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RICO Action Filed to Protect Hundreds of Interstate Victims: Military Families Alleged to be Victims of Iraq Currency Fraud

Contact: Richard D. Ackerman, Ackerman, Cowles & Lindsley, 951-308-6454


TEMECULA, Calif., Feb. 10  /Christian Newswire/ -- The law firm of Ackerman, Cowles & Lindsley filed a civil Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) case against what are alleged to be the perpetrators of a vast real estate and currency exchange scheme taking place in California, Arizona, Texas, Washington, Oregon, Arkansas and on federal military lands.


United States District Court Case No. ED CV 07-00167 (Anna Richter, Deborah Weber v. James B. Duncan, et. al.) was filed by two investors who claim to have suffered over $500,000.00 in damages on their cases alone. U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Philips has been assigned the case. The suit alleges that the defendants may have scammed more that 700 victims in several states and on military installations, including an air base in Tucson, Arizona. The total damages are alleged to exceed $1.2B in this suit and a related suit filed in state court last month (California Superior Court Case No. RIC463483).


The complaint, filed on February 8, 2007, alleges that four operators of Stonewood Consulting, Inc., Pacific Wealth Management LLC (Nevada), and Sunburst Financial Systems, Inc., engaged in an investment scheme involving perhaps thousands of wire and mail transactions in Arizona, California and Texas. The named individuals are James B. Duncan, Hendrix Montecastro, Maurice Mcleod and Charlie Choi, all residents of Southern California.


The alleged mastermind of the scam is one James B. Duncan, who was previously ordered by the states of Washington and Iowa to cease and desist in investment activities. According to the State of Washington, in Department of Financial Institutions Case No. S-02-259, Duncan was previously fired from Olde Discount brokers for misappropriation of corporate funds and unauthorized investment activities. The Department found that Duncan defrauded a female victim and was ordered to pay restitution. In Iowa, Duncan was alleged to have taken financial advantage of an elderly victim in Iowa Division of Insurance Case No. C02-07-017.


In California, Duncan's alleged company, Pacific Wealth Management (NV), and individual Maurice Mcleod were ordered to cease and desist in the improper use of investor advisor numbers belonging to a legitimate brokerage in California Superior Court Case No. RIC462505. California Superior Court Judge Dallas Holmes issued a related temporary restraining order in Case No. RIC463483 against Hendrix Montecastro, and Maurice McLeod.


In the present case, the defendants are alleged to have induced members of the general public. hundreds of military personnel, church-goers, and health care professionals to get involved in a real estate business whereby "investors" could each become the owners of multiple residential properties throughout Arizona and California. In fact, fraudulent loan applications and income information were submitted on behalf of investors without their knowledge according to the suits. Now hundreds of alleged victims face multiple foreclosures and renters are losing their homes.


In what the defendants called a "short-term" investment, military personnel and others were allegedly duped into investing in the Iraqi dinar. However, the suit alleges that, while millions were taken from investors, the foreign currency was never delivered or only a minute fraction would be delivered to "investors." None of the defendants appear to be licensed to offer securities or currency exchange services anywhere in the United States.


The suit alleges that the activities of the defendants are having a damaging impact on the Iraqi dinar, the United States real estate market, and on the credit worthiness of the hundreds of victims, many of whom can no longer pay for so much as basic necessities. Some of the victims are alleged to have lost nearly everything they own. Military victims face even more serious consequences for excessive indebtedness. Members can suffer a breaking of rank and other devastating administrative action by superior command.


In the coming weeks, plaintiffs will ask the United States District Court to completely shut down the activities of the defendants and to place their enterprises into receivership.