The Present State and Need of Civil Rights in the United States, Part One

By William M. Hart
How to Commit Bankruptcy Fraud and Get Away With It Scot-Free

By any objective standards, the federal judiciary is so wholly corrupt that, even when a person who personally planned a crime that was committed comes forward to say, “This is the crime, and this is how it was done— I know, because I personally planned it,” they remain obstinately resistant to acknowledging any manner of wrong-doing, even when presented with concrete evidence of it.

I say this not as a matter of subjective opinion, but as a verifiable fact.

You see, I’m the guy who planned it.  It was my baby.


I met a woman on the internet, a blogger, a Ms. Salois, who seemed to be all I could ever dream for.  She was an English teacher with aspirations of publication, having several chapters already written for a novel, and I, already a published author and journalist, agreed to edit some of her work, a sample of which you may find here.  She was in an abusive relationship with her husband (hint: plot complication here), an ex-Marine ex-cop (and also a former student from her English class, I was to find out later), and the two were in the process of a separation at the time we met.

She had knowledge of my background, as she assisted me in writing an updated resume.  She knew that I had a background in taxes, and that I was looking at opening a tax preparation office as a franchisee.

She began asking me about how a person might go about committing bankruptcy fraud, were one so inclined, a series of question and answer sessions spanning some four weeks through late April to mid-May of 2007.  I was uncomfortable with how she would return to the subject repeatedly, and asked if this was some sort of plot device for a story, which she assured me it was.  I believed because I wanted to believe— I did not want to consider the alternative at length.

For it was around this time that she announced that she had agreed to write a short story for the site “Deadly Women Write,” a members-only website of short fiction ran by one Peggy Pendleton, aka Utah Savage.  Each piece of fiction featured a woman killing a man (hence the title), as this was supposedly an empowering feminist experience.  Understanding a bit more about Ms. Pendleton might explain these sentiments better.

By her own telling, Peggy was introduced into the sex trade by her mother at age five.  Her parents had separated, and Peggy lived with her mother.  Times were tough.  One day, a man the family knew came over, and Peggy’s mother “went to the store,” leaving her alone with this man, who then molested her.  She was bleeding and crying when her mother returned, but her mother made little of it.  The man left after gifting a sun of money to the mother, and the matter continued on likewise with several men over several years.

Peggy held a hatred of men for all her life, though it seems she never really blamed her mother for pimping her, or rather, rationalized the matter to make excuses; e.g., “She did what she needed to do to get by,” and “Times were different then.”  It is worth noting that her mother was known as something of a feminist figure herself.

So, now you understand where “Deadly Women Write” comes from.

I should say that I never saw any of this fiction featuring the bankruptcy fraud as a plot device.

Nonetheless, when I received the notice of bankruptcy in the mail, my suspicions were raised.  I was then a creditor in the matter, as I had “loaned” Ms. Salois several thousand dollars to maintain her house payment.

I filed an objection and reported the matter to the federal authorities, but was told that they could accept a completed investigation only, and not a report.  Of course, I knew exactly where to look, because I myself had devised the scheme, and sure enough I found it: Over $55,000 in undeclared income, and much more in undeclared assets.

For my efforts, I was subjected to intimidation and retaliation, including threats and battery against me, stalking, extortion, false imprisonment, identity fraud, wire fraud, abuse of process (what are now known as SLAPPs, for “strategic lawsuits against public participation,” in this case a felony crime under Wis. Ann. Stat. § 943.30, threats to injure or accuse of crime), among others.  By reason of the report of a crime under federal law, I was victimized by over forty felony crimes over the next thirty-one months, some eighteen of which are violent crimes (“crimes of violence” is defined at 18 U.S.C. § 16; the two money laundering offenses here are included as such crimes due to the language of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(c)(7)(D), which includes interstate communications to extort (18 U.S.C. § 875) as specified unlawful activity).

Either there is something incredibly special about me that would permit these crimes to be enacted against me, or there is not much special about me at all.  I have every reason to believe the latter, that this sort of thing is quite ordinary for any person reporting a felony crime under federal law, to be expected of anyone.

