Vancouver issuer cease traded by Ontario Securities Commission

By Christine Duhaime | September 18th, 2020

A Vancouver issuer named Mountain Valley MD Holdings Inc. (“Mountain MD“), was cease traded by the Ontario Securities Commission today for a failure to file its required disclosure documents and based on the fact that a director, officer and insider had or may have, material information in respect of Mountain MD that such person did not disclose to the market place. Mountain MD says on its website that one of the five members of its management is a lawyer at a firm.

As an aside, in Canada, Bitcoin companies frequently put a lawyer’s name and likeness on their website and in pitch decks without the consent or knowledge of the lawyer. No big firm that I am aware of allows any of its lawyers to cross over into management of an issuer, client or not, or to use their name, likeness or logo on a website or pitch deck for, among others, liability reasons. Here, the SEC charged a Canadian Bitcoin person for misrepresentation for using the names of people in a pitch deck without their knowledge or consent.

Mountain MD is a triple listed issuer and a mining company that pivoted to cannabis and pharma. On or around July 31 2020, it issued a press release referencing vaccines, Covid-19 and approvals from the US government. In August 2020, it issued another press release mentioning vaccines and Covid-19. There is no known cure for Covid-19 at this time.

Mountain MD shares an office in Vancouver with two other BC issuers: Pepcap Resources Inc.; and Cielo Waste Solutions Corp.

Mountain MD’s office mate, Pepcap Resources Inc. is interesting. It was cease traded recently, and the order was revoked. It has no functional website, although it allegedly owns a mine in Indonesia according to its Sedar filings. Its Vancouver office rings to an Australian telephone number (61-40-301-8601) for Tek Sian Kwan.

Mr. Kwan’s is the founder of One Tech Platforms LLC, a California corporation, according to its website, located at Suite 750, 1920 Main Street in Irvine. Except that a law firm occupies the whole of Suite 750, 1920 Main Street in Irvine, California, not a tech company.

According to its website, One Tech Platforms is a FinTech that allegedly owns the “sole patent” for QR codes for mobile payments (pause; reflect upon the likelihood of the accuracy of that representation). It is, it says, a payment processing company used by major banks and law enforcement.

It is allegedly the “only FinTech that provides US federal and state regulators full transparency” (pause; reflect upon the likelihood of the accuracy of that representation) in respect of financial transactions, as the alleged “gold standard in traceability,” able to create an unbreakable audit trail for the Banking Services Act (there is no Banking Services Act in the US; pause; reflect upon the likelihood of the accuracy of that representation). No FinCEN or California state registration appears to exist for One Tech Platforms.

Mr. Kwan’s third company recently appears to have filed for receivership in Australia. He has a fourth company in the Cayman Islands which is a Hong Kong issuer.

Gek Suan Margaret Wee, aka Wee Gek Susan Margaret, aka Margaret Wee, aka Margaret Ang, was a director of Pepcap Resources Inc. until a few months ago. She is the founder of JMC Technologies in Singapore, although her telephone number is actually in California ((213) 908-1418). Mr. Kwan says he works at JMC Technologies in Singapore as well, so they are non-arms length parties in some way in respect of PepCap Resources Inc.

The address of JMC Technologies is actually the address for International Health Management Pte. Ltd., Sin Coal Pte. Ltd., and several others, and appears to be an R&R office used for Offshore Leaks entities, and so it looks like there is no physical office of JMC Technologies in Singapore, just like there appears to be no physical office of One Tech Platforms in Irvine, California.

What they actually do between Vancouver, California, Hong Kong and the Cayman Islands and where they actually are, seems a bit of a mystery.

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Things you find on Wikileaks – from spies who use fentanyl to kill people, Russian agents who use fentanyl to extract intel; to Iranian money movers with Canadian ties

By Christine Duhaime | September 8th, 2020

Wikileaks, fentanyl, murder and spies

I went on Wikileaks this week to find what information, in any, was discussed in diplomatic channels during the early days of fentanyl trafficking. I didn’t quite find what I was expecting but I did find a series of emails from analysts at a US private intelligence firm discussing Israeli and Russian spies who use fentanyl to take out people or extract information from them.

A bit of background.

According to this article in Vanity Fair, in 1997, the Israeli prime minister approved a hit on a then-little-known Hamas operative named Khalid Mashaal, who was working in Amman. The hit involved Mossad agents with fake Canadian passports confronting Mashaal on the street, inserting fentanyl into his ear and waiting for him to die.

Attempted murder of Khalid Mashaal

It may have worked except that Mashaal had body guards. The agents succeeded in inserting fentanyl in Mashaal’s ear but the body guards caught the two fake Canadian spies and apprehended them. Mashaal was on death’s door when the King of Jordan intervened with Israel.

A deal was brokered for Jordan to release the two spies who attacked Mashaal and for Israel to disclose what poison had been inserted into Mashaal’s ear so that he could be saved and to release several Palestinian prisoners. Mashaal was saved with Narcan; the two spies returned to Israel; and several Palestinians were released from Israeli jails. Mashaal became legendary among Hamas as “the man who would not die,” eventually becoming the leader of Hamas from 2004 to 2017, and amassing a fortune of US$2 billion.

Khalid Mashaal commenting on the attempted hit on his life with fentanyl

Fast forward to 2010.

Murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh

According to some Wikileaks emails, at the end of January of 2010, analysts at a US private intelligence firm began emailing each other about a news report alleging that a commander of Hamas named Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, was poisoned with an unknown substance at a hotel in Dubai by Israeli spies.

al-Mabhouh followed to his room by two alleged assassins

al-Mabhouh was one of the founders of the al-Qassam brigades, the military wing of Hamas. He arranged arms supplies from Iran to Gaza. He lived in Damascus, where Mashaal lives. He was killed at the Al Bustan Rotana Hotel in Dubai, after having been followed from the airport by several Eastern European men. The Dubai Police said that lab tests confirmed that he was poisoned with something and possibly smothered as well.

The hotel floor during the murder of al-Mabhouh in CCTV footage

Fentanyl to extract intel

Some of the dialogue in the Wikileaks emails from the private intelligence firm in connection with the hit on al-Mabhouh in 2010, are eye-popping as to the use of fentanyl by spy agencies to take out people. I’ve summarized the more interesting excerpts below:

“With fentanyl, the point is that it should look like a natural death.”

“Ck [check] with GF; he knows infectious diseases.”

I think he may be the assassin.”

“Mossad likes a modified form of fentanyl to kill.”

“Putting fentanyl into the ear is what the Izzies did to Meshaal [Mashaal].”

“If you have a pure form of fentanyl, it would be easy to kill someone very quickly … If you’re actually intending to kill someone, doing it in the ear would be a good bet as long as you can keep the person from showering.”

Fentanyl has been used by the Soviets for years to get some information.”

Typically, it would cause the person to go to the doctor for a minor ailment. The doctor would prescribe fentanyl … the person would be messed up so much that they were grasping for something to orient to, so that if someone came and gave them a little sympathy, they would grasp onto that person who would then manipulate them into giving whatever information they wanted.”

