Two weeks ago I wrote about a Malibu Media attorney from Colorado, Jason Aaron Kotzker, who was accused by the Federal Trade Commission of a payday loan fraud. While that lawsuit is a civil one (albeit filed by a federal agency), some attorneys privately told me that it is clear as day that a criminal indictment will follow, although it may take time.
Apparently, the time is up for another member of Guardaley/Keith Lipscomb/Malibu Media Mafia — Paul Nicoletti, who is in charge of the porn copyright racket in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois (in Illinois he was lately formally replaced by Mary K. Schulz, but he still curates her most important cases). In addition, Nicoletti actively files Guardaley/Voltage non-porn lawsuits in Michigan.
Nicoletti was accused of participation in a mortgage fraud scheme as early as in 2006. In fact, a couple of lawsuits were filed in the Oakland County court by banks and mortgage companies (see the list below). A blog that tracks mortgage frauds described the allegations as follows¹:
The lawsuit describes a scheme in which one or more of the defendants (referred to as the facilitating parties) would identify a residential property or vacant lot in Birmingham or Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and would obtain an appraisal from one of the appraiser defendants that was far in excess of the actual fair market value of the property. The properties were purchased from the existing owner in a one or two step transaction in which the purchase or purchase and immediate resale resulted in a purchase price far in excess of the property’s value. The facilitators would utilize straw borrowers who were paid for their participation and the facilitators would submit false information to Fifth Third concerning the straw borrowers. The lawsuit further alleges that many closings on the fraudulent loans were arranged with the knowledge and participation of the title agency so the down payment was actually generated from the mortgage funds contributed by Fifth Third. Some of the transactions involved false HUD-1s that did not reflect the actual sources and recipients of funds from the closing proceeds.
It only took a decade to finally criminally charge the crook. Today I learned that on 6/28/2015 Paul Nicoletti was indicted by the Grand Jury on four counts: one count of “Bank fraud conspiracy” (18 U.S.C. § 1349), and three counts of “Bank fraud, aiding and abetting” (18 U.S.C. § 1344(2)).
According to the indictment, Nicoletti’s role in the criminal conspiracy was significant:
Paul Nicoletti would knowingly facilitate the fraudulent real estate transactions by acting as the title agent, coordinating and conducting the real estate closings, preparing HUD-1 Settlement Statements, and disbursing the proceeds of the mortgage loans […]
And those disbursements were quite fat: the counts 2-4 specify:
- $1,754,380 on the $2,660,000 loan
- $1,385,959 on the $2,660,000 loan
- $1,824,156 on the $3,570,000 loan
Now, Nicoletti and his bosses in the Miami Troll Center had guts to continue filing lawsuits in Michigan and Illinois after the indictment: in MIED Nicoletti filed 10 Malibu Media shakedown cases on 9/1, and 19 cases on the very day of the indictment — 6/23. Two cases were filed on behalf of Lipscomb’s patent trolling outfit, Hawk Technologies on 8/7. In addition, the scumbag filed numerous other Guardaley/Voltage-driven lawsuits (9 Clear Skies Nevada mass cases on 9/9, 17 Cobbler Nevada mass cases on 8/6).
I don’t know how long it will take for the feds to prosecute and (hopefully) incarcerate the crook, but I will pray for it to happen sooner rather than later: this parasite must be locked up ASAP to prevent further harm to people.
Two days ago I wrote about Lipscomb’s return to California with the help of a rookie attorney Brenna Erlbaum, who already filed over 30 extortion lawsuits in CAND over the last week. Here is a piece of advice to Ms. Erlbaum: if you lie down with dogs, you’ll wake up with fleas; you will be judged by the lowest denominator that was set by Kotzker and Nicoletti.
The last note: I was disgusted by this news, but hardly surprised²: in my opinion, those who knowingly abuse an imperfect copyright law to extract huge sums of money from citizens, ruining families and careers in the process, have already crossed the line, and revelations of another fraudulent conduct don’t really add anything new to the portraits of racketeers with law licenses.
