12 million dollars. Other than describing the details of a bankruptcy that I'm a party to, I'm not sure that I have defended anyone. Most of the larger creditors know what happened to the money, we have few questions.

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  17. You might have forgotten that you suggested that her banks might have been a guilty party. As a banker, that riled my feathers a bit and led to my post. It sounds like you and McCullough have some unfinished business. Sorry to impose. The facts are bad enough, they need little embellishment.

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  18. There are enough FBI cases showing that in bank fraud cases SOMEONE in the bank--not the whole bank--collaborated in a scheme to defraud the bank...that it's not outside the realm of possibility that someone might have helped Pat get approval for loans that should not have been approved, given the financial picture Pat painted for me just months after her purchase of a thriving medical practice. Sorry to "rile" you, but if there's absolutely no truth to such a hypothesis, there's no reason for you to be defensive. It's not libel, it's a person (me) whose life has been turned upside down and whose future is uncertain (in the hands of a government with seemingly unlimited power) because Pat pretended to want to buy a medical clinic, run it properly, and continue to serve a very needy community--whereas her behavior subsequent to the sale, point to an entirely different set of motives.

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