(In reference to fentanyl being used by spies to kill people): “J&J is a strong buy. You lads should buy as many shares as you can.”

Dutch or Danish company, correct. Israelis and Russians especially were playing with this stuff.”

“No, it was made by Johnson & Johnson (love that company) … the Israelis stole the patent from some Eurotrash company.”

“I’ve been in touch with Mayo [Clinic] and Dr. Wilson who worked on the Mossad bunged poisoning of the Hamas terrorist Khalid Mishal [Mashaal]. Can’t go into how I know him … In the Khalid hit, the bungled op was gummed up.”

Perhaps the lads got it right this time? Nice field test for the next dude marked for death.”

That list is long.”

In conclusion as to the hit on al-Mabhouh, the US private intelligence firm alleges: “so, the Mossad did do it.”

Wikileaks, lawyers, Iran, China, oil and methanol

I had only used Wikileaks once before this week and that too was fruitful. It was to read up on a lawyer and a law firm in Malta that, in 2008, had made an in-person disclosure to Malta’s bank regulator and to the US Embassy about their client from Iran. The client was a politically exposed person (“PEP“) close to the Iranian leadership who ran its oil export operations, with indirect ties to Canada, named Reza Hamzehlou, aka Reza Hamzelou, aka ضا حمزه لو، مدیر.

Disclosures by lawyers

A disclosure is more of an American law firm process, not well-known in Canada and it involves making a disclosure to protect against client conduct and sometimes involves a public disassociation statement for the same reason. It stems from the common law that holds that if a lawyer or law firm was used or abused for actions that were in furtherance of unlawful conduct, there is no client-lawyer relationship that ever took root. Since no relationship ever took root, the lawyer has no duty of anything owed to the supposed client. If that supposed client then undertakes unlawful conduct that impacts the lawyer or law firm, a disclosure may be warranted.

Malta, a money laundering hub

Hamzehlou sets up shells

The Wikileaks cable in respect of Hamzehlou showed that his Malta lawyer and the Malta law firm went to the governments of Malta and the US and disclosed Hamzehlou, his business associates, the advice Hamzehlou had sought and all of the companies in which Hamzehlou was associated with that were relevant to the Iranian government’s oil movements and payments back into Iran through Hamzehlou’s many companies.

The law firm provided emails and other evidence to both governments. The lawyer and the law firm made the disclosures because they said that they did not want any issues with the US government. No doubt they were concerned with prosecution for facilitating sanctions avoidance. The Wikileaks cable is a rare window of visibility into the secret disclosure process of lawyers and law firm to foreign and national governments.

Methanol sales to China

Fast forward two years.

Hamzehlou was often in the news, promoting his sanctions avoidance success and one such touting of sanctions avoidance prowess was reproduced in a Wikileaks email, highlighting Hamzehlou saying that US sanctions have not only not impeded Iran’s oil exports but that Iran was increasing sales and shipments of methanol to China.

Fast forward ten years to today.

Iran has become almost a sole source supplier of methanol to China. Why was Hamzehlou selling methanol to China and in such high volumes? For vehicles. China blends methanol into gasoline and liquefied petroleum gases. Blending methanol into gasoline allows China to extend the gasoline supply.

Xi’an announces methanol taxis in China

Hamzehlou indicted in Iran

Clearly, the Malta law firm who made a disclosure was on to something.

Hamzehlou is on trial in Iran, indicted in connection with a massive financial crime fraud case. His co-indicted defendants are an Iranian-Canadian who obtained Canadian permanent residency and an Iranian whose children acquired permanent residency in Canada, from Iran.

Canadian ties to indictment

They are accused of perpetrating the biggest fraud in the history of Iran using state-sponsored sanctions avoidance methods in which billions of dollars funnelled through shell companies (e.g., the reason for the legal advice in Malta that Hamzehlou sought) wasn’t returned to the government; allegedly, large portions were siphoned off and parked in other countries. The Iranian government has accused Hamzehlou of pocketing €7 million cash and acquiring €8 million in property from funds that are proceeds of crime. The amount alleged to be missing from Iran, though, at the hands of Hamzehlou and his co-defendants, including the one Iranian-Canadian, is much larger – it is €6 billion.

Irancell used Hamzehlou to move money

Irancell, the Iranian state-owned telecommunications company that controls Internet and cell phone access (and now 5G) in Iran, which is 51% owned by the Iranian government (some Iranians say its an open secret that the 51% is owned by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard), used Hamzehlou’s company and his team to move money out of Iran, according to Mohammad Reza Mokhber Dezfuli, the former CEO of Irancell. If that team included the co-indicted Iranian-Canadian, its unclear what that means for Canada, especially considering the IRG allegedly majority owns Irancell.

Mohammad Reza Mokhber Dezfuli left Irancell and now operates the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council (the Iranian revolution organization) in Qom for the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. The connections to money movements and the Ayatollah seem awfully close to Canada.

The two other co-indicted persons in the financial crime case in Iran with Hamzehlou that are either Canadian permanent residents or have children that are, are known in Farsi as مرجان شیخ‌الاسلامی آل آقا and سید امین قرشی سروستانی.

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CFTC files fraud complaint against 5 Canadians, one American over binary financial trading scheme

By Christine Duhaime | September 3rd, 2020

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC“) has filed a complaint in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas, against five Canadians and one American, alleging that they operated a binary options financial scheme illegally, which was in effect a fraud.

The five, all from Ontario, are David Cartu, Jonathan Cartu, Joshua Cartu, Leeav Peretz and Nati Peretz. The American is Ryan Masten.

According to the CFTC’s complaint, the Cartu brothers operated a binary options trading service that was a massive fraud and in concert with the Peretz brothers, they offered binary options trading of commodities to Canadian and American investors through an online platform, one of which was called “Beeoptions.”

The CFTC alleges that the two groups of brothers made material misrepresentations to secure money from innocent investors, promising them quick returns of up to 85%, and operated through a number of offshore companies incorporated in, among other places, Belize, Seychelles and Ireland.

The CFTC alleges that the binary options sold by the defendants were managed like a casino where the investor always plays against the “house”, so to speak. The orders from investors to place a bet on a binary option were not actual transactions on their platform; rather, the CFTC says that mere book entries were made on the back end to give the illusion of trades through an account. The payments from investors were payments to the binary options enterprise and no money ever changed hands after the investor paid the Cartu brothers’ branded platforms to place a bet.

A binary option is a securities. This type of option, like the casino example that the CFTC used, is a gamble on the future price of a commodity, a stock or Bitcoin, for example, at a precise date and time. The gamble on the future price is a yes / no proposition which yields returns to the person if the price increases and nothing to the person if the price decreases and in the latter case, the person is out their money entirely.

