Friday, July 20, 2007

Update to Letter to Congress

July 19, 2007

Update on Delivery of Letters to Congress:

All members of the Senate Judiciary Committee received the letters no later than June 27, 2007, and all signed cards have been acknowledged as being delivered to the appropriate party.
Although all members of the House Judiciary Committee received the letters no later than June 27, 2007, the only member to sign and return the certified card has been The Honorable Steve Cohen.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, EOUST Director Clifford White, OGE Director, Robert I. Cusick, and Inspector General of The DOJ, Glenn A. Fine received the letters no later than June 27, 2007 and have signed the certified cards acknowledging receipt. The only acknowledgment we await is FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III.

In the spirit of full disclosure, the following was taken directly from Senator Joe Biden’s website and is indicative of similar statements made on other websites of members of Congress.

“Please note that due to heightened security in the U.S. Capitol, mail service to my Washington, D.C. Senate office has been significantly delayed. If you have any correspondence that is time sensitive, please use alternatives such as email, phone, or fax.”

In that regard on July 15th and July 16th, we contacted the members of the Senate, and the Directors of the Governmental Agencies, via e-mail and/or facsimile.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Letter To Congress

June 18, 2007

United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary and
United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary

Senate and House Judiciary Members of The United States Congress, we come before you as two citizens of a growing group with a mission. To those of you who are highly trained attorneys, we ask that you shed your traditional views. To those of you who are non-lawyers, we ask for your undivided indulgence. For, above all else, you are our elected representatives, our law makers, who have the power to spark necessary change.

A little recognized course of conduct begging for correction ought to be at the top of our Nation’s agenda. It is a major disease worsening in the United States Judicial System. It is having a very significant effect on the economy of the country, the mental and general health of its citizens and the well being of the future, our children. It is a disease that has gone untreated for far too long. It is called “fraud on the court.” Our Republic has operated for so long with little direct oversight in your ambit of responsibility that “fraud on the court” has become pervasive in a multitude of venues, destroying society, traumatizing our citizens and robbing future generations of their legacies. Today, “fraud on the court” has become business as usual, and it will not yield easily to reform without corrective legislation. For so long, we’ve contented ourselves with the myth that the judiciary is organized to police itself, when nothing could be further from the truth. “Fraud on the court” has become so pervasive that most honest practitioners are unaware of its reach. Yet, you, the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, have it within your power to remedy these far reaching and routine wrongs against society.

“Fraud on the court” occurs on a regular basis in every courtroom across America, and is hardly ever challenged. The reason being “fraud on the court” must involve an officer of the court. Unfortunately, the vast majority of members of the legal profession do not have the courage to pursue righting such a terrible wrong inflicted upon unassuming innocent citizens of our country. It is because of our personal experiences[1] that we have become all too familiar with the devastation “fraud on the court” inflicts, especially in the bankruptcy arena.

Examining the history of Congress reveals that it knew the problem existed, especially in the bankruptcy courts, and thus stated its concern in the Matter of Arkansas Co., (cites are available in the written version, 798 F.2d645,649 (3d Cir. 1986)).

“It is significant that Congress chose to place the requirement of court approval for the employment of an attorney, accountant, or other professional directly in the Bankruptcy Code in 1978. 11 U.S.C. 1103(a). The legislative history makes clear that the 1978 Code was designed to eliminate the abuses and detrimental practices that had been found to prevail. Among such practices was the cronyism of the “bankruptcy ring” and attorney control of bankruptcy cases. In fact, the House Report noted that “in practice...the bankruptcy system operates more for the benefit of attorneys than for the benefit of creditors.” (H.R. No. 595, 95th Cong., 2d Sess. 92, reprinted in 1978 U.S. Code Cong. & Ad. News 5963, 6053).

So, in their wisdom, your Congressional colleagues knew such cronyism and lack of enforcement existed. The bankruptcy code is drawn with lofty idealism:

“All bankruptcy filings are required to be 'in good faith.' This requirement comes from Congress' intent that bankruptcy may be used to give people a fresh start after some event, or series of events, left them in financial straits. (The U.S. Congress, by the way, wrote and periodically revises the Bankruptcy Code which is Title 11 of the United States Code. In this way, Congress considers the balance of power between creditor and debtor interests, and is able to maintain fairness in the balance by virtue of its power to make and amend these laws). Bankruptcy is not intended to give debtors an unfair advantage over their creditors. And it certainly is not intended to protect people who have acted deliberately to cause harm to others. But bankruptcy is intended to help honest debtors, who would otherwise exist (perhaps chronically depressed) under an unrelenting burden of debt, get back on their feet. Congress' rationale is that it is better to have a mentally healthy and productive population than to punish people for years, if not decades, for their financial mistakes.”