(United States of America vs. D-1 Paul Nicoletti, MIED 15-cr-20382)
Searching the Oakland County court site results in a list of 12 lawsuits where Paul Nicoletti and/or Nicoletti & Associates were sued by individuals and institutions (Plaintiff/Case number):
- LEVY HELEN (1996-515050-CK)
- FABRIZIO & NICOLETTI (1997-545870-CZ)
- APPOLLO FINANCIAL SERVICES INC (1999-017473-NZ)
- DREILICH MARIE (2004-055703-NM) — Detroit Metro Times: Nightmare on Highbury Court (Parts 1 & 2)
- CLD INC (2004-059677-CK)
- FIFTH THIRD MORTGAGE MI (2005-070592-CZ)
- FIDELITY NATIONAL TITLE INS CO (2008-092706-CK)
- SUMMIT BLOOMFIELD (2010-108654-CK)
- RASOR JAMES (2011-121762-NM)
- EXACT TITLE INS AGENCY (2012-124262-NM)
- AMERICAN EXPRESS CENTURION BANK (2014-144468-CK: Complaint)
- PNC BANK (2015-148227-CB: Complaint)
10 cases were disposed, but the last two are still alive. American Express Centurion Bank and PNC Bank both accuse Nicoletti of refusing to pay business credit card debt: $41,106.83 and $35,929.04 respectively.
- Malibu Media attorney Jason Kotzker moves to stay FTC civil case pending the resolution of criminal proceedings against him
Today Paul Nicoletti was arraigned, signed the acknowledgement of indictment, and pled not guilty. He will be represented by a court appointed attorney John R. Minock. Nicoletti was released on $10,000 bond. He was ordered to surrender his passport and concealed carry permit; he is barred from “possessing a firearm, destructive device, or other dangerous weapons” and leaving the continental US (I guess these are common release conditions).
All the defense’s pre-trial documents must be filed within 20 days from today, so I’ll post updates as anything noteworthy takes place.
(Adjourned: see the 10/19/2016 update below)
Today Judge Roberts issued the scheduling order, setting the following deadlines:
- PLEA CUT-OFF: OCT. 23, 2015 (Call Court prior to the cut off to schedule a plea hearing)
- TRIAL DATE AND TIME: NOV. 23 2015 AT 9:00 AM
- PRETRIAL MOTIONS cannot be filed after: OCT. 9, 2015 without permission from the Court. RESPONSES due: per local rule. REPLY due: per local rule.
- MOTION HEARING DATE: N/A
- MOTIONS IN LIMINE cannot be filed after: NOV. 9, 2015 without permission from the Court. RESPONSES TO MOTIONS IN LIMINE due: NOV. 16, 2015
- PRETRIAL CONFERENCE & HEARING ON MOTIONS IN LIMINE (if necessary): to be set if necessary
- DEADLINE FOR WITNESS LISTS, PROPOSED VOIR DIRE, JURY INSTRUCTIONS, LIST OF EXHIBITS AND STIPULATION OF METHOD FOR REMOVING ALTERNATE JURORS: NOV. 5, 2015
It appears that the feds tried to negotiate a plea with Nicoletti a year ago, before indicting him. A “miscellaneous” case 14-mc-51286 was filed in MIED on 9/9/2014. The docket lists only two documents, both dealing with the appointment of the federal defendant — the very same John Minock who defends Nicoletti in the present case.
The audio of the 9/18 arraignment is now recapped. Holy shit! This guy is nuts: he asked the court to let him keep his CPL (concealed pistol license) because of “crazy online people” who made death threats and posted attorneys’ addresses.
I wanted to make a statement regarding these claims, but TAC’s comment didn’t leave anything to add:
I would be really interested to see evidence of these alleged death threats.
If someone actually attached to us is doing it, we’d run them out on a rail.
(You can hear the disbelief of the claims being true in my words)
That behavior is unacceptable and damages the work we do for Does.
We do not tolerate it, we do not advocate for it.
The other side of that coin is this is not the first (nor the last I bet) time we will have been accused of doing horrible things. Funny those things never actually pan out, mostly because I think the Copyright Trolls do not understand the ethics we adhere to. They have tried and failed to portray us a bad actors, yet they persist hoping someone will believe the hype.
As to information posted online, public information is public. Cry me a river.
While they do dislike what it is we do, we know where the lines are and don’t cross them. We do not advocate violence against them. We are beating them by being above board and not sinking to their level of intimidating people to get what we want.