In the case of Beeoptions, and similar platforms like it operated by the defendants, regulators allege that the house always won even when it didn’t. Here, David Cartu allegedly said in an Israeli Court proceeding that he did not own Beeoptions but also allegedly said that it had a payments processing relationship with the now defunct WireCard.

Beeoptions promo on YouTube which promises that when an option
expires “your account is immediately credited”

The Times of Israel reported that Joshua Cartu operated an online gambling website in Cyprus (possibly betsafe.com). He is Ferrari-endorsed.

In order to obfuscate the financial transactions and minimize being de-risked by banks, the CFTC alleges that the Cartu brothers set up a FinTech payment processor in Ireland called Greymountain Management Limited. It did not have a licence to operate as a payments processor. It processed US$165 million in transactions for the Cartus and other third-party providers. Among other terms, the Canadian brothers referred to their payment processor as “SnowPay.”

SnowPay’s users were primarily from the US and Canada (60%); 20% were from Africa; and 10% from the EU.

SnowPay made large payments to the brothers in offshore companies, according to the CFTC. Two Cartu brothers received US$9.2 million each in payments from SnowPay and the third received US$4.8 million.

The CFTC is seeking an order for disgorgement, restitution and monetary fines as against the 5 Canadians, and one American. The restitution amount sought may be at least US$165 million, equal to the amount of payments processed by SnowPay. It could be more because that is just the amount processed through their FinTech payments processor, Greymountain.

In terms of assets, Joshua Cartu was fairly transparent about his wealth acquisition. He has a private jet and several luxury vehicles, and likely an account at HitBTC. He lives in a luxury condo at Vörösmarty 1 Building, Vörösmarty Square in Budapest.

Vörösmarty 1 Building, Budapest

He may have ties to the online gambling website betsafe.com – it crosses over at the same events that Joshua Cartu was at for periods of time.

Betsafe is operational in Canada and accepts bets from Canadians, even though that is contrary to the Criminal Code and provincial gambling statutes. It processes payments, and has funds on deposit at Canada’s Interac and with Visa, MasterCard and PaySafe. No Canadian provincial gambling regulator has made a move to shut down betsafe from Canada so there are assets there if it is or was tied to the defendants during the relevant time described in the CRTC complaint.

Betsafe’s Canadian payment processors for online gambling
Joshua Cartu’s car

David Cartu is believed to be in Ontario. Jonathan Cartu is believed to be in Israel. Joshua Cartu is believed to be in Budapest. The Peretz brothers are believed to be in Israel. Masten is believed to be in Texas.

In May of this year, the Ontario Securities Commission commenced proceedings against the Cartu brothers (here).

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SEC asks California Court to impose US$1M fine against pump and dumper tied to old Vancouver Hell’s Angels house shoot-out case

By Christine Duhaime | August 27th, 2020

Shaughnessy mansion

A very long time ago, July 2007 to be exact, a Shaughnessy mansion located at 1178 Lau​rier Avenue in Vancouver, Canada, was shot up. No one was hurt.

People said the shooter was a member of the Hell’s Angels, angry over losses he incurred from a pump and dump stock scheme that dumped too early, before he could liquidate his shares.

Scott Marshall

The owner of the mansion, now worth $14 million, was Canadian Scott Mar​shall, who was alleged by both the RCMP and the SEC to be a pump and dumper of at least two micro cap companies. People say that after his mansion was shot at, Marshall fled to the US.

Typology of pump and dumps

Pump and dump activities are a different breed of financial crime. In terms of typologies, they more closely resemble acts of terrorism because they involve actors who engage in a variety of preparatory criminal conduct prior to the commission of the crime.  In terrorism, these acts could include crimes related to the creation of false identities for group members, thefts to procure funding for the group and thefts of weapons or explosive materials.  These behaviours may ultimately culminate in acts of terrorism.  

The preparatory behaviour of pump and dumps is sophisticated – it involves a lot of planning with co-conspirators and can often take a year or more and involve domain name registration, offshore shell company formation, the issuance of fake stock certificates, opening of offshore bank accounts, locating a lawyer to unwittingly write false legal opinions to release restricted shares, and the recruitment of touters and promoters. Like terrorism, it is the preparatory activities that can lead more quickly to the detection of the criminal activities, rather than the commission of the predicate culminating offence.

House of fraud

Sometimes a particular pump and dump does not involve a significant ramp up of preparatory activities. In those cases, it’s because the same facilitators are already in place. These guys build a house of fraud and simply run different companies through the front door and out the back.

Intertech Solutions, Inc.

According to the SEC, Scott Marshall undertook preparatory activities from his office in Vancouver, to line up a pump and dump scheme tied to an issuer named Intertech Solutions, Inc., which raised US$7 million from investors fraudulently.

One of the touters that Marshall hired to solicit investments from the public was a man by the name of Clinton Maurice Tucker II.

Clinton Tucker II

Tucker II is reclusive. Since the shoot-out in 2007, he has gone a little off the grid. But not entirely.

From December 2014 through at least May 2019, the SEC says he became re-activated and began to assist in the fraudulent pumping and dumping of the stock of different companies using the same techniques, mostly from the area around Trabuco Canyon, California. Some of the investors Tucker II pumped stocks to, were from Canada. The SEC says he pumped stocks for Scott Marshall.

In May of this year, the SEC filed a complaint against Tucker II, charging him with various serious violations of US securities laws. Tucker II stayed hidden and did not participate in the SEC action. Today, the SEC obtained a default judgment against him and asked the Court to impose sanctions that could exceed US$1 million.

The SEC had pursued Scott Marshall as well, together with another Vancouver man, a CPA named David Michael Naylor, in connection with Intertech Solutions Inc. They settled with the SEC and agreed to pay US$7.4 million.

During the course of those years, a number of reporters covered stories of the alleged infiltration of the Hell’s Angels in the capital markets of Vancouver. For example, here and here.

The RCMP, together with the British Columbia Securities Commission, took action against Scott Marshall in respect of pump and dump activities but some of those efforts did not succeed in a British Columbia Court.

A snake pit

Back then, a reporter wrote that peo​ple should worry about the number of Van​cou​ver com​pa​nies trading on the OTC market because it was a “snake pit” and those people with companies on the OTC make “lousy neigh​bours, some representing a clear and present dan​ger”, to which he meant the danger of living beside Scott Marshall.

According to the SEC, Marshall and Naylor both have homes in Los Cabos, Mexico, a seaside city favoured by Vancouver and Mexican transnational criminal organizations.

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Canadian pump & dumper whose tip exposed the US college admissions test scandal, given longer sentence by judge than recommended

By Christine Duhaime | August 13th, 2020

Morrie Tobin, the Canadian financier who tipped authorities off about the college admissions scandal, was sentenced today to a year and a day in prison after pleading guilty to securities fraud for pumping and dumping stocks.

Despite his crucial tip and his cooperation in the investigation that led to the college admissions prosecutions, the judge in Tobin’s case today rejected the recommendation by the US government for no jail time, saying that he could not allow a felon who admitted trying to fleece investors of US$15 million to avoid prison. 