Yet, here we are in 2007 and violations remain unchecked to this day, affecting citizens and their companies. Hard working people and honest debtors are sustaining significant financial and emotional harm in favor of a small group of greedy attorneys who violate the Rules of the Bankruptcy Code getting away with it because the Judiciary does not prevent and punish “fraud on the court.” Members of Congress, it is your job to enact legislation to clearly and concisely define “fraud on the court” so it can be enforced notwithstanding the perpetrator. The privilege of practicing law was never intended as a license to bilk the public.

Stemming from the Court’s inability to deal with “fraud on the court,” a public health hazard runs rampant compelling the Senate and House Judiciary Committees to address this crisis immediately. When one is promised that “we who labor here seek only the truth” and that promise is broken, the pain and loss is internalized traumatic stress. The research is now clear: “fraud on the court” is inflicting extreme stress on a segment of society with unfortunate results of violence against judges, attorneys, fellow workers, family members and complete strangers. It is within your power, and is your duty to protect the citizens of this country from “fraud on the court.”

The Court’s tolerance of children left without their entitled parenting and assets due to “fraud on the court” is a continuing legacy of infamy. You must intervene now, and assure that “fraud on the court” does not rob anyone further of the justice this Nation promises.

The legislation we propose is a bill that will make “fraud on the court” a mandatory law enforced by the judiciary. We want the language to be straightforward, absolutely preventing the legal profession and the judiciary from redefining and spinning its intent in order to avoid accountability and prosecution.

1. The elements of “fraud on the court” are clearly outlined in Demjanjuk . Petrovsky, 10 F.3d 338 (6th Cir. 1994):

a) Must involve an Officer of the Court
b) Directed at the Judicial machinery
c) That is intentionally false, willfully blind to the truth, or in reckless disregard for the truth
(whether intentionally or not)
d) That is a positive averment or is concealment when one is under a duty to disclose
e) That deceives the court.

2. Officers of the Court who perpetrate, aid or abet “fraud on the court” shall be banned from the judiciary.

3. All proceedings, of any nature whatsoever, affected by the proximate cause of “fraud on the court” shall be null and void ab initio.

4. Officers of the court shall be subject to strict liability. They will be responsible for pecuniary, economic, and emotional damages. Emotional damages shall be classified as a post-traumatic stress disorder, legal abuse syndrome, heretofore named “LAS.” Officers of the Court shall also be subject to punitive damages, imprisonment, and fines.

5. In the course of a legal proceeding, when an allegation of “fraud on the court” is raised it shall stay the proceedings.

a) The allegation shall be in the form of a sworn Affidavit

b) An evidentiary hearing shall be held within 120 days of the Affidavit’s filing.

6. Statute of limitation protection will remain unavailable in all cases for “fraud on the court.”

In closing, we respectfully request that you conduct Congressional Hearings and invite us to address the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, so we can help express the grievous nature of this disease. Our Supreme Court best expresses the need to define “fraud on the court.”

HAZEL-ATLAS GLASS CO. v. HARTFORD-EMPIRE CO., 64 S. Ct. 997, 322 U.S. 238 (U.S. 05/15/1944) “Furthermore, tampering with the administration of justice in the manner indisputably shown here involves far more than an injury to a single litigant. It is a wrong against the institutions set up to protect and safeguard the public, institutions in which fraud cannot complacently be tolerated consistently with the good order of society. Surely it cannot be that preservation of the integrity of the judicial process must always wait upon the diligence of litigants. The public welfare demands that the agencies of public justice be not so impotent that they must always be mute and helpless victims of deception and fraud.”

Thank you.

Respectfully submitted,

Karin Huffer

Meryl M. Lanson

cc: Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales
Mr. Robert S. Mueller, III, Director, FBI
Mr. Clifford J. White, III, Director, EOUST
Mr. Robert I. Cusick, Director, OGE
Mr. Glenn A. Fine, Inspector General, USDOJ

[1] We have attached as Exhibits our personal stories so that you can see first hand the destruction that “fraud on the court” has had on our families, and those who depended on our successes.


