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Tuesday, May 12, 2015 03:25 pm

He’s back, and with an alias

Parsons surfaces in Texas, national media

Embattled entrepreneur Jeffrey Parsons has surfaced in Texas – as Jeffrey Allen.

Rick McFarland, senior executive producer for KPRC television news in Houston, confirmed that a man who appeared in a news story broadcast Sunday identified himself to KPRC as Jeffrey Allen. In fact, the man who appears in the KPRC story is Jeffrey Parsons, who moved to Texas in 2013 from Springfield, where he earned and spent a fortune buying and selling precious metal and other valuables.

Parsons has been under criminal investigation for more than a year while trustees in his bankruptcy case have accused him of concealing assets and making false statements under oath. He owes more than $12 million in back wages to employees who successfully sued him in federal court, but is tens of thousands of dollars behind on court-ordered payments.

In the KPRC story titled “Man Buys Dresser, Finds Treasure Inside” that has been re-broadcast on CNN, a man called Emil Knodell, who is identified as a “self-proclaimed estate sales enthusiast,” tells about finding a drawer full of jewelry, gold and silver coins, Civil War medals and other valuables when he bought a chest of drawers this past weekend at an estate sale run by Premier Estate Sales. Jeffrey Parsons appears in the story, but isn’t identified. McFarland, however, confirmed that Parsons identified himself as Jeffrey Allen to the reporter.

In a story posted on its website, ABC News interviewed a man named Jeff Allen who is identified as an employee of Premier Estate Sales. In the ABC story, Knodell says that Allen’s first instinct upon finding the treasure was to track down the chest’s original owner.

“Jeff…the man in charge, his immediate reaction was ‘Let’s call the owner,’” Knodell told ABC News. “There never was a question about anyone keeping it, it was ‘This is fantastic, let’s call the owner and get the stuff back to them.’”

The Houston Chronicle on Monday ran a story about the found treasure and quoted a man named Jeffrey Allen, who supplied the paper with photographs of the find. A tagline appears at the end of the CNN re-broadcast of the KPRC piece stating that Premier Estate Sales has located the owner of the treasure and the valuables will be returned.

Dan Fultz, attorney for Parsons, said that he wasn’t aware that Parsons had identified himself as Allen to the media, but that’s irrelevant.

“That may be a business moniker he uses,” Fultz said. “Does it matter what his last name is? He did the honorable thing – that’s the point of the story, not what his last name is.”

Fultz said the items found in the drawer were worth $20,000, and while his client, who claims to have fallen on hard times, needed the money, Parsons’ conscience demanded that the treasure be returned to its original owner.

“This goes to show that my client, or Mr. Allen, is an extremely honorable and honest man,” Fultz said. “Let me tell you, my client certainly could have used that $20,000.”

Parsons, er, Allen, is affliated with a company called Premier Estate Sales, according to the Chronicle story and Parsons’ Facebook page. Premier Estate Sales has posted a copy of the Chronicle story on its website, which says that the company conducts estate sales from coast-to-coast.

“We also conduct going out of business sales, business liquidations, private collection sales, machinery sales and more,” the company boasts on its website. “We have experience in selling just about anything. We are master marketers and know how to draw a crowd.”

The voice mail on Parsons’ cell phone says “Hello, this is Jeff, you’ve reached Premier Estate Sales." Bree Finch, Parson’s girlfriend, is identified as the president of Premier Estate Sales on the company’s website. During a court hearing last month called by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Mills to determine why Parsons has skipped court-ordered payments to employees who are owed back wages, Parsons testified that he was working as a consultant for his girlfriend’s company.

During the hearing, Fultz confirmed that Parsons has retained him to response to a federal criminal investigation that has been pending for more than a year. Trustees in bankruptcy cases filed by Parsons personally and on behalf of his defunct company THR and Associates have accused him of hiding assets and making false statements under oath. He owes millions of dollars to creditors, according to bankruptcy filings, with one of the largest amounts being owed to the Internal Revenue Service.

Contact Bruce Rushton at brushton@illinoistimes.com


Here’s a link to the television news story picked up by CNN:

http://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2015/05/11/dnt-treasure-found-in-dresser.kprc/video/playlists/ancient-discoveries/


Here’s a link to the Houston Chronicle story: 

http://www.chron.com/houston/article/Secret-drawer-in-estate-sale-dresser-yields-trove-6255839.php


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