EPTI touters touted that your billions in EPTI will become allegedly even BIGGER!

Tobin is a wealthy financier – although Canadian, he lives in Los Angeles. In 2017, he participated in a scheme with others to falsely promote a microcap company whose shares he secretly controlled in a shell company. He participated in causing the shares to be artificially pumped, with others, to increase the share price and then when the share price was high, he dumped his shares.

Pump and dumpers benefit from the increase in the price of shares of a public company at the expense of innocent investors. In the case of Tobin, the company he pumped was called Environmental Packaging Technologies Inc. and he pumped it by representing, among other things, that the share price was going to go up by 1,118%, it had a patent pending that could forever change the packaging industry; and that as a result of President Trump, an investor in EPTI would gain whopping profits – for example, every US$2,000 invested would become US$22,360.

According to the Sentencing Memorandum filed by the lawyer for Tobin, two lawyers were part of the pump and dump scheme. At least one of the lawyers was charged.

The Tobin case is also very important – it crossed-over with Roger Knox, who is part of another SEC case with ties to Vancouver.

Tobin’s conviction means he will likely be deported to Canada at the conclusion of his federal incarceration in 2021.

Tobin was personally part of the college admissions scandal as well – he was in the process of bribing an athletic coach at Yale University an amount of US$450,000 for one of his children to be admitted to Yale who didn’t qualify, when he gave the tip to authorities.  

The tip led to the discovery of Rick Singer, who brokered deals for wealthy teenagers to attend Ivy League schools who could not enter under their own steam. Singer pled guilty. Over thirty people were charged in the US college admissions scandal, including Vancouver’s David Sidoo.

But for the tip about Tobin, the college admissions scandal, and the Roger Knox file, all tied to Canada, may not have been discovered.

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Two Canadian money launderers living in paradise tried to “stay good” but couldn’t because they were addicted to cash

By Christine Duhaime | August 7th, 2020
Listen to this story

The US Attorney in Florida today announced that a Canadian, Brooks Thomas Nesbitt, was sentenced to 10 years in jail after pleading guilty to wire fraud in connection with a money laundering securities fraud scheme.

Nesbitt, originally from Thornhill, Ontario, ran several boiler room operations with another Canadian, Mary Kathryn Marr, which took in over US$14 million from the public in fake sales of shares of public companies.

According to affidavit evidence filed by US law enforcement in connection with the case, Marr and Nesbitt defrauded several people around the world, laundering the proceeds of crime mostly through TD Bank and into end point banks in Thailand, Spain and the US using shell companies and nominee shareholders.

Nesbitt operated from Thailand, from where he was extradited. Marr was extradited from Serbia.

In a series of WhatsApp chats obtained by HSI, it seems like the pair hesitated before commencing their fraudulent activities but were addicted to cash:

Marr: “I’m trying to stay good.”
Nesbitt: “Me too … but cash is my crack.”
Marr: “Me too … I never have enough.”
Nesbitt: “We gotta make shitloads this year … I borrowed lots of cash … just booked a 3 bedroom suite in the Trump.”

Nesbitt had a place in Marbella, Spain, as well as in Hua Hin, Thailand.

Marbella, Spain
Hua Hin, Thailand

Marr allegedly mastered the art of using buffer bank accounts to obfuscate the origin of proceeds of crime. A buffer bank account is an intermediary account – a bank account used in second place before an exit wire, meaning its the second bank account used before proceeds of crime are wired to bank accounts held in the name of entities registered in offshore AML lax islands or countries.

Some of the fake shares of public companies that Marr and Nesbitt sold using boiler rooms include Nexflix, Box and Twitter. People who wired money to buy shares never received the shares and never received their funds back.

After one person had sent US$392,285 to TD Bank for fake Twitter shares, Marr bragged that she was going to “light him up for a M” meaning they were going to take him for US$1 million.

The boiler rooms allegedly used a number of well-known fraudulent obstacle techniques to avoid repaying funds owed – for example, demanding that people pay taxes upfront or pay bank fees upfront to get their money back. Typically, these secondary little cons keep going until the person has no more money left and then the boiler room sales team ceases to respond to them altogether.

Marr is in jail in Florida, awaiting trial. In addition to his sentence, Nesbitt was ordered to pay US$14 million in restitution.

The most well-known boiler room formula used for selling securities was the so-called Wolf of Wall Street.

Excerpt from Wolf of Wall Street film (Source: YouTube)
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Jack, Butchart Gardens and the Sinking of the S.S. Algoma

By Christine Duhaime | August 4th, 2020

Jack

It was November 7, 1885.

John Worth Mitchell — Jack to his friends — was 8-years-old and living in Port Elgin, Ontario, when he heard from his parents that the unsinkable S.S. Algoma had shipwrecked and sank crossing Lake Superior.

Headline, Port Arthur Herald, November 11, 1885

At least 48 passengers and crew had been washed away at sea and were presumed dead.

The ship’s voyage had started in Owen Sound, Ontario and many who lost their lives were from towns along Lake Huron.

Jack’s parents recognized two names among those who perished at sea — Edward Frost and Mary Jane Butchart.

Port Elgin, Ontario, 1880s

Frost, Williams, Butchart

The Frost family was well known all around Ontario’s Bruce and Grey counties. Edward Frost was the son of John Frost and Mary Williams.

The Frosts were a prominent family in Owen Sound who owned a number of businesses. The Frosts were better known, though, as vocal abolitionists who operated the end point of the Underground Railroad in Owen Sound, sheltering former enslaved African Americans on the outskirts of town.

Edward’s Welsh mother, Mary Williams, left what must have been a life of luxury as the granddaughter of an Earl, and with her parents and three siblings, emigrated to Canada in 1817 and was one of the first European settlers in Bytown (now Ottawa). She married John Frost, from another Ottawa European settler family and in 1844, they moved to Owen Sound.

Mary Jane Butchart was the daughter of George McLauchlan Butchart, who had a business presence in Port Elgin and Owen Sound.

Edward and Mary were married in 1884 and had boarded the S.S. Algoma with their infant, Baby Butchart-Frost.

Jack didn’t know it then but he was fated to cross-over with both the Frost and Butchart families in the years to come.

His family and the Frost family would cross-over in marriage, and that cross-over would play an important role in the election of Margaret Thatcher, once the most powerful woman in the world; and he didn’t and couldn’t know either that he would eventually co-found and finance a portland cement company that became Butchart Gardens in Victoria, Canada.

Back then, he only knew that the child of two prominent families from the area had drowned in the worse shipwreck on Lake Superior, and so had its parents. He and many others along the Great Lakes wondered how the unsinkable ship had sank.

The unsinkable S.S. Algoma

The S.S. Algoma was built in 1883 by the Canadian Pacific Railway (“CPR”). It was a luxury 263 foot steam ship that took passengers through Lakes Huron and Superior from Owen Sound to Port Arthur to connect with the railway to Toronto.