Senator Patrick Leahy
7004 2510 0007 3964 8321
433 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Edward M. Kennedy
7004 2510 0007 3965 7491
317 Russell Senate Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
7004 2510 0007 3964 8314
201 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Herb Kohl
7004 2510 0007 3964 8307
330 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Dianne Feinstein
7004 2510 0007 3964 8291
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Russell D. Feingold
7004 2510 0007 3964 8284
506 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Charles E. Schumer
7004 2510 0007 3964 8277
313 Hart Senate Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Richard J. Durbin
7004 2510 0007 3964 8260
309 Hart Senate Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Benjamin L. Cardin
7004 2510 0007 3964 8253
509 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
7004 2510 0007 3964 8246
502 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Arlen Specter
7004 2510 0007 3964 8239
711 Hart Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Orrin G. Hatch
7004 2510 0007 3964 8222
104 Hart Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Charles E. Grassley
7004 2510 0007 3964 8215
135 Hart Senate Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Jon Kyl
7004 2510 0007 3964 8208
730 Hart Senate Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Jeff Sessions
7007 0220 0003 1358 3928
335 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Lindsey Graham
7007 0220 0003 1358 3935
290 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator John Cornyn
7007 0220 0003 1358 3942
517 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Sam Brownback
7007 0220 0003 1358 3959
303 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Tom Coburn, M.D.
7007 0220 0003 1358 3966
172 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
7007 0220 0003 1358 4376
2426 Rayburn Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Howard L. Berman
7007 0220 0003 1358 4383
2221 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Rick Boucher
7007 0220 0003 1358 4390
2187 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Jerrold Nadler
7007 0220 0003 1358 4406
2334 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Robert C. Scott
7007 0220 0003 1358 4413
1201 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Melvin L. Watt
7007 0220 0003 1358 4420
2236 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Zoe Lofgren
7007 0220 0003 1358 4437
102 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee
7007 0220 0003 1358 4444
2435 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Maxine Waters
7007 0220 0003 1358 4451
2344 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Martin T. Meehan
7007 0220 0003 1358 4369
2229 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable William D. Delahunt
7007 0220 0003 1358 4352
2454 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Robert Wexler
7007 0220 0003 1358 4345
213 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Linda T. Sanchez
7007 0220 0003 1358 4338
1007 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Steve Cohen
7007 0220 0003 1358 4321
1004 Longworth Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Hank Johnson
7007 0220 0003 1358 4314
1133 Longworth Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Luis Gutierrez
7007 0220 0003 1358 4307
2367 Rayburn Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Brad Sherman
7007 0220 0003 1358 4291
1030 Longworth Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Anthony Weiner
7007 0220 0003 1358 4284
1122 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Adam Schiff
7007 0220 0003 1358 4277
326 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Artur Davis
7007 0220 0003 1358 4253
208 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Debbie Wasserman Schultz
7007 0220 0003 1358 4246
118 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Keith Ellison
7007 0220 0003 1358 4130
2138 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Tammy Baldwin
7007 0220 0003 1358 4215
1022 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Lamar S. Smith
7007 0220 0003 1358 4222
2184 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable F. James Sensenbrenne
7007 0220 0003 1358 4208
2449 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Howard Coble
7007 0220 0003 1358 4192
2468 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Elton Gallegly
7007 0220 0003 1358 4185
2427 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Bob Goodlatte
7007 0220 0003 1358 4178
2240 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Steve Chabot
7007 0220 0003 1358 4055
129 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Daniel Lungren
7007 0220 0003 1358 4048
2448 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Chris Cannon
7007 0220 0003 1358 4062
2436 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Ric Keller
7007 0220 0003 1358 4031
419 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Darrell Issa
7007 0220 0003 1358 4024
211 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Mike Pence
7007 0220 0003 1358 4017
426 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable J. Randy Forbes
7007 0220 0003 1358 4000
307 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Steve King
7007 0220 0003 1358 3973
1432 Longworth Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Tom Feeney
7007 0220 0003 1358 3980
323 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Trent Franks
7007 0220 0003 1358 3997
1237 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Louie Gohmert
7007 0220 0003 1358 4161
508 Cannon Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Jim Jordan
7007 0220 0003 1358 4154
515 Cannon Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales
7007 0220 0003 1358 4093
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

Mr. Robert S. Mueller, III, Director
7007 0220 0003 1358 4109
Federal Bureau of Investigation
J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue,
N.W.Washington, D.C. 20535-0001

