I was appalled by your article on Janet Kay & Associates and the plea agreement. Another appalling thing that I would like to bring to everyone’s attention are the words “deferred adjudication” in the district attorney’s e-mail. I’m not a lawyer, but having done legal research before for a book project, I would like to point out that this usually means that if a person meets the terms of their probation and does not get into trouble with the law again during the period of probation, then when the term of probation has expired, the case will be DISMISSED! This means they will NOT have a conviction for this fraud on their records. This is not justice…
Like you I’m appalled at how easily this woman and her cohorts got off. But my question is who is going to be watching them to make sure they don’t just set up shop and start this all over again? A name change and bingo they get to start filling the pockets they freely admit are empty.
Coming in July 2006, L.A. Heat, the first Chris Bellamere/David Eric Laine mystery.
EDITOR’S NOTE: I’ve seen posts online that indicate Janet Kay & Associates has indeed set up a new website seeking manuscripts from writers. I viewed the website myself and emailed my surprise and concern to the district attorney. He already knew about it. The website is still live and still accepting emails. I wonder why the district attorney hasn’t had the website shut down entirely? Concerned readers are encouraged to email him and ask him what the delay is on this. (They should also ask why Janet Kay & Associates are being allowed to serve no jail time when it appears they’ve already been caught attempting to solicit manuscripts yet again!). You can find his email address in the article at the link above.
I read your recent posting on the Janet Kay fraud, and I’m not at all surprised that the victims ended up getting a raw deal. I spent 5 years years being an advocate for a group of investors who were victims of a massive investor fraud ( $8 million total) in Texas, and about the same thing happened. The only difference was the U.S. Attorney did go after the perpetrator and was able to send him to federal prison for 5 years. There was restitution ordered by a federal judge, but again because there was no money that restitution has been very slow in coming if at all. It was a complex case, in our case against an actual corporation, and the letters from the Victims/Witness coordinator and even the various prosecuting attorneys read very much the same as what we all received.
The truth is that today people who want to scam can probably get away with it in most cases,and they know it when they start their scam. I’ve learned that paperwork is only as good as the people who sign it. I do agree that the U.S. Attorney could have procecuted this pair for wire fraud, but probably won’t because the case isn’t big enough ( writers are artists, not corporate types), and the losses, while devastating to the writers, probably didn’t reach a large enough combined total to make the case worth prosecuting. And of course there was no SEC violaton here (as there was in our case) to prompt federal action.
The writer victims in this case could go to civil court, but it’s probably fruitless. If there is no money, there’s no money there either. However, there should be some stipulaton by the judge when s/he grants probation that these characters have to at least make a good faith attempt at paying restitution or their probation will be revoked, and they can go to jail. That’s probably the best way to get them to pay something at least. From my experience, the perpetrator usually has money, but has it hidden carefully. This may be the case with this pair. However, that money can be very difficult to find. And in many cases, the criminal simply files bankruptcy to avoid payment, in which case a trustee and lawyers come in and take what’s left.
The best advice I can give all these victims is that they talk to an accountant about taking the loss off their Schedcule C business or off their 1040 Income Tax form. At least in that way, they will get something back in terms of a loss deducation. If taken off the Schedule C, it will lower their profit for a couple of years; if taken off their 1040, it will lower their taxable income as a capital loss. It’s not much, but better than nothing. Then if they do receive restitution, whatever monies they receive they can declare as income in following tax years. I’m not giving tax advice here, but I’ve learned this is a viable way to proceed. So I hope the victims will at least check out this option.
Again, if these kind of circumstances were not so tragic and emotionally draining of one’s trust, there is a sort of black humor related to how inept our justice system can be at times. It seems to protect the criminal far more than it advocates for the victim.