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Thursday, July 25, 2013 02:50 pm

Jeffrey Parsons accused of lying

Lawyer alleges fraud

Embattled entrepreneur Jeffrey Parsons concealed assets and fibbed under oath in the course of bankruptcy proceedings, according to the trustee in charge of Parsons’ pending Chapter 7 case filed last fall.

Jeffrey Richardson, the trustee, says that Parsons underreported income in sworn statements and concealed more than $1 million from hundreds of creditors that include the Internal Revenue Service, vendors, landlords and customers who went unpaid after selling gold and other valuables to THR and Associates, Parsons’ Springfield-based company.

In the span of six weeks after declaring bankruptcy last September, Parsons, through his son Jacob, sold more than $298,000 in gold and other precious metals at The Gold Center in Springfield, contrary to federal bankruptcy laws designed to ensure that creditors are paid and assets are not hidden, Richardson says.

The sale of precious metals immediately after Parsons declared bankruptcy was one of 16 instances in which Richardson says that Parsons, best known for buying and selling gold at shows set up in hotels across the nation, concealed income and assets contrary to bankruptcy law. In his bankruptcy petition, Parsons revealed no income for 2011, saying that he hadn’t yet filed a tax return. But he raked in plenty that year, according to Richardson.

“On May 9, 2011, there appears to have been a wire transfer from The Gold Center to your personal account for $997,685.10,” Richardson observed during an oral examination of Parsons last January that was akin to a deposition.

“To my personal bank account?” Parsons responded.

“Yeah,” Richardson replied.

“Well, it must still be sitting there, then,” said Parsons, who was under oath at the time. “I’m not familiar with any amount coming from anybody into a personal account to the account of Jeff Parsons.”

That, Richardson says in court papers, is not true.

“The statements of the debtor were knowingly false and fraudulent in that the debtor knew and understood at the time he answered those questions that the transfer in question was made to his personal account on May 9, 2011,” Richardson writes in a motion asking that Parsons not be discharged from bankruptcy.

Richardson says that Parsons used his son Jacob, his girlfriend Kymberly Haberman and an employee named Lance Stone to hide and liquidate THR assets. Prior to filing for bankruptcy, Parsons took coins, precious metal and other valuables owned by THR to a storage unit in Havana, then turned the property over to either his son or his son’s company called Uncle Buck’s Trading Post, Richardson writes. Parsons swore to the bankruptcy court that his gross income last fall was $4,000 a month that he earned as a consultant for Uncle Buck’s Trading Post. But Richardson says that he has a sworn statement from Jacob Parsons saying that his father was being paid $4,000 per week.

Two months before Jeffrey Parsons filed for bankruptcy, he gave precious metal worth nearly $17,300 to Haberman to sell at The Gold Center, Richardson says. Stone sold nearly $32,000 of precious metal belonging to THR about the same time, Richardson alleges. One month before declaring bankruptcy, Parsons gave his son a bag of diamonds and two motorcycles so that Jacob Parsons could lease a building in Jacksonville, Richardson says. The landlord, acting on Jeffrey Parsons’ instructions, then gave $40,000 in cashier’s checks to Jacob Parsons, says Richardson, who says the deal was made to defraud creditors, including the IRS.

Parsons, who could not be reached for comment, could end up a defendant in criminal court, according to Jon Gray Noll, a Springfield defense attorney who is familiar with bankruptcy law.

“Over the years, we have seen that come about in situations where the (bankruptcy) trustee feels, based upon all the evidence, that perjury, fraud or concealment of assets has occurred,” Noll said. “Our experience would dictate that bankruptcy judges do not suffer well even the slightest hint of misleading or false actions by a debtor.”

Noll had high praise for Richardson, Parsons’ accuser.

“Jeffrey Richardson is a consummate attorney who knows the bankruptcy law as well or better than anyone in central Illinois,” Noll said.

Parsons and his company are facing dozens of lawsuits from landlords, vendors and other creditors who say they haven’t been paid. THR and Associates has bounced checks to employees and customers throughout the nation, which has led to investigations by attorneys general in Illinois and other states.

Scrutiny has not, apparently, dampened Parsons’ enthusiasm for buying and selling valuables. As recently as March, he was on the road buying and selling valuables in Indiana and Kentucky under the name Uncle Buck’s Trading Post. His M.O. has not changed. Gary Suisman, publisher of the Journal & Courier in Lafayette, Ind., says that his newspaper is still owed for advertisements placed to promote buying shows last spring.

Contact Bruce Rushton at brushton@illinoistimes.com.
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