Mr. Clifford J. White, III, Director
7007 0220 0003 1358 4116
Executive Office for United States Trustees
20 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Room 8000
Washington, D.C. 20530

Mr. Robert I. Cusick, Director
7007 0220 0003 1358 4123
United States Office of Government Ethics
1201 New York Avenue, N.W.
Suite 5000
Washington, D.C. 20005-3917

Mr. Glenn A. Fine
7007 0220 0003 1358 4147
Inspector General
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Suite 4706
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

Karin's Story

Abbreviated Account of the Long Term Consequences on A Family’s Health and Economy After Cumulative Victimization by “Fraud On The Court,” in the Region 17 United States Bankruptcy Court System.

Prepared specifically for each Member of the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary and the United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary.

This is June of 2007. I watch my husband struggle with kidney failure and a tumor on his lower spine from cancer complicated by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. These health failures are psychologically precipitated brought on by cumulative fraud on the court that took the products of our life’s work.

The same fraud leaves my oldest son with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that ranks off the psychologist’s scale due to the terrorizing tactics used by members of a federally regulated bank and its attorneys who perpetrated the fraud. He was only fourteen when the acts of fraud, in violation of the law, threatened his father’s life, took my children’s trust accounts, our home, my son’s friends, and innocence of childhood away, never to be replaced.

My youngest son is successful in business but is tough, unyielding, and buries his heart. He is mean and determined never to go through again what he did when he was seven or to be victimized by the court system. My sons lost the parents they knew. Parental energy was drawn into a fight for survival in our court of law while we were being neutralized by falsity and fraud.

I am a three-time breast cancer survivor. My doctor also attributes my cancer to profound stress from frustrated reliance on the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Court to provide relief when our lending banker for a commercial project embezzled $450,000 from our loan. The stolen funds were given to our contractor in the form of cashier’s checks violating our contract and paying for nothing related to the project. The banker followed the embezzlement by refusing approval or rejection of our major tenant creating further financial hardship as our payments to the bank were $17,000 per month.

We were ill advised by our attorney to file Chapter 11 Bankruptcy for the corporation that held our commercial project. Once we filed, the lending Bank, the building contractor, and their attorneys attacked us with the help of the trustee, consolidating all of our assets and then basically dividing them up among “insiders” who we now know routinely wring out Chapter 11’s. Our entire estate was worth $5,000,000 then. Due to real estate appreciation in Las Vegas, Nevada, our $5,000,000 estate in 1984 consisting of three major commercial properties, a sports bar, and a 4,000 square foot house on one-half acre is valued in 2007 at more than $100,000,000.

The fraud began in 1984. The scheme was in place when the banker and contractor embezzled and then stalled approval of the tenant. The formula goes like this:

1. Create a crisis for the business (embezzle from the construction loan, split between banker and contractor & stall approving the major tenant.) The major tenant would provide $11,000 per month of our $17,000 per month payment to the bank.

2. Our attorney violated his ethical code by advising our corporation to become ensnared in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy while conspiring with the bank’s and contractor’s attorneys. Once filed, the bankruptcy court was used as the tool of theft. (To this day that attorney is in partnership with the contactor’s attorney.)

3. The attorneys and main players use the bankruptcy court to consolidate the debtor’s assets taking all bank accounts, all properties, violating trusts, the corporate veil, and abusing all rules of the court and bankruptcy laws under the cover of fraud.

4. New attorneys are reluctant to involve themselves once the formula is in play. (No new attorney would touch this matter or stay on the case once they communicated with the bank’s attorneys.)

5. Complicit are the trustee, trustee’s attorney, and main players of the court who know how to use the formula.

6. Fraud is steadily perpetrated on the court creating a paper record that, at first appearance, supports the takings. A closer look reveals the misinformation planted for strategic purposes.

7. Judiciary refuses to hear the issues fairly. They deny or dismiss at every appellate level so the facts can never be presented. The citizen gets no clear win or loss based upon fact and law. All records from the court are a fabricated sham of manipulated paperwork.

8. The formula also needs citizens, stooges, who have assets and who believe that courts follow the law, professionals follow ethical codes and canons, and that, but for some flaws causing injustices, the overall justice system works through perseverance. These citizens in good faith provide the truth, hire the attorneys, pay the bills and fees, and slowly succumb to stress as they are accused, abused, and defeated by attorneys defying all ethics, laws, rules, canons, and common sense.