Owen Sound to Isle Royal (Source: Google Maps)

The Great Lakes had thousands of shipwrecks, especially in Lake Superior.

A storm on Lake Superior, 2017 (Source: YouTube starting at 10:16)

Knowing that, the S.S. Algoma had been built to be safe and “unsinkable” with many novel features for the era, including the first electric lighting on a vessel to eliminate fire hazards from oil lamps, the first steel hull in a Great Lakes vessel, and watertight compartments so that in the event of a collision, passengers would be safe from incoming water.

S.S. Algoma at Owen Sound, 1885 (Source: Maritime History of the Great Lakes)

The S.S. Algoma was built in separable halves in Scotland so that it could travel across the Atlantic ocean to Canada in one piece under its own power. In Canada, it was then separated into two pieces and towed through the canals. It was then reassembled and the passenger compartments were built, before it continued its journey to Owen Sound, where it was put into service in May, 1884.

November 5th

On its fateful last trip, the S.S. Algoma left Owen Sound on November 5, 1885.

The highlight of the trip for passengers was passing through the locks at Sault Ste. Marie. Lake Superior is 21 feet higher than Lake Huron, and the Soo Locks elevate upbound vessels from Lake Huron to the height of Lake Superior so they can continue traveling the Great Lakes.

Weitzel Lock, Sault Ste Marie, 1885

The next day, Nov. 6, 1885, the S.S. Algoma passed through the Weitzel Lock on time at 1 p.m. and then entered Lake Superior for the last leg of its journey.

The Frosts had their dinner and retired for the night.

November 7th

Halfway through Lake Superior, the ship ran into a blinding snow storm. The waves and the wind pumelled the ship for several hours as it made its way across the lake to Port Arthur. Soon, gale force winds and driving snow made it impossible to see much further than a few feet in the dark night.

By 4:30 a.m., the snow storm had turned violent.

Suddenly, passengers were thrown from their beds, woken by the searing sounds of the ship’s steel hull grinding over unyielding rock.

S.S. Algoma struck a reef

The S.S. Algoma had struck a reef off Isle Royale and started breaking up. Its rudder was broken.

The ship’s chief officer, Joseph Hastings, was stunned to see waves pouring in through the broken hull and washing away furnishings and parts of the forward ship.

He could hear the screams of women and children above the fury of the wind and the crashing waves.

Two sisters swept away

He started to make his way to the upper deck. Along the way, he found two young sisters sobbing in the ship’s saloon. They were wearing only nightdresses. The ship was swaying from side to side. He grabbed their hands and walked them forward, trying to steady them, battling the gale force winds, looking for shelter.

Just then, a wave smashed over one side and swept the sisters from his grasp and out to sea. He heard them scream until they were engulfed by the waves.

Hastings managed to make his way to the deck.

Passengers prayed for salvation

He saw passengers get down on their knees, and start loudly praying to God for their salvation.

The sea spared none of them — wave after wave washed them each away.

The ship’s purser, Alexander Mackenzie, was in the ship’s forward with the second officer and steward. They made an attempt to reach the other part of the ship to safety. The forward part of the ship broke off. Mackenzie was struck by a large wave and carried overboard. The forward portion of the ship disappeared into the icy waters.

Hastings and eleven other members of the crew gathered in the remaining part of the S.S. Algoma left afloat, wondering if the ship would hold; if they would be spared.

They were.

The next day, they made a makeshift raft and made their way to shore. They were rescued on Isle Royale.

Worst shipwreck on Lake Superior

In all, it is believed that 48 passengers and a handful of crew drowned at sea. It was the worst shipwreck in terms of loss of life on Lake Superior. The only passenger list was lost during the shipwreck. There was no way to confirm how many passengers were on board, leading to suggestions at the time that a hundred perished.

S.S. Algoma wreck, November 9, 1885

Parts of the S.S. Algoma sank that night and other parts were widely scattered along the lake and shoreline.

American fishermen recovered four bodies on the shore of Rock Harbour and reported that over 300 tons of freight, furniture, luggage, equipment, mail, a piano and barrels of brandy and beer were strewn about the rocky shore.

Recovery of the S.S. Algoma, November 1885 (Source: City of Thunder Bay Archives)

The body of Edward Frost was recovered among the rocks of Isle Royale. The bodies of Mary Jane Butchart and Baby Butchart-Frost were never recovered.

Prime Minister’s nephew

The purser who had perished when the ship’s forward washed away, Alexander Mackenzie, was the nephew of Canada’s 2nd Prime Minister (from 1873 to 1878), also named Alexander Mackenzie. Mackenzie demanded an inquiry immediately into the sinking of the unsinkable ship and got one. It was convened in Toronto. The great distance from Owen Sound to Toronto meant that none of the affected families could participate, give evidence or hear the testimony.

Prime Minister Alexander Mackenzie (Source: McCord Museum)

The inquiry heard that the S.S. Algoma had diverted miles off course during the storm and smashed into the reefs off Isle Royale at a speed of 16 miles per hour. On impact, it started to break apart at its centre seam — precisely into the two pieces that had been bulkheaded through the canal system to Owen Sound. The captain failed to assign a look out, even after visibility decreased. The inquiry held the captain negligent for having caused the loss of the S.S. Algoma and of 48 lives. His licence was suspended.

In 1885, CPR paid out $40,000 for claims of loss of cargo but the records indicate that it did not pay the families anything for the wrongful deaths.

Shipwreck now a diving sanctuary

Today, the wreck of the S.S. Algoma is a scuba diving site off the coast of Michigan, administered by the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Among the wreckage, divers have found artifacts, dishes and the personal property of passengers, as well as some human remains of those who perished.

Scuba diver at S.S. Algoma shipwreck site (Source: Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary)
Porcelain from the S.S. Algoma shipwreck site (Source: Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary)

Fate

The tragedy of the S.S. Algoma impacted the lives of many in the Port Elgin and Owen Sound area.

James Tucker, 1900

One of them was James Alexander Tucker, an Owen Sound native who moved to Toronto to study at the University of Toronto. In Toronto, his inner circle included another (future) Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King. Tucker went on to become a writer, poet and magazine editor.

He wrote a poem about the shipwreck of the S.S. Algoma called “Fate.” It was published posthumously in 1903, by his best friend and then Saturday Night Magazine editor, Reuben Butchart.

In “Fate”, Turner wrote:

“The white-fanged waves went snarling by,
When night had blown down from the northern sky,
On a hidden rock from the harbour far,
The ship plunged hard, and her tallest spar,
Sank where the bones of dead men lie, 
When the sun rose… the ship and the men lay sunken there”

Leading up to the turn of the century, Owen Sound Collegiate, a private high school in Owen Sound, had an unparalleled record for leadership and academic excellence among its students — students who crossed paths with each other later in Toronto.

Tucker was a turn of the century alumni of Owen Sound Collegiate. And so were Dr. Norman Bethune and Billy Bishop.