Of course, I reported these things to the authorities, as I mistakenly believed they were actually interested in “fighting crime.”  I was told repeatedly by the FBI that their policy dictates that any and all matters be addressed by the local authorities according to state law.  Meanwhile, the St. Louis County police repeatedly insisted that only the FBI could take any sort of action on those criminal activities, first on the basis that bankruptcy is a federal matter, stating that any crime committed in relation to bankruptcy is a federal matter (which is true, but this ignores the concurrent jurisdiction of the local authorities), and then on the basis that an order of protection had issued in a family law court (as had been advised by the Assistant Bankruptcy Trustee, who later permitted me to be assaulted in the federal courthouse while acting as “additional security”— Additional plot complication: This is the e-mail that Yahoo! cannot figure out who it belongs to.), then stating that any further manner of act criminal in nature concerning parties in privity need necessarily be addressed by the issuing court— that no manner of act whatever could possibly be a police matter due to the order of protection having issued.  Presumably, even had I been murdered the police could not so much as file a report without some order from the family law court to that effect.

This is the way that having connections works:

As it turns out, the personal counsel of the bankruptcy trustee also worked at a law firm, organized as a 501(c)(3), that supplied legal assistance to battered women (one important point for the legal buffs: That assistance is mandated by Missouri law for the county to provide).  The managing attorney for the firm happened to be the President of the Board of Education for the St. Louis Public Schools, which, at the time, were a non-accredited school system, having lost that distinction a number of years earlier, for a number of reasons.

Due to those connections, for a man in Milwaukee to report bankruptcy fraud, then hire a private detective to obtain the financial statements from the divorce of the debtor, constitutes a “crime of violence” for purposes of the firm in seeking funds from the federal government.  It has to be a crime of violence under 18 U.S.C. § 16, because this is the definition referred to in the bankruptcy code itself. 

It is quite likely that it is due to these connections that the bankruptcy trustee stated in an e-mail that he had “no further interest in the case,” when informed within one year of the $55,000+ discrepancies in the financial records of the divorce and the bankruptcy.  It is something of a breach of duty to refuse to investigate such things within the period for revocation of discharge (and using the discharge itself as the reason) and refusing to enact the enhanced look-back period where reasonable suspicion exists.

 It goes without saying that any person publishing online available to the general public the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has committed a crime of violence for bankruptcy purposes, seeking federal funding, corporate donations, etc.  Here are those words one more time, and I want you to understand that publication of these words constitute a criminal act subject to prosecution in St. Louis County, Missouri:

Unenforceable obligations are beyond the reach of the laws of society.  They concern inner attitudes, genuine person-to-person relations, and expressions of compassion which law books cannot regulate and jails cannot rectify.  Such obligations are met by one’s commitment to an inner law, written on the heart.  Man-made laws assure justice, but a higher law produces love.

—Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Strength to Love
p. 26

That felt good.

Sometimes you just need to break a little law— and especially so when it’s one that would criminalize a statement as the one above, which can only be taken as indication that the courts themselves have chosen to forfeit all pretense of legitimacy.

It would be more accurate to state that the courts have willingly forfeited all pretense of legitimacy well beforehand, and that criminalization of publishing online available to the general public the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a symptom of that.  (It was actually a “quasi-criminal” proceeding, and that’s a big part of how they got away with it.  In the re-publication of such words, adjudicated a quasi-criminal act by the courts of St. Louis County, Missouri, I am once again a quasi-criminal.)

Also, due to those connections, for the President of the Board of Education of the non-accredited St. Louis Public Schools, Ms. Katherine Wessling, to divert funds from a 501(c)(3) at which she is employed to ensure that a teacher with an established history of sexual relations with her students remains eligible for hire at that district constitutes a “charitable purpose” whenever it comes time to hit up the federal government and corporate donors for funds to help battered women.  Of course, the President of the Board of Education would know whenever a teacher seeking employment is blogging about removing her panties in the parking lot between classes, which, oddly enough, is not her “If You Want to Screw Me” post (Wed, Aug 6 2008 9:20 AM), nor does it relate to her “69 Award.”

