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 Post subject: Alleged Meridian Ponzi Scheme: Survivors and Supporters Page
PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 1:04 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:52 am
Posts: 46
Hello. I started this thread for people who might have been affected by the recent meltdown of Seattle based Meridian Group of Companies and the pending Federal fraud, wire fraud and bankruptcy fraud charges against its founder, principal, CEO and General Counsel* Frederick Darren Berg. Times being what they are, perhaps a gathering place is in order.

It seems that this story has affected a lot of people. Perhaps we can use this thread as a way of communicating with each other and helping law enforcement do their job.



*See Post #3


Last edited by Bus Bear on Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:28 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Meridian Ponzi Scheme: Victims and Supporters Page
PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:26 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:20 pm
Posts: 17
That Marginal One....

checking the site out...

Darren was shown just who the Marginal One exactly is the other day...


Last edited by That Marginal One on Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Meridian Ponzi Scheme: Victims and Supporters Page
PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:15 pm 
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Posts: 46
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):
Quote:
At hearing,MTR Western’s representative and “general counsel,” 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):

Quote:
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


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 Post subject: Re: Meridian Ponzi Scheme: Victims and Supporters Page
PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 2:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 1:15 pm
Posts: 12
As this disgusting scam continues to unravel, it continues to claim more victims as the Meridian riff-raff (aka "agents") continue to quietly, but arrogantly threaten and harass its victims. Berg and his "agents" deliberately pitted family members against each other; lied to hundreds of investors; tried to deceive law enforcment on numerous occasions; fleeced money from people across the demographic spectrum, be they old, young, greedy, hard working, even a grandmother with Alzheimers disease; and others who lost their life savings. And they still have cajones to try and keep these victims silent?

It's well known that Berg didn't work alone! As the investigation net widens, the cockroaches are trying to scurry back into the walls. But not without first taking their pound of flesh from those who "dare" speak out against them.

How many others reading this page have been outrightly "threatened" or "scared" into silence by the Meridian hangers-on? No one should be scared off by these thugs or allow them to silence you! File a victim impact statement, get in touch with law enforcement. Talk to the local press, the wider media and the trustee. Get the word out! They can only get away with their threats if people remain silent. Just as with any predatory abuser, your silence is their only insurance that they won't get caught.

Surely, the Meridian boys are not taking the consequences of harassing its victims too seriosuly. It'll take some time, but he*! hath no fury than investors threatened!


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 Post subject: Re: Meridian Ponzi Scheme: Victims and Supporters Page
PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 4:38 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 3:44 pm
Posts: 7
Just thought I'd reg/log on here to see if there was anything uniquely different being discussed. I guess I should wait, it's too soon to expect the kind of chat that I hoped to realise here.

I am curious to know how some of those that commented on 'The Seattle Times' (TST) recent article referencing the potential 4.3 million dollar yield from a sale of MTR came to their conclusions. Yes, I do see that there were numbers representing values and an inventory of coaches has been included in their sumation, but I have a hard time believing such blanket statements as fact in as much as who has "ALL" the facts here except the trustee and her minions?

The San Francisco (SF) yard has maybe 10 vehicles that are paid for free and clear. These vehicles range from a mini-van to a 2004 Setra 417. There are other vehicles in the yard in use in the SF Los Angeles (LA) market that are likely leased or with a lien held by some lender. I wonder just how much of this kind of mixed bag of papers on buses is to be found in the other yards.

MY NEXT COMMENT IS TO COUNTER THE CONSTANT REMARK THAT SUGGESTS THAT ANY MTR DRIVER COULD MOVE ON TO ANOTHER BUS COMPANY AND START WORK THERE IF MTR IS DISOLVED.

I have worked with the staff here in the SF market for several years and we have through trying times, some unrelated to Berg, kept our customers happy and we enjoy the work that we perform and are not interested in moving into the roster of any of our competitors in this market.

If you can think reality here, just think where any new hire is placed in the line up when it comes to work assignments. Are you who is so cavalier when it comes to my livelyhood willing to move back to the bottom of the heap in your life's work thanks to some arbitrary peeps that make these life altering decisions?

