Up until a few months ago, this is all the world knew about Darren Berg:http://www.meridianpartners.com/ceo.message.html
He was a serial entrepreneur with the Midas Touch and was the darling of Seattle-area business magazines. Seattle Business Monthly christened him as one of Seattle's top 25 Entrepreneurs in 2008:http://geogenius.com/press/top25.pdf
But then, a few months ago, his real estate empire suddenly and inexplicably imploded:http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/sundaybuzz/2012377634_sundaybuzz18.html
Then there were questions about documents:http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/blog/2010/08/meridian_bankruptcy_and_the_dueling_documents.html
Then someone started checking up on the guy and it raised more questions:http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/sundaybuzz/2012494773_sundaybuzz01.html
Then he suddenly filed for personal bankruptcy:http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2012463980_meridian28.html
The trustee appointed to oversee everything started noticing that things weren't looking so good:http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/stories/2010/08/30/daily19.html
Realizing that it may be a ponzi scheme, the bankruptcy trustee offered to pay Mr. Berg $14,000 a month to help them unravel everything to try to recoup as much money as possible for investors:http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/sundaybuzz/2012805381_sundaybuzz05.html
Then they went ahead and charged him with crimes:http://selfinvestors.com/tradingstocks/ponzi/seattles-mini-madoff-darren-berg-charged-in-350-million-ponzi/
In addition to the original charges, the FBI heaped some new ones on him -- bankruptcy fraud -- for allegedly hiding money from the bankruptcy investigation. This led to his arrest in Los Angeles:http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2013225668_berg22m.html
They considered him a flight risk so they denied him bail. They said he was trying to set up an offshore account in Belize with $400,000 they didn't know about:http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2010/10/22/Financier-berg-a-flight-risk-feds-say.html
He got indicted:http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2013469350_bergindicted19.html
He got arraigned and pled not guilty:http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2013478017_berg20.html
And on December 1st they again denied him bail:http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2013570672_meridian02.html
And this is where it stands today.
It should be noted that Mr. Berg zealously defended his companies. Some years back, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commnission fined MTR Western $500 for not giving a new-hire a pre-employment drug screen.
Mr. Berg, acting as CEO and General Counsel for MTR Western, filed an appeal to have the matter dismissed. it was not, but he did succceed in getting the fine knocked down to $200.
When the court noted that he is not a licensed attorney in the state of Washington, he explained the following (footnote 3):
At hearing,MTR Westernâ€™s representative and â€œgeneral counsel,â€ F. Darren Berg, clarified for the presiding officer that he had earned a Juris Doctor degree but was not a member of the Washington State Bar Association or of any other state bar association.
This is all well and good, except that the Seattle Times reported that he didn't actually GO to law school (minor omission):
A more current matter is the claim on several of his companies' websites that he graduated from University of Oregon. The school says there's no record he did.
In the bus world, there's the impression that Berg's education went even further.
He "paid his way through law school driving buses," reported Metro Magazine, which covers bus and rail transportation, when it profiled "10 Innovative Motorcoach Operators" in 2005.
"Berg is a graduate of the Lundquist School of Business at the University of Oregon and of the University of Oregon School of Law," said a speaker biography for Berg at a conference held last year by the National Limousine Association, a trade group for ground-transportation companies.
But UofO spokeswoman Julie Brown said Berg only attended from fall 1980 through spring 1982, and got no undergraduate or graduate degrees.
Full text here:http://wutc.wa.gov/rms2.nsf/177d98baa5918c7388256a550064a61e/79a9608ea1b04e0688257321007e614f!OpenDocument