Of course, the complaints went out to Chris Koster’s office, the Missouri Check-A-Charity “investigation.”  This led to a phone call from an attorney who, as it turns out, is pretty chummy with the people he was supposed to be investigating.

The complaints went out to the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel, the board which is supposed to implement attorney discipline.  This was recommended to me by my attorney following an incident of evidence tampering, where Mr. Straussner, the “fiancé” of the debtor (the two have been “shacking” for over six years, presumably equivalent to a proposal of marriage in certain parts of Missouri) had dyed his hair and shaved his face to forward a claim of mistaken identity in an assault, which was entered into evidence by Ms. Wessling.  The determination of the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel was that no manner of ethical violation whatever might ever occur in any instance where judicial review is available.

What is odd about this is that bank robbery is a matter subject to judicial review.  That’s why bank robbers are chased down by the police is so that they can then appear in court.  According to the Chief Disciplinary Counsel, it is fully ethical conduct for an attorney in the State of Missouri to rob a bank, being a matter subject to review of the judiciary.

What’s more, a matter being subject to judicial review is more commonly known as “appealability.”  That’s exactly what “judicial review” means is “an appeal.”  There are a few other procedural mechanisms that may be done by motion or petition, such as a motion for rehearing, motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, etc.  However, it is certainly atypical for a determination of whether an ethical violation occurred to rest on prospective future acts of another; e.g., insider trading is insider trading, regardless of who else might buy or sell.

The real action came with a report to Internal Revenue’s Exempt Organizations Division.  The matter was referred from EO’s Dallas headquarters to a field office in Cincinnati for investigation.  The firm had been refused an endorsement as a charity from the Better Business Bureau for at least seven years, due to not having published a budget within that period showing where monies for programs were being spent, and for less than 50% of its eligible members attending less than 50% of its annual meetings.

However, the real star of the show is Senator Roy Blunt, the Chairman of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee.  Following yet another incident of Ms. Wessling dreadfully misinforming the court, entering evidence known to be false, testifying as a witness having first-hand knowledge, and admitting in open court to violations of federal statutes, issuing subpoenas in closed cases, and a number of other things for which the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel would find that judicial review is available, I reported the matter to Sen. Blunt’s office due to the federal funding of these acts, all of which were undertaken in the context of a bankruptcy.  I received a call from a Ms. Bevry, a caseworker from the Senator’s Jefferson City office, where she stated quite explicitly, “They’re not supposed to be getting involved in bankruptcies!  They’re supposed to be helping battered women!” and demanded a full report be submitted to the Senator’s office for purposes of de-funded the organization, which had received numerous grants from the Committee which the Senator chairs.

Here’s the technical side of that: The core proceedings of bankruptcy are enumerated at 28 U.S.C. § 157(b)(2), and the automatic stay is stated as a core proceeding at sub-paragraph (G).  11 U.S.C. § 362 is all about the automatic stay, with paragraph (b)(2) setting forth exceptions to the stay, and states that:

“Non-core proceedings under section 157 (b)(2)(B) of title 28, United States Code, shall not be subject to the mandatory abstention provisions of section 1334 (c)(2).”

28 U.S.C. § 157(b)(4).  “The commencement or continuation of a criminal action or proceeding” “regarding domestic violence” is a specific exception stated in sub-paragraph (v), though sub-section (a) limits the exception to actions “against the debtor.”  The relevant definition (i.e., for Chapter 7 filings) of “domestic violence” is stated at 11 U.S.C. § 707 (Dismissal of a case or conversion to a case under chapter 11 or 13), stating at sub-sub-paragraph (b)(2)(A)(ii)(I):

“[T]he debtor’s monthly expenses shall include the debtor’s reasonably necessary expenses incurred to maintain the safety of the debtor and the family of the debtor from family violence as identified under section 302 of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, or other applicable Federal law.”