They really should stop using their fear of us exposing them as deceitful, lying scum as a crutch to try and shift the balance to their favor.
The pretrial motion deadline (October 9) passed without a single document filed, which indicates a high probability of a plea deal. The next deadline — plea cut-off — is October 23.
The trial has been moved to June 7th, 2016:
The Court, having reviewed and considered the stipulation of the parties,
dated October 14, 2014, and it appearing that additional time is necessary to allow
counsel to review voluminous discovery material, explore potential pretrial
motions, and to engage in possible pretrial plea negotiations, and to adequately
prepare for trial should a trial be necessary.
The new dates are:
- Pretrial motion cut-off: 4/12/2016
- The plea cut-off: 5/3/2016
- Motion in limine cut-off: 5/24/2016
- Trial: 6/7/2016 at 9:00 AM
Yesterday was a plea cut-off day. However, today the parties stipulated to move the trial date and the related deadlines by four months. The judge issued an order shortly after. The new new dates are:
- Pretrial motion cut-off: 6/6/2016
- The plea cut-off: 9/2/2016
- Motion in limine cut-off: 9/23/2016
- Witness lists, proposed voir dire, jury instructions, etc.: 10/13/2016
- Trial: 10/17/2016 at 9:00 AM
It looks like Nicoletti is trying to litigate by attrition — by requesting more and more documents from the government at the last moment. The government is fighting back, but Nicoletti’s tactics is working so far: the trial date was postponed again, for the third time.
- The plea cut-off: 1/9/2017
- Motion in limine cut-off: 2/20/2017
- Trial: 3/21/2017 at 9:00 AM
- Motion in limine cut-off: 3/3/2017
- The plea cut-off: 4/18/2017
- Trial: 6/12/2017 at 9:00 AM
Defendant is an attorney. Counsel and Defendant are completely at odds regarding how the case should be handled, including matters of trial strategy, such as what theory to pursue and whether certain critical evidence should be presented, including expert testimony.
In addition, Defendant has stated he does not believe that counsel has a sufficient understanding of the subject matter of the case, that counsel is not prepared and has not prepared properly, and that counsel should have requested the assistance of a second court appointed lawyer to represent Defendant.
The breakdown of the relationship is of such a strong nature that counsel cannot and should not represent Defendant.
Nicoletti filed a response, in which he conceded that he needs another defense lawyer to take over the case, but wants Minock to stay:
Defendant submits that even though Mr. Minock has engaged in malpractice and ethical violation, he should not be allowed to withdraw and force another lawyer to clean up the mess he has made. New Defense Counsel should be appointed but Mr. Minock should be ordered to assist new counsel in forming a competent Defense Team.
One particular claim in Nicoletti’s opposition is simply crazy if true (Craig Weier is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who signed the indictment):
[…] Defense Counsel is trying to withdraw based upon Defendant’s legitimate concerns regarding the AUSA’s prosecutorial misconduct. The Defendant’s concerns stem from Nicholas Weier, Esq. (the son of Craig Weier that was living at home with Craig Weier) initiating contact with the Defendant via email, texting, and then appearing at Defendant’s Office for a job interview, three years prior to Defendant’s indictment in this matter. While Craig Weier claims it was all a coincidence, it is virtually impossible for it to be, especially since Nicholas Weier was applying for his first real job as a lawyer after passing the bar exam. Recent political events have demonstrated far more unusual events involving the government, the FBI, and others. The appearance of impropriety is astonishing and Defense Counsel has flat out refused for the duration of his appointment to shed light on what is claimed to be a coincidence.
@fightcopytrolls Minock's motion was granted today after the hearing. This will obviously cause more delay which may have been the goal.
— Raul (@Raul15340965) April 29, 2017
Looks like Nicoletti’s plan to delay the trial by creating the drama described in the previous update worked as planned: the trial date is delayed again (I lost the count of postponements), this time till 3/19/2018. That’s exactly 1,000 days since the 6/23/2016 indictment.
¹ This blog post was removed after this story was published (I replaced the link with a reference to an imperfect Wayback Machine’s snapshot).
² It is worth noting that a defense attorney Paul Overhouser mentioned Nicoletti’s other shenanigans in the past.