The subject building was under construction with a loan for $1,450,000 from the bank; $865,000 of the loan had been paid to the contractor per the contract at the time of the bankruptcy filing (not including the embezzlement.) The building had three MAI Appraisals each valuing it at more than $2,000,000 at the time of foreclosure. The bank took the building in foreclosure along with a parcel of adjoining land that was worth $100,000. They also unlawfully took $150,000 from our real estate company’s bank account that had no relationship to the subject property and children’s trust accounts. The Sports Bar, housed in the foreclosed building, a going, profitable business, was simply handed over to the contractor with no paperwork, for no financial consideration, accountability, or record of transfer ever being recorded anywhere. He took the liquor and gaming licenses and put them in his name with the bank’s recommendation in a letter to the City granting the licenses.

The bank then sold the building to the contractor in the following manner. He offered $1,100,000 for the property. The bank turned it down. He then offered $900,000 for the property. The bank turned it down. Next he offered $700,000 which the bank accepted, financed, and loaned him $100,000 for the down payment.

The bank’s attorneys appeared in the bankruptcy court, declaring that we owed a deficiency. This was a claim only. We asked for a hearing to present the evidence as to the values the bank had been reimbursed, in fact, and as to what they were entitled by contract and law. There was no deficiency and, further, the entire job was bonded so there could be no such legitimate claim.

We were denied a deficiency hearing. The bank’s attorneys committed fraud on the court by claiming the bank was a creditor when it was not. Moreover, they committed fraud on the court by holding impromptu hearings creating paperwork that entered into the record easily disprovable fraud. These hearings were called with no more than twenty minutes notice to us. Absurd allegations went unchallenged and we, as citizens, were laughed at, lied about, and generally treated as sport. We did not know or have access to the rules of this game. We only had the laws of the nation and rules of court.

The judge told us that the Bankruptcy Court simply doesn’t have the resources to allow hearings or jury trials for debtors. So, after consulting a Constitutional Attorney and spending another ten years and $140,000 in attorneys fees trying to do what we believed was our duty as citizens, we filed with the Court of Claims. If the court took our properties and needed to deny our right to be heard then our estate fell to the Court of Claims for relief. The Court of Claims refused to hear the case as did the Supreme Court.

Anthony G. Sousa, Esq. was the United States Trustee for Region 17 covering bankruptcy administration for the Northern and Eastern districts of California and the district of Nevada. He began to look into our case. I was terrorized to the depths of my soul when Mr. Sousa reported he could no longer do his job as he had been confronted by Federal Officials who forced him to sign a letter of resignation and placed him under a
gag order for five years. I knew enough history to know that the fall of any culture usually started with compromising its courts of law.

After two decades of looking for the judicial resource where our evidence can be presented, we ask a simple question.

Where do citizens turn for due process and their right to redress?

For more than twenty years, I have studied the dynamics of justice denied and the public health consequences. I have completed research that shows the public’s perceptions of the judicial system and the health danger of seeking justice in the face of rampant fraud on the court. The courts are less than useful for the citizens. The judicial system is toxic for its users. It is a public health menace with some good news. The problem is easy to solve. You can and must be the one to solve it.

Despite the pain and destruction to my family, we chose to subordinate our case to the social good. The economic, emotional, and physical devastation businesspeople and families such as ours must be addressed by lawmakers forcing fraud out of our courts. (IRS abuses were heard by the Congress with excellent results.) The same can be done regarding the court system. The intellectual waste and the economic burden dumped onto a community when businesses are willfully destroyed with no concern for employees, families, taxpayers while the doors to justice are virtually slammed in the taxpayer’s face, cannot be measured in loss to our nation.

I have written a book, Overcoming the Devastation of Legal Abuse Syndrome. As a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I have developed a treatment method for those struggling with the frauds on the court and suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that I have termed “Legal Abuse Syndrome.” Due to this fraud, I treat a population of walking wounded and living dead citizens who were once healthy, vibrant, productive, contributing members of their communities; until victimized by fraud on the court. Occasionally, I treat a superstar like Meryl Lanson whose strength of character, sharp intellect, moral clarity, and profound courage make her a leader in her area of expertise. Unfortunately her expertise is fraud upon the bankruptcy court. However, when I see a citizen of her caliber step forward, I will support her efforts. I strongly urge you to do the same.