11 U.S.C. § 707(b)(2)(A)(ii)(I).  Section 302 of the Act is codified at 42 U.S. Code § 10402, and sets forth the definitions of terms as used in that Act.  Paragraph (3) states:

“The term ‘domestic violence’ has the meaning given such term in section 13925 (a) of this title[,]”

42 U.S. Code § 10402(3), and paragraph (a)(8) of 42 U.S. C. § 13925 at last defines “domestic violence” like so:

“The term ‘domestic violence’ includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.”

42 U.S. C. § 13925(a)(8) (which was paragraph (6) at the relevant time).  From there, 18 U.S. C. § 16 defines “crime of violence” as:

“(a) an offense that has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another, or

(b) any other offense that is a felony and that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.”

18 U.S. C. § 16.  It was that part about “grant monies” that interested the Senator so much, as he chairs a committee responsible for providing oversight to grant monies received by the firm.

I am still unsure which one of them got to the firm first, either the Exempt Organizations office or the Senator’s office, but five months after the demand for full report from the Senator and three months after referring the matter to the Cincinnati field office, the firm enacted a corporate merger with another 501(c)(3).  Oddly enough, they named a man who had been dead for seven years as their registered agent at the time.  Although this would spell automatic dissolution (by statute) from the Secretary of State and disciplinary action from the ARDC were the firm located in Illinois, this being Missouri, of course no manner of unlawful conduct nor ethical violation occurred.

If you’re thinking this might be some kind of accident or oversight, please be informed that there is documentary evidence of continuing and ongoing criminal violations of the surviving corporation under the laws of their state of residence (Missouri).  Yet no law enforcement authority exists that might be able to accept a report of criminal conduct, much less to investigate the matter, and no court in this nation exists which might prove willing to discover some manner of civil liability in such conduct.  I remain uncertain as to whether it is the taxable status of their employer or in their employer’s special relationship with St. Louis County, providing a public service required by statute, which enables persons employed by the firm to commit criminal acts with impunity.

In the process of compiling the report requested by the Senator’s office, a matter which took almost a year due to the extensive documentation, I discovered an appropriate cause of action to bring suit in a federal court.  It seemed like the natural sort of thing that qui tam actions were created for, where a whistleblower brings suit on behalf of the federal government, though these are typically brought by an employee with inside information rather than a person with other than internal dealings with the company.  There were issues with the seal requirement though, as all of these cases are required to be filed under seal, and the courts are very quick to dismiss any case which has information which might be public knowledge.

Although Congress authorized private citizens to supplement the efforts of federal law enforcement in matters deemed to be of great national importance, I could not find an attorney who would file a qui tam suit unless the amount in question was $10 million or more.  What this translates to is that most of these suits are for defense contract fraud or Medicare fraud.  Quite literally, the federal courts have collectively arrived at a values judgment that they would rather see the federal government defrauded at the rate of $10 million a year for twenty years or more than to see a private citizen win less than half that amount one time only in a court of law.  Effectively, if such fraud is able to avoid criminal prosecution, the federal courts are fully prepared to amply reward such conduct in any civil matter.

After some four months of the study of law, I discovered another cause of action appropriate in such situations which would overcome the shortcomings of a qui tam action; the seal requirement, the dollar amount at issue, and qui tam’s reach only to the firm and not to other culpable persons.  This was clearly a racketeering action of that peculiar subset of bankruptcy cases in the vein of the Handeen v. Lemaire (In re Lemaire) and the Bankers Trust (In re Braten Apparel Corp.) line of cases; in fact, there was little dissimilarity in the facts.

Now, a racketeering action is a fairly rare thing.  Most federal districts have only one or two civil RICO claims per year, except some of the more busy ones, like the Southern District of New York.  A civil racketeering action involving bankruptcy is an extremely rare subset, and a handful of federal districts have yet to have even one case of this type in the forty-five years since the statutes were enacted.

