An Arizona construction company appears to have been the latest victim of the fraudster who uses the alias Steven Dean Kennedy," and dangles promises to find funding in front of businesses. He always gets a large deposit, which he generally keeps. A civil suit has been filed, in Federal Court in Phoenix*, on behalf of AP Southwest LLC, an apparent subsidiary of a Minnesota construction firm, against Kennedy, his long-time associate Mark Creighton, and his latest shell company, together with ten unspecified co-conspirators.
Remember, Kennedy's scam is an advance fee scheme wrapped inside a Ponzi scheme. He claims that he can "leverage" the victim's money through a mysterious thirteen billion dollar family bond asset; he even hints that he is a part of the famous Massachusetts Kennedy family. Of course, it is sheer fiction. Sometimes, he repays a portion of the deposit, which was conveniently liberated from escrow by one of his attorneys, from the next victim; That is the Ponzi aspect.
The plaintiff deposited $200,000 with Kennedy's latest bogus entity, CAPITAL TRUST FUNDING, INC., which he moved to when his original vehicle, ATLANTIC RIM FUNDING INC. sustained a multi-million dollar punitive damages judgment in a Federal Court case, for failing to refund the "guaranteed"deposit, as promised. Kennedy also failed to deliver the "high-yield trading program" returns; I doubt that the plaintiff's attorney will be able to find these fraudsters, they are good at their game. They strike, they move on.
My problem with this case, and all the others, is that nobody performed even the most rudimentary due diligence upon Kennedy or his company. Even a simple web search for Kennedy and Capital would have turned up my half dozen articles on the federal litigation, and the Mortgage Grapevine website, wherein many of the victims detail their sad stories. Why didn't the plaintiff company consult with its attorneys before engaging in the transaction ? A lawyer would have found several lawsuits against Kennedy in five minutes. I can never understand why any business fails to check out any prospective business partner, client, vendor, or foreign agent.
I also wonder why no lawyer for AP participated in drafting the so-called Deposit Guarantee Agreement, between the parties. Mark Creighton executed the agreement, not in the representative capacity of officer or director, but as "Managing Principal," which anyone who paid attention at university knows, is not a valid title in the United States. Why was this error not caught by the AP leadership ? The defendants, of course, had legal counsel: Arthur Fillmore, Esq., of Leawood, Kansas**. Mr. Fillmore was the addressee on the plaintiff's demand letter, requesting the return of their $200,000 .
I doubt whether the plaintiff can recover a dime here; I have not seen where anyone else who filed suit was successful in getting their client's money back. A final note; there is serious law enforcement interest in these fraudsters, and you can expect criminal charges to be filed eventually. I hope that it is sooner rather than later; Mr. "Kennedy" has ruined several small companies. He deserves a long stretch in custody, after conviction by a jury of his peers, as a guest of the US Bureau of Prisons, perhaps in some upper-level penal institution, with some unhappy Colombian narcotics kingpins as cellmates.
*AP Southwest LLC vs. Capital Trust Funding, Inc, Steven Dean Kennedy, Mark T. Creighton et al,
Case No.: 12-cv-002610NVW (D Ariz).
** Leawood is next door to Overland Park, Kansas, which followers of the Kennedy cases will remember is where Jada Jordan is involved in a local company, and who repeatedly recommended Kennedy and his original company, the now-insolvent and defunct Atlantic Rim Funding, Inc., on the Mortgage Grapevine. Ms. Jordan is reportedly the ex-wife of Duane Jordan, another veteran Kennedy associate.