Public opinion clearly believes that the courts are too expensive, too burdensome, takes too much time, and favors the wealthy and powerful. However, if fraud on the court is addressed the rest of the issues have a chance to be resolved using the litigation process as it was intended. My research has been conducted over ten years and dovetails with research from the American Bar Association and California Protective Parents Association statistics. Litigation is a public health crisis that in any other forum you would force to carry a warning label. Litigation can be hazardous to your health.

Therefore, rather than a civilized forum for solving our problems, the judicial system is clearly broken and we have the duty to fix it. I intend to leave a legacy of insight and solution to fraud on the court. My children deserve legislation that is tough and meaningful after being denied their rightful inheritance and the clear focus of their parents whose energies were drawn to an insidious type of greed that compromises our courts.

Some “insiders” and powerful corporations limit themselves to profit motive at any cost. However, after thorough research, I can tell you that unchecked greed in the forum for justice creates a free for all that can not end up well. We can work together to fix it. Then the door will open for fair hearings which will provide the immediate and civilized solution to our conflicts without fraud on the court.

In 1984 fraud destroyed the quality of my family’s life. In 1997, fraud on the court destroyed Meryl Lanson’s family’s quality of life using the exact formula exposed by Representative Jack Brooks in the early 1990’s. Investigations were held, blue ribbon committees sent around the nation at great expense. I testified before that committee. A GAO investigation was triggered. This is a formula that has been published and brought to the legislators’ attention for more than twenty years.

Please join with us to effectively pass enforceable legislation that will cause fraud on the court to become an undesirable choice for those who lack character and do not abide by a professional ethical code or the laws of our nation.

Respectfully submitted,

Karin Huffer, M.S., M.F.T.

Meryl's Story

June 18, 2007

United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary and
United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary Washington, D.C.

Dear Members of Congress:

In 1993, I thought I was living the American dream. I was married for twelve years to the most decent man I had ever met. We had a beautiful two year old son. We had a thriving closely-held business, Baron’s, which afforded us a very nice lifestyle. In addition, and most satisfying, we were able to employ two hundred people providing them, and their families, with security as a result of our fifty year old well respected and established business. We had wonderful relationships with our vendors, and we took tremendous pride in the philanthropic endeavors we engaged in. I can’t begin to tell you how I felt, this girl from Brooklyn, who came from humble beginnings, to be able to help in making the dreams of so many less fortunate become a reality.

In December of that year, my life, as I knew it, would completely come apart. On the second day of that month in 1993, we discovered that we were victims of embezzlement carried out by our most trusted employee, our comptroller. An embezzlement of over $3 million. An embezzlement that slowly drained working capital. An embezzlement of monies that should have been my husband’s and mine. Subsequently, we learned that our personal and business accounting firm, Morrison, Brown, Argiz, to whom we were faithful and loyal clients for many years, had negligently failed to detect the embezzlement in a five year series of certified audits.

We were in shock. We were betrayed. We were unprotected and we were ill-advised. Betrayed by our comptroller, David Peterson, and unprotected and ill-advised by our accounting firm. To make matters worse, our accounting firm, Morrison, Brown, Argiz, tried to cover up their negligence and avoid liability, by ordering the destruction and changing of work papers in the completed audit files.

At this point in time, we did what everyone else does in situations like these, we hired attorneys to help us recover what was taken from us by our comptroller and the negligence of our accountants. We hired attorneys, Ronald C. Kopplow and Marc Cooper to represent our company, Baron’s, and our individual interests. We trusted Mr. Kopplow and Mr. Cooper to diligently and effectively recover what was lost and stolen from us. We trusted them again when, in 1997, Mr. Kopplow suggested we speak with a bankruptcy attorney. He recommended that we speak to Ms. Sonya Salkin. Ms. Salkin was not only a bankruptcy attorney but also a Chapter 7 Panel Trustee. The embezzlement certainly had an impact on Baron’s well being. However, Baron’s was capable of surviving but for litigation advice given to us by our attorneys.

The litigation advice turned a minor problem into a major catastrophe and ultimately the destruction of Baron’s by the filing of an unnecessary, deviously motivated Chapter 11. We never would have imagined that these three attorneys would place their interests ahead of their clients, and certainly we never knew that the reason bankruptcy was recommended for Baron’s was to hide the malpractice of attorneys Kopplow and Cooper; legal malpractice arising from failure to pursue an action on behalf of my husband and me within the statute of limitations. Further, we had no protection in the bankruptcy, when Salkin became Kopplow’s and Cooper’s co-conspirator. A co-conspirator who would aid and abet covering up the conflicts of interest of Kopplow and Cooper. Our beloved, vital company was being devoured.