Again, I pursued a criminal action.  Of course, the federal authorities were completely unwilling to do anything other than occupy a chair and draw a government check, preferring all federal question cases be dealt with under local law.  Of course, the St. Louis County police continued to insist that only a family court judge could have jurisdiction over a racketeering investigation, due to an expired order of protection involving two of the parties.  The Oak Creek, Wisconsin Police Department (where I was living while all this was going on) had a policy of not offering police protection to any non-resident, even though it was acknowledged that the events occurred within their jurisdiction; as I happened to be in Illinois at the time of report, driving to Oak Creek specifically for that purpose.  The police in Salt Lake City were unable to direct me to the proper authorities, as I had no address for Ms. Pendleton (an SLC resident) at the time.  Without knowing which jurisdiction Ms. Pendleton was located in, the matter could not be forwarded to the appropriate authority having jurisdiction.

Here, the real star of the show is the Clovis, New Mexico Police Department.  It was in Clovis where I first received a call from Mr. Straussner, then using his alternate identity for bankruptcy purposes, and the first threats of violence against me in relation to that matter.  I spoke with an Officer Roach by telephone from Iowa, and he provided a fax number where I forwarded some documents to him, including a transcript of a hearing where Mr. Straussner admitted to having threatened me with violence for pursuing an objection to discharge in the bankruptcy.  Officer Roach saw plenty to confirm reasonable suspicion, and filed a report, personally delivering the documents to the Chaves County prosecutor’s office.

The district attorney of Chaves County would not pursue charges however, due to a recent opinion from the New Mexico Supreme Court requiring an explicit statement of intent identifying the proceeding in question in order to sustain criminal charges of witness tampering, and Straussner had been somewhat careful with is words on the witness stand, even while being a bleating idiot.  Nonetheless, the matter received a full review.  The prosecutor I spoke to recommended that I speak with an attorney to pursue a civil action, as the burden of proof was lower in such cases.

I certainly did.  After screening some sixty attorneys, I got Jeffrey Grell, one of the two leading authorities on RICO, to agree to bring the suit for racketeering.  However, Mr. Grell refused to represent me in the matter of the civil rights violations, whether by the firm, the St. Louis County PD, or otherwise, requiring that I either seek co-counsel to represent me in exclusively those matters, or drop those claims entirely.  I felt the civil rights claims were important enough to proceed as self-represented (I know . . . ) due to the continuing violations other persons would be subjected to, and foolishly believed that the police departments involved would be willing to change their policies to bring them up to Constitutional muster were only the problem pointed out to them (I know. . . ).

At the time my process server was kidnapped (page one, page two), those misconceptions began to dissipate.  This person is no pushover, being a former firefighter with the US Army.  Yet she was visibly disturbed following her kidnapping experience (go figure).  Of course, we both got the same run-around by the FBI and the St. Louis County PD.

Now, the presiding judge in the matter was the Hon. Dale A. Kimball, a member of the federal judiciary’s Committee for the Administration of the Bankruptcy System, who presided over the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping trial.  One would think at first glance he would be somewhat anti-kidnapping, or at least a bit anti-bankruptcy fraud, but it is demonstrably the case that any kidnapping undertaken in order to prevent an official elected at the county level from being haled into a court of law to be held to account for acts objectively criminal in nature is smiled upon with the greatest of benevolence.  As long as it’s “the right people” being kidnapped, he couldn’t be happier.

Again, either there is something special about Ms. Dudley that permits her to be kidnapped, or any US citizen is subject to kidnapping at any time, provided such kidnappings are undertaken to protect an elected official from answering for acts objectively criminal in a court of law.

In fact, St. Louis County presented in court as their defense that it is fully permissible to enact crimes of violence against persons on the sole basis of perceived thought, feeling, opinion, or belief— not as defense for the kidnapping, mind you, but as defense for the racketeering of their elected officials and people connected with the law firm of Ms. Wessling and the personal counsel of the bankruptcy trustee.  By any honest accounting, the courts are far more likely to adjudicate according to identity of parties rather than factual substance of case.  Ensuring no manner of act objectively criminal in nature is restrained in any way is of extraordinarily high priority to the federal courts, provided those acts are committed by a public employee.

Like any good paralegal would, I obtained the DOJ’s Civil RICO Manual, a number of research materials from the Congressional Research Service, and the documents from a number of RICO proceedings, both in district (notably the recent prosecution of several Crips) and recent cases with the same predicate acts.  I also got several section 1983 complaints involving the same parties, and lifted the language exactly as if they were templates.  I obtained the jury instructions relevant to the claims from several districts, and worked from the jury instructions themselves wherever possible.

