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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Defendants Admit Coordinated Fraud on San Diego Bankruptcy Court

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas W. Pilchak (619) 546-9709 or Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey D. Hill (619) 546-7924

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – July 2, 2019

SAN DIEGO – Two residents of Laguna Beach admitted today to perpetrating a complicated scheme to defraud the bankruptcy court using sham transactions, fake people, and lies under oath. 

During a hearing this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara L. Major, both Evan P. Dameshek and David Greg Leppo pleaded guilty to Bankruptcy Fraud. 

Dameshek, 57, owned and operated TriPharma LLC, a Laguna Beach company with claims against Imaginetix, Inc.—a company in bankruptcy before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Margaret Mann.  When Judge Mann directed Imaginetix to pay TriPharma’s former attorney, who held the money based on a fee dispute, Dameshek and Leppo devised a scheme to defraud all of them. Specifically, Dameshek and Leppo admitted in their guilty pleas that they created a fake agreement to make it appear that $3.2 million of TriPharma’s claims were sold to Leppo’s offshore company, Dutch Harbour Financial. 

To make the fake “purchase” seem real, Dameshek and Leppo arranged for Dameshek’s associate  to wire $200,000 to Leppo’s company, which Leppo then used to “purchase” Tripharma’s claim.  Dameshek admitted that he actually returned the “purchase” money to his associate the same day it was received, minus $40,000 that Leppo kept for himself.  

Leppo, also 57, admitted to directing two of his employees to sign agreements on behalf of Dutch Harbour, and using the name “David Greg” instead of his real full name, in order to distance himself from the sham transaction. 

Dameshek admitted that after completing the phony sale, he instructed Leppo to send a letter as “David Greg” to Imaginetix, demanding money on Dutch Harbour’s behalf, in violation of the bankruptcy court’s order. When Imaginetix refused, Dameshek posed as “Dutch Harbour” to contact Imaginetix’s creditors, and made the same demand. 

Based on the fraud, a payment of over $282,000 was made to “Dutch Harbour” before the bogus scheme came to light. Dameshek, however, persisted with the fraud by filing a declaration as “Robert Paige” – a person he invented – falsely claiming that the sham purchase was a real transaction. 

“White collar criminals cannot escape justice by dressing up their lies in complex transactions or overseas shell companies,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer.  “The entire judicial process depends upon witnesses telling the truth.  Our office will hold accountable anyone who tries to defraud the court—whether by simple perjury, or an elaborate scheme like this one.”

“The FBI is dedicated to uncovering all criminal conduct in the cases we investigate,” said Special Agent in Charge Scott Brunner.  “This complicated fraud scheme, which has the effect of degrading the integrity of the bankruptcy system, is another example of the FBI’s determination to ensure no stone goes unturned to reveal the illegal acts of Defendants like Mr. Leppo and Mr. Dameshek.”

Dameshek and Leppo are scheduled to be sentenced on September 16, 2019, before U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Battaglia.

Leppo was also one of 12 individuals indicted in July 2016 for his involvement in Segal’s Lucky Lady Sports Book.  On April 4, 2019, Leppo pleaded guilty to running an illegal gambling business in that matter in case number 16-cr-1695-BEN, which is now set for sentencing on September 16, 2019, before United States District Judge Roger T. Benitez.

DEFENDANTS                     Case Number 19-cr-0903-AJB

Evan P. Dameshek                  Laguna Beach, CA                 Age: 57

David Greg Leppo                  Laguna Beach, CA                 Age: 57

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Bankruptcy Fraud – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 157

Maximum penalty: Five years in prison, $250,000 fine (or twice the pecuniary gain or loss), restitution and forfeiture.

DEFENDANT                       Case Number 16-cr-1695-BEN

David Greg Leppo                  Laguna Beach, CA                 Age: 57

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Illegal Gambling Business – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1955

Maximum penalty: Five years in prison, $250,000 fine (or twice the pecuniary gain or loss), forfeiture.

AGENCY

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Topic(s): 
Bankruptcy
Press Release Number: 
CAS19-0602-Dameshek
Updated July 2, 2019