And so, too, was Jack.



This story is part of a series “In Search of Jack”, which explores the life and impact of prominent Canadian financier and banker, John Worth Mitchell, an original shareholder of The Dominion Securities Corporation Limited in 1906, who financed and fund-managed many of Canada’s critical infrastructure projects and led the Toronto Victory Loan drives for the federal government from 1917–1919 and 1941-1942, raising the bulk of the funds that financed Canada’s involvement in WWI and WWII. He co-founded the Investment Dealers Association of Canada and was an early investor and supporter of many companies including a then-controversial startup founded by an American woman. Its name? Tampax.

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SEC announces US$45M settlement with large British Columbia pubco, CPA, CEO and CFO for securities violations

By Christine Duhaime | July 31st, 2020

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC“) today announced that it reached a settlement with a British Columbia company and some former key executives, in respect of charges of improper revenue recognition and the issuance of misleading public securities law disclosures in its securities filings as well as earnings presentations.

The issuer, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc., now known as Bausch Health Companies Inc. (“Bausch“), and a former CPA at the company and its former CEO and CFO all agreed to pay penalties to the SEC as part of a settlement agreement for US$45 million.

Bausch is a large multinational company, now headquartered in the province of Quebec, known by consumers for its contact lenses (Bausch & Lomb). It called the SEC investigation a “legacy” one, meaning it happened on someone else’s watch.

The former CPA, CEO and CFO are respectively, Tanya Carro, J. Michael Pearson and Howard Schiller. The SEC said that corporate executives must be accountable to investors for accurate and complete disclosure.

Perhaps the most surprising news of all is that Bausch, a multi-billion dollar company, is actually a British Columbia corporate entity. And one of the largest pharmaceutical corporations in the world.

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Two foreign men from a digital currency exchange murdered in Mexico

By Christine Duhaime | July 16th, 2020
Mazatlan, Sinaloa, June 2020.

Two more men involved in a digital currency exchange and a digital currency, were murdered in Mexico. Their bodies were recently found stuffed in suitcases in Sinaloa cartel land, according to this newspaper article.

The two, Oscar Brito from Chile and Ignacio Ibarra from Argentina, were involved in selling and promoting the digital currency called OneCoin and its alleged digital currency exchange called DealShaker.

Brito promoting the fake OneCoin exchange on Facebook, 2019.

Their bodies were found with thirty garbage bags in the area of El Venadillo in Mazatlan. They had been kidnapped two days before they were killed.

Those involved in OneCoin owe investors from around the world approximately $4 billion. Brito and Ibarra were in Mexico selling and promoting OneCoin, even though it has long been discredited. They are alleged to owe over 140 people money from OneCoin and affiliated MLM-type fraudulent schemes.

In Sinaloa, they would not have been murdered unless the cartel ordered or performed the hit.

Almost two years ago, Giuseppe Bugge, a man from Vancouver who police said had ties to the Hells Angels, was gunned down in Mexico in CJNG cartel territory. He too was in the digital currency exchange business. You can read about his murder and the CJNG cartel here.

A recent report from US federal law enforcement highlighted the large extent to which the Mexican cartels use Bitcoin exchanges to move proceeds of crime seamlessly and anonymously across borders, without impediment. In 2017, the DEA had flagged the growing problem, as well as the lack of visibility over transactions at digital currency exchanges which facilitate criminal activities, some of which tumble transactions in Canada as a business service built into the exchange.

A number of digital currency exchange owners and ICO creators have been killed in the past few years (you can read about those murders here) for various reasons – either because they owed money and the debt is collected in blood, a robbery went bad, or they became entangled with transnational criminal organizations.

Pavel Nyashin, beat up and later murdered, 2018.

OneCoin is a scam in the sense that it was sold as a digital currency on a Blockchain (it was not a digital currency on a Blockchain), and was represented to have an exchange (DealShaker) with liquidity to trade OneCoin for goods, services and money, which was fake. It was sold using MLM techniques.

Ignatov and Ignatova from OneCoin

One of its co-founders has disappeared and two others are in jail in the US. The express OneCoin exit strategy was as old as the hills – to take the money from investors and run, and blame other people for it as a diversion.

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“You’re killing an innocent man” said Daniel Lewis Lee.

By Christine Duhaime | July 14th, 2020

“You’re killing an innocent man.” Those were the last words spoken by Daniel Lewis Lee on July 14, 2020, before he was executed to death in the Terre Haute, Indiana prison. He was pronounced dead at 8:07 a.m.

The execution was the first US federal execution since 2003. The decision to execute Lee was twice appealed to the US Supreme Court — the last appeal heard at 2 a.m. on July 14, 2020. In a 5–4 ruling, the Court ruled that the execution could move forward. The victim’s family opposed it.

Lee was strapped to a gurney for four hours in the death chamber while the wheels of justice turned.

Chevie Kehoe

The story of Daniel Lewis Lee (“Lee”) begins with a person named Chevie O’Brian Kehoe (“Chevie“).

Chevie Kehoe, 1997.

Chevie was the oldest of eight boys of Kirby Keith and Gloria Kehoe. One reporter did a deep dive into the case of Chevie and Lee, and interviewed acquaintances of the Kehoe family and some of Chevie’s teachers and employers for a radio documentary.

The reporter learned that, by all accounts, Chevie was a polite, personable, hard working and competent young person. He was an honor student in the gifted program at junior high. He wanted to be a pilot. That is, until Gloria Kehoe removed him from school at 14. His parents believed schools were a threat.

Kehoe parents

Kirby and Gloria Kehoe, unknown date.

The parents, Kirby and Gloria Kehoe, were anti-government in the extreme – they forbid Chevie from applying for a social security number or a driver’s license so that he would be kept off the grid.

In 1985, the Kehoes moved into a rustic cabin in Deep Lake, near Colville, Washington. They had no electricity or running water, or access to knowledge and information.

In the documentary, people in Colville described Kirby Kehoe as an arrogant, controlling schemer who attempted to convert people in town to a white supremacist view and handed out racist material.

Father Kehoe ordered one child to kill the other

A flavor of their parenting can perhaps best be inferred from a family incident in which Kirby Kehoe once ordered Chevie to kill one of the younger Kehoe children. Chevie refused, sending Kirby Kehoe into a rage. No Kehoe reported their parents to the police over this incident.

Chevie did consider turning his parents in to the police.

In 1989, when he was 16, he left his parent’s cabin and set out on his own. He defied them and went on the grid. He registered for a social security number. He took on odd jobs, including at McDonalds. He paid taxes. During that time, he sought the help of a former school teacher to report his parents to law enforcement. He thought his younger brothers ought to be removed from his parents. Ultimately, he lost the courage to turn them in.

White supremacists

Over time, Chevie adopted the white supremacist views of his parents and began to advance the idea of white separatism. He formed an informal association of like-minded persons who advocated for violence and intolerance to achieve their goals.

In 1994, the Kehoe family moved to the wilderness of the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas.