St. Louis County objected that it was not clear from my complaint whether Salois was my wife, or what manner of relationship we maintained.  That information was simply not an element of any claim, nor might it constitute a valid defense to any claim.  Nonetheless, they continued to refer to her as my wife, even after I had repeatedly and specifically denied any marriage to her.  Knowingly entering false information into court documents for no other purpose than to pollute the record is a matter which, in my experience, most federal courts are inclined to view benevolently.

In a case of multiple defendants, several attorneys objected to the use of the language “individual defendants,” claiming they had no idea what an individual defendant might be.  The court agreed.  At the appellate level, I included as attachments each use of the term “individual defendants” from the complaint, showing that each use of the term was followed by a list of relevant defendants to which the term was then applied, and several cases from the appellate court showing prominent use of the same wording.  The appellate court declined to find that its own wording was as incomprehensible as opposing counsel had argued.

One member of opposing counsel was whining about how he was unable to understand the section 1983 claims stated against his clients.  In response, I printed out the complaint against his clients that I lifted the wording from, and that portion of the answer to that complaint, then asked if the attorney who had submitted the answer be appointed as counsel to those defendants, as he seemed to be able to understand section 1983 litigation where current opposing counsel clearly could not.  The court refused to appoint other counsel to those defendants.

There were a number of inconsistencies in the opinion from the appellate court, to say the least.  Perhaps the most glaring is in their adjudication of 18 U.S. C. § 1965, which, granted, is notable in that it is the subject of, not one, but two circuit splits.  In this case, however, the statute was found irrelevant to claims brought under that statute.  These are nationwide service of process provisions, and the complaint stated facts spanning five states (Texas, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Utah), while it is plain other relevant acts occurred in at least eight other states.  This is the very type of case for which the nationwide service of process provisions were written.  Claims were stated under the racketeering laws of three states as well as the federal statutes.

Nonetheless, where Congress sees a matter of great national importance warranting the supplementation of federal law enforcement efforts, the courts are much more likely to view a need to permit criminal conduct continued unabated and unimpeded.  By any objective analysis, it is far worse to report a felony crime under federal law than to commit forty felony crimes.

In case you’re wondering, the two most important factors in devising a successful scheme of bankruptcy fraud are involving a number of people and maintaining the value of the financial instruments at issue at less than $75,000.  The courts are far more likely to reject the notion that seven or eight people were involved in a scheme of bankruptcy fraud than only two or three.  The more people involved, the more “implausible” the scheme becomes, and the more likely the court will dismiss any action.  As long as each financial instrument is valued at less than $75,000, the federal authorities will refuse to investigate no matter what, yet there is effectively no limitation whatever on the number of such instruments of less than $75,000 value that are permitted to be concealed.  Eight persons concealing $74,000 in assets apiece appears optimal.

Click to go to Part Two: The Present State and Need of Civil Rights in the United States, Part Two
William M. Hart is a journalist and author, having written for two newspapers and freelance material for a number of magazines, whose science fiction was first published at the age of 15 in Beyond Orion’s science fiction quarterly. A trades journeyman for nine years, and a paralegal, Hart is active in court reform, criminal justice reform, right-to-work advocacy, energy policy, and resource management at the federal and state level.

Originally from New Mexico, he is currently based in Central Illinois, where he studies film journalism and public administration. Hart is currently working on a book, a mixture of historical fiction and non-fiction with extensive legal analysis showing the origins of the principles of the American criminal justice system through a re-telling of the trial of former Panamanian head-of-state Manuel Noriega, and a documentary film project, How to Commit Bankruptcy Fraud and Get Away With It Scot-Free, the first of two planned (federal and state) dealing with public corruption.

Hart loves animals of all types, keeping three cats as companion animals, and gardening. He is very proud of his hollyhocks and honeysuckle. Hart is also known for his ability to snatch up a raccoon by the scruff of the neck.

Copyright Publius Forum 2001