When I became aware that something was terribly wrong, that our attorneys, along with other members of the bankruptcy bar, and an undisclosed creditor connection, were “feeding themselves from the asset laden carcass of Baron’s” and destroying us, I immediately urged special counsel and our general counsel to come clean and make full and complete disclosure to the bankruptcy court of their connections and conflicts of interest. They refused to do so.

Determined to bring the undisclosed connections to the court’s attention, I filed an Affidavit to be heard in bankruptcy court. At that hearing on my Affidavit, special counsel and general counsel and all the other professionals, stayed silent about the undisclosed connections and conflicts of interest, the “fraud on the court.” As a result, the Honorable Paul G. Hyman, Jr. signed orders and allowed fees in violation of the bankruptcy code. These fiduciaries of the bankruptcy court took millions of dollars they were not entitled to. They completed the “fraud on the court.”

The bankruptcy ended in 1999, and between that year and 2004, it, for all intents and purposes, was closed. Through personal investigation sparked by the activity of the greedy attorneys, I discovered the meaning of “fraud on the court” as to statute of limitations and a citizen’s right to redress. On March 11, 2005 I filed an Emergency Motion, Pro-Se, to Reopen Baron’s Bankruptcy. On March 17, 2005 the Honorable Paul G. Hyman, Jr. responded to my motion by ordering Baron’s bankruptcy (Case No. 97-25645-BKC-PGH) reopened for the specific purpose of determining whether “fraud on the court” occurred pursuant to Bankruptcy Rule 2014.

Quoting from Judge Hyman’s Order Denying The Attorney’s Motion for Summary Judgment and Denying Debtor’s Cross Motion for Summary Judgment (signed November 30, 2005), bottom of Page 10 continuing on Page 11:

“Another argument raised in the professionals' objections was that thesanctions motions were time barred under Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)3, whichprovides in relevant part: On motion and upon such terms as are just, the court may relieve a party....from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for the following reasons: (l) mistake, inadvertence, surprise or excusable neglect; (2) newly discovered evidence, which by due diligence could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b); (3) fraud... misrepresentation, or other misconduct of an adverse party...or (6) any other reason justifying relief from the operation of the judgment. The Motion shall be made within a reasonable time, and for reasons (1), (2), and (3) not more than one year after the judgment...[or] order...was entered or taken.

Id. At 187. The Bankruptcy Court concluded that the disclosure obligation mandated by the Bankruptcy Code and Rules "implicates a public policy interestjustifying relief...under Rule 60(b)(6)." Id. at 188 (quoting In re Southmark Corp., 181 B.R. 291, 295 (Bankr. N.D. Tex. 1995). The Bankruptcy Court observed that it was alleged that the professionals failed to disclose conflicts of interest that would have barred their retention.

The Bankruptcy Court found that if this were true, it would constitute fraud on the court warranting relief even though more than a year had passed since the professionals were retained and their fees approved. As a result, the Bankruptcy Court found it appropriate to consider the sanctions motions. In this case, Debtor has alleged that the Attorneys failed to make appropriate disclosures under Bankruptcy Rule 2014 and 11 U.S.C. 327(a). If these allegations are true, this inadequate disclosure by the Attorneys may constitute fraud on the Court, which must be addressed. The Cross Motion does not constitute an impermissible collateral attack on the confirmation of the Plan.

The Court agrees with the eToys decision that it has jurisdiction after confirmation of the plan to consider issues relating to the Attorneys’ alleged non-disclosure that took place pre-confirmation. As a result, the Court finds that the Debtor is not barred from raising any issues of alleged non-disclosure by the Attorneys.”

What I have come to learn, as a Pro-Se advocate, is that precedent is supposed to be set by previous rulings and that those rulings are the Court’s interpretation as to how to apply the law. I also have come to learn that “fraud on the court” is a particular species of fraud that is extremely difficult to prosecute because of cronyism, fraternalism, and protectionism, that the legal community affords its members.