Mueller family

In the Ozarks, the Kehoe family became friends with William and Nancy Mueller who lived in the area. Like Kirby Kehoe, William Mueller was a vet and an amateur gun dealer with strong anti-government views.

On or around February 12, 1995, while Chevie was visiting his family in the Ozarks, he and Kirby Kehoe went to the Mueller house.

There are different accounts of what happened next.

Guns disappear from the Muellers

Gloria Kehoe says she was told that Chevie and her husband robbed the Mueller house while they were at a gun show, stealing approximately $50,000 in coins and guns, which Chevie took to Washington.

Chevie says that Kirby Kehoe and William Mueller were involved in an insurance scam together that went badly, and they concocted a scheme whereby Kirby Kehoe would take guns and other items from the Mueller home and Mueller would report it as a fake robbery to collect insurance.

The police later asked Gloria Kehoe whether the Mueller robbery was “staged.”

“It crossed my mind,” she said.

Apparently, there was an insurance claim by Mueller which the insurer refused to pay.

After the break-in or insurance scam, Gloria and Kirby Kehoe traveled back and forth by car between Arkansas and Washington.

They sold property in Arkansas and registered the sale under a fake social security number to avoid the payment of taxes and remain off the grid.

Daniel Lewis Lee

Enter Daniel Lewis Lee.

He met Chevie in 1995 in Washington. There is little information about Lee. We know from the trial that, at 17, he pled guilty to taking property from a teenager who later was murdered by someone else. Lee shared in the Kehoe family vision of white separatism and supremacy.

Daniel Lewis Lee, 1997.

In January 1996, Lee asked Chevie to drive him to Oklahoma so that he could visit his mother who was in hospital recovering from surgery.

The Mueller murders

Here too, there are different accounts of what happened next.

According to Gloria Kehoe and her second oldest son, Cheyne Kehoe, at the end of that trip, on January 11, 1996, Chevie and Lee detoured to the house rented by the Muellers. The Muellers were not home so they broke in but couldn’t find anything of value so they waited for the Muellers to return.

The Mueller family, unknown date.

When the Muellers returned home, Lee and Chevie emerged from hiding. They were dressed in police gear. Lee was wearing an FBI cap. They overpowered the family, handcuffed them and demanded that William Mueller hand over his valuables.

After finding cash, guns and ammunition, they placed plastic bags over their heads. They used duct tape to hold the bags in place until they suffocated to death.

Lee refused to kill eight year old Sarah Powell, so Chevie killed her by himself.

The vehicle used for the murders was a 1985 GMC truck owned, at that time, by Kirby Kehoe.

After killing the Muellers, they took their bodies in the 1985 GMC truck to Pope County and threw them, weighted down with rocks, into the Illinois Bayou.

Lee and Chevie drove back to Washington with the proceeds of crime.

Gloria Kehoe told the police that Lee and Chevie confessed the murders to her a month after they had occurred and gave her details of how the murders were carried out.

She would wait two years before telling the police about the murders.

Chevie says that they never went to the Mueller home and that his parents, who had a relationship with the Muellers, were responsible for their murders.

Back in the Ozark Mountains, no one knew what had happed to the Muellers but foul play was not suspected at first.

Seattle gun sales

The Kehoe family began selling guns taken from the Muellers. One of the guns registered to Nancy Mueller was sold by Kirby Kehoe in Seattle, triggering an investigation into him. A second gun belonging to William Mueller was found in the possession of a Seattle man who said that he bought it from Chevie.

Bodies discovered

Then, on June 28, 1996, a woman fishing near a bridge that crosses the Illinois Bayou snagged her fishing line on two tennis shoes tied together. She yanked and reeled in her line and saw there was a leg bone attached. She went to the police. The police drag-netted the water and recovered parts of the bodies of the Muellers.

When two guns belonging to the Muellers sold by the Kehoes surfaced in Washington state, and bodies surfaced in the Ozarks, the Kehoe family, except Chevie, moved to Yaak, Montana.

Police shoot out in Ohio

Several months later, on February 15, 1997, Chevie and Cheyne Kehoe were driving to a campground in Ohio. Chevie was driving his car – an older blue Chevrolet Suburban. They were stopped by state troopers in Wilmington, Ohio. The truck had an expired license plate.

Chevie exited the truck and while he was talking to the troopers, Cheyne Kehoe jumped out of the passenger side of the truck with a loaded gun and started shooting at the troopers. Fortunately, they were not injured. Cheyne Kehoe then fled on foot and Chevie drove off in the truck.

Hours later, Chevie shot at two Wilmington police officers who pulled up behind the truck in a parking lot, and then fled on foot. A passenger was injured in the shoot out.

The dramatic shoot out was aired on several news stations across America. The police seized the Chevrolet Suburban.

Chevie exits left; then Cheyne Kehoe exits right with loaded gun and shoots at police, February 1997.

The FBI cap

In the Chevrolet Suburban, the police found law enforcement gear, guns, ammunition, handcuffs, duct tape and FBI caps.

Following the police shoot out, Chevie and Cheyne Kehoe became wanted fugitives. Their parents helped them flee.

Kirby Kehoe suggested Chevie pay him money for his truck – the 1985 GMC – to flee, which he did, and he then transferred the vehicle registration to his name. That was the truck used for the Mueller murders.

Ranching in Utah

Chevie and Cheyne Kehoe ended up in Beryl, Utah, where Chevie got a job managing a ranch. While in Utah, Cheyne Kehoe alleged that he became nervous when Chevie discussed murdering their parents.

Cheyne Kehoe stole Chevie’s GMC truck and left Utah. He drove to his parents’ place in Yaak, Montana.

A King Lear family

Chevie says that Cheyne Kehoe went to obtain instructions from the parents and that it was decided by them, in essence, that Chevie and Lee should take the fall for the Mueller murders, which would allow Gloria Kehoe and Cheyne Kehoe’s family to collect an award of approximately $50,000 each for turning them in.

Cheyne Kehoe lied to the police and at first, said that he had not gone to Yaak, Montana, to talk with Kirby and Gloria Kehoe before turning himself in and handing over Chevie. But he had.

End of the road

Cheyne Kehoe’s arrest, June 1997.

On June 16, 1997, Cheyne Kehoe turned himself in to authorities and told them that, in February 1997, Chevie had confessed to him that he and Lee murdered the Muellers. He provided them with the GMC truck he had stolen from Chevie and then driven to his parents place. He told law enforcement that they would be able to find evidence therein which would tie Chevie to the Mueller murders. The evidence? Duct tape which “had some paint on it,” he said, that would match. The jury must have wondered how Cheyne Kehoe could possibly know that duct tape on the three dead bodies recovered from the Illinois Bayou contained chips of paint.

The next day, the police arrested Chevie.

In September 1997, Lee was arrested in Oklahoma.

In March 1998, Chevie’s mother turned in her son. She went to the police and told them that two years earlier, Chevie and Lee had confessed committing the murders to her.

Gloria Kehoe led police to a storage locker rented by Kirby Kehoe that contained items stolen from the Mueller house. Kirby Kehoe also had 30,000 rounds of ammunition, an AK-47, assault weapons, grenades and large quantities of guns in his storage locker.

She led police to a second storage locker that she said was rented by Chevie which had items similar to those in the Mueller home. Forensic scientists found the fingerprints of Lee and Chevie on some items in Chevie’s storage locker. The fingerprints could have arisen from Lee and Chevie moving items into the storage locker for or from, any of Gloria, Kirby or Cheyne Kehoe.

Gloria Kehoe told the police that Kirby Kehoe was going to kill her because she knew too much. The jury must have wondered about this too – she had stated that her son, and not her husband, was a killer, so why would she be afraid that her non-killer husband may kill her and what did she know that was “too much?”

The indictments

On December 12, 1997, Chevie and Lee were indicted (with others) with several significant offences, superseded in July 1998, with charges that included racketeering and murder. The indictment alleged, among other things, that Chevie launched an enterprise designed to start a revolution in the US to create a new supremacist nation financed with the proceeds of crime derived from robberies, kidnapping and the murder of the Muellers.

Both Lee and Chevie denied involvement in the Mueller murders.

Lee and Chevie during their trial, 1999.

A strand of hair

The case in respect of the murders was mostly circumstantial, based on the testimony of Gloria Kehoe and Cheyne Kehoe.

But there were also two pieces of forensic evidence linked to the Mueller murders.

Experts testified that: there were paint samples taken from the GMC truck (owned by Kirby Kehoe at the time of the murders and later stolen by Cheyne Kehoe and driven to Kehoe parents where it was seized) that were consistent with paint chips found in duct tape removed from the Mueller bodies (linking the GMC truck to the murders); and that one of the FBI caps located in Chevie’s Chevrolet Suburban was used in the Mueller murders and contained a hair that an expert testified was similar to Lee’s (linking Lee to the murders).

The hair strand in the FBI cap was the only physical or direct evidence tying Lee to the Mueller murders.

No DNA testing was done on that strand of hair.

The jury was told at closing that it was Lee’s hair in the FBI cap.

Only it was not.

In 2007, long after the trial was over, the hair was DNA tested and was excluded from being Lee’s hair.

On May 4, 1999, a jury found Lee and Chevie guilty of numerous offenses. Lee was found guilty of three counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering.

Lee was sentenced to death.

Chevie was not.

An appeal Court later called the disparity between the two sentenced given to Chevie and Lee “troubling” and “unfair.”

Both appealed their sentences numerous times, all unsuccessfully.

Strand of hair DNA tested

Lee, in particular, as part of a broader set of appeals, appealed with the new evidence that proved from a DNA test that the strand of hair in the FBI cap worn by one of the men who committed the Mueller murders, was not his.

The argument, in effect, was that since it was proven that that particular FBI cap was worn to commit the Mueller murders and the strand of hair was not Lee’s or Chevie’s as the jury was told, there must have either been a third man in the Mueller home who participated in the murders, or there were two men, and Lee was not one of them. Either way, it was presumably argued, based on the DNA evidence, there was no longer physical evidence that tied Lee to the FBI cap, and therefore to the murders.

In 2008, the Court rejected the new evidence from the DNA test as a ground of appeal to vacate his sentence, finding that he was not prejudiced by forensic testimony that the hair in the FBI cap used in the Mueller murders was similar to his or by statements at trial that the hair was his.

Execution of Lee appealed

The execution of Lee was contested by some.

Members of the family of the victims did not support Lee’s execution. Neither did a prosecutor who prosecuted the case against Lee. The presiding judge over the case, now deceased, said that justice was not served in respect of Lee’s sentence. They do not doubt his guilt — their objections were over the inequitable result of Lee’s sentence compared to Chevie’s.

Lee and the victim’s family both filed last minute appeals to the US Supreme Court to stop the execution, which were unsuccessful. The US Supreme Court order to deny the stay of execution of Lee is here. Its written opinion is here.

The dissent is longer than the majority opinion.

Justice Breyer with whom Justice Ginsburg joined in dissent wrote: “Given the finality and seriousness of a death sentence, it is particularly important to ensure that the individuals sentenced to death are guilty, that they received full and fair procedures, and that they do not spend excessively long periods of time on death row. Courts must also ensure that executions take place through means that are not inhumane,” noting that Chevie was not sentenced to death.

Justice Sotomayor also dissented, joined by Justice Ginsburg and Justice Kagan, arguing that the resumption of federal executions was being carried out before any Court could consider whether the new drug protocol was unconstitutionally cruel and unusual.

The majority held, among other things, that any further appeal by Lee was unlikely to succeed on its merits and that questions in respect of carrying out capital punishment are not matters for the Courts to decide — rather, they are questions for the people to decide (e.g., the Scalia view that the tree of law does not grow).

Justice Ginsburg was ill but stayed up until 2 a.m., fighting an infection, to deliberate on the Lee appeals. She was admitted to John Hopkins Hospital a few hours later.

Where are they now?

Chevie is in prison in the Florence, Colorado federal correctional complex serving a life sentence. The Green River Killer is at the same prison.

Gloria Kehoe disappeared after the case and is believed to have returned to Yaak, Montana, where she raised the remaining six Kehoe boys.

Kirby Kehoe and Cheyne Kehoe were both sentenced to terms of incarceration for various convictions related to their activities in the mid-1990s. Both were released and then predictably resumed their lives of serious criminality and illegal weapons collecting together.

Kirby Kehoe is currently incarcerated in California.

Cheyne Kehoe is at an unknown location, possibly released, although an Arizona Court held, as late as August 2019, that he posed a danger to the safety of the community.

In 2013, those two and several other Kehoe sons were living off the grid on 40 acres of land in Ash Fork, Arizona, where over a dozen illegal guns and 15,000 rounds of ammunition were located and confiscated.

40 acres off the grid in Arizona where some Kehoes lived, 2013.

These Arizona Kehoes were engaged in the production and commercialization of illegal drugs.

At that time, a Kehoe son told law enforcement that his father, Kirby Kehoe, was unstable, had extreme anti-government views and would act on those views. 

Lee was executed on July 14, 2020. While serving his sentence in prison, he renounced his previous white supremacist views. Did he commit the murders he was convicted of? A jury thought so, but he always denied it and Chevie said that Lee had nothing to do with the Mueller murders. It is remotely possible that Justices Breyer and Ginsburg in their dissent that would have stopped Lee’s execution, had a measure of reasonable doubt in their minds when Breyer wrote (in respect of Lee on the eve of his execution): “it is particularly important to ensure that the individuals sentenced to death are guilty.”

An unsolved mystery

We are left with the DNA test of the strand of hair proven not to be Lee’s.

The identity of the person whose strand of hair was taken from the FBI cap that was used in the Mueller murders remains an unsolved mystery.

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