On January 29, 30 and 31st of this year, I participated in the Court’s evidentiary trial. I thought the Court would diligently explore the facts presented in light of its pre-trial order and its order would turn thereon. I firmly believed, upon completion of the trial, that justice would finally be served. What I did not recognize and could not comprehend was the effect that a “fraud on the court” determination would have on the bankruptcy bar in South Florida, and also the unraveling of all of the final rulings made as a result of that “fraud on the court.” Please note that Judge Hyman, who made all the rulings in the 1997 bankruptcy of Baron’s, is the same Judge who reopened the case, denied Summary Judgments and presided over the evidentiary trial. And so the same Judge who was defrauded now faced the huge burden that would be created by a “fraud on the court” ruling. In addition to that burden, I believe that because of the close knit relationships developed in the bankruptcy bar, it becomes very difficult to effect the prosecution of people who appear before you on a regular basis. Whether this is difficult is not the issue - what is just and right is! Judges must have the courage to correct wrongs that are against public policy in spite of relationships.

Perhaps, in reopening the bankruptcy, Judge Hyman opened Pandora’s Box, realized what lay inside at the evidentiary trial, and then chose to close the box rather than release the secrets. Judge Hyman was able to close the box by “re-interpreting” the disclosure rules and making his own judgment of the intentions of the parties. “Fraud on the court” should not be left to interpretation by anyone. The actions of the officers of the court must speak for themselves. Re-interpreting the rules to protect officers of the court to the detriment of the public destroys the entire judicial system.

Several damages have occurred as a result of this re-interpretation. A mid-stream change of interpretation, if you will. The first damage results from reliance on precedent established in eToys, and cited by Judge Hyman. The damages are the costs attributable to prosecuting the case through loans, in excess of $120,000.00, my husband and I made to the bereft debtor. These loans were made in contemplation of a ruling of “fraud on the court” if Judge Hyman followed his own declaration of precedent in eToys. We relied upon precedent established in eToys. The second set of damages occurred when Judge Hyman made a decision to bifurcate the case into a case of liability and a case for damages. This decision came upon the defendant attorneys’ filing of a Motion to Protect witnesses from deposition. By this action, I was prevented from discovery. Discovery that was absolutely essential to prove intentions of the perpetrators. I made no objection to the bifurcation as intent was never the issue. Clearly, on January 8, 2007, at a pre-trial hearing, the Court stated: “I’ll tell you now, the only issue is disclosure. What should have been disclosed and what was disclosed, that’s the issue before me.” We relied on the Judge’s statement at the pre-trial hearing.

What happened in our case is rampant in bankruptcy cases around the country. The Courts rely on attorneys to act with honor and trustworthiness. To tell the truth, know the law, and protect the sanctity of the process is the responsibility of these officers of the court. To allow violations of any of these tenets to obstruct justice cannot and must not be tolerated.

When the Florida business community lost Baron’s, a fifty year old company, with revenues in excess of $20 million a year, the effect was wide ranging and exponential. The fact that two hundred people were put out of work means that those two hundred people were placed in a predicament of applying for unemployment, finding new means of employment, some of the employees due to age would run into difficulty, and certainly the employees losing their health insurance and retirement funding, placed a significantly greater burden on the community. Baron’s Stores, through their leases, purchase of manufactured goods, advertising, professional services and all of the other wide ranging expense items redistributed $20 million of gross revenues. This was also lost to the community. Baron’s Stores was a successful operation and Baron’s Stores was generous to the community. It helped numerous charitable causes and participated in events through sponsorship and stewardship that multiplied the contribution many times over.

Additionally, the loss of Baron’s has effected the economy of the country. Hard working people and honest debtors sustained emotional and financial destruction, all for the benefit of a small group of greedy attorneys. In the destruction of Baron’s there was a tradeoff of over $500 million in economic benefit lost to Florida’s business community, and beyond, in exchange for $2 million in ill-gotten fees paid to attorneys who accomplished their goal by perpetrating a “fraud on the court.”

My son is now sixteen years old. He has been denied financial security that his grandparents and parents worked so hard to bequeath and provide for him. My son has been denied my undivided devotion as a mother since he was two. I have been denied a normal life forced to understand why and how things like this happen, and then working towards getting back what was taken from us so cruelly and inhumanely.

Judge Hyman’s Order was signed on April 12, 2007. Our Appeal, Case No.: 07-cv-60770-AJ, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, was filed on June 15, 2007.

My family and I have suffered financial ruin and legal abuse syndrome for more than thirteen years. As a result of my own experience, I am determined to assist in enacting legislation on behalf of my fellow Americans so that no one who lives the American dream must wake up to the nightmare of losing it all as a result of “fraud on the court.”


Meryl M. Lanson