So, I for one, (and I'm not alone in this) applaud DCarey for her decision to sell as a whole MTR where indeed the new owner may at some juncture let some chaff go, but overall, the employee behind the wheel is not where I expect to see dramatic loping of capitals.


Last edited by midoscentavos on Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Meridian Ponzi Scheme: Victims and Supporters Page
PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:33 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 3:44 pm
Posts: 7
Hi again comrades. My first post here was me ranting over some issues I have with some know-it-alls that have continually commented that MTR should be shut down for a variety of seemingly self serving reasons.

Thanks in advance for your reading my post and any comments and or support here at ScamVictimsUnited.

Let me share here with you a quote from the man himself (DB) made when five years ago I hic-cupped as his emerging bus company came to SF and was requiring any interested drivers that had been working with Mr. HC at TTours to submit an application within a limited time frame in July 2005 when everyone was working 110 plus hours bi-weekly.

DB sent me a reply to my e-mail wherein I suggested that as drivers we were at this time kind of busy and the time limit I felt was inadequate.

His reply to me was, I paraphrase, "...well, if you don't think that this is the best thing that ever happened to you then don't bother to submit your application and go on to work elsewhere."

The next ego-manical slap in our faces came when in the time span of maybe a week once notified we were accepted all the drivers had to go to Nordstroms to get their uniforms and then some poor soul at Nordstroms was whipped by their manager to get us our uniforms delivered in just a few short days.

All this mania so that on August 1st we were in our new uniforms attending a meet and greet dinner with DB in Union Square at Sears restaurant. There we were all decked out, in some cases, in poorly fitting uniforms (Nordstroms locally could not get everyone fitted in such a short time span) when in walks DB wearing his then trademark pilot's specs. dressed in a tail out green short sleeve silk shirt and wearing khaki-like shorts(?), and his feet sported the finest sandals or topsiders.

This is how he went about letting others know he had arrived. As a multi- corporate jet setting millionaire he was not going to be constrained in formal wear in front of his underlings.

The doubt over the ability for anyone to sustain all that was being promised up front would melt away over the next year or two and then one just began to believe that this guy had to be over the top wealthy to be throwing such elaborate Xmas parties and the like, as well never allowing a bus out on the road if it had percievable body damage.

ONE MORE AREA OF CONTENTION WITH THE NAYSAYERS THAT WANT MTR DISOLVED: As far as the luxury buses with all the bells and whistles is concerned. Yeah, maybe each yard has/had one or two such buses in their inventory, but not each and every bus is top of the line in amenities as some would like to have others believe. PAINT GOES A LONG WAY towards spiffing up an image and so do fine threads, DB got this down to a science. So long as the image is not tarnished by inappropriate practices, i.e. OP's money financing the glitz, then all is good. The jury is not in yet, though so many have tried and convicted DB, just remember not here at, ScamVictimsUnited.


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 Post subject: Re: Meridian Ponzi Scheme: Victims and Supporters Page
PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:13 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:52 am
Posts: 46
I probably misunderstood your comment but I didn't find the drivers to be cavalier at all -- with a few exceptions of course but you get that anywhere.


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 Post subject: Re: Meridian Ponzi Scheme: Victims and Supporters Page
PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 10:57 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 3:44 pm
Posts: 7
Bus Bear I cannot understand how you could respond with just one sentence. I thought you were more articulate and that I may have struck a chord with, not against you. :? I re'cvd the e-mail that has the links including the drop out link, I guess I'll take a hike. Before I do I want to make sure you understand I am completely depressed and dismayed over the turn of events.

When TST was releasing the story week after week as events unfolded, I registered as my2centavos and ranted or vented in the comments section in utter confusion.

Ultimately I let it be known (as I banged my keyboard in frustration) through my comments to those that know me who my2centavos was, no one else seems willing to expose themselves or else I am ignorant and can't decipher the usernames into real peeps.

DB got wind of my outing myself and asked my manager to have me call him (this was a few months back) and when I rang DB he was actually speechless, when I think about the few words he uttered, and then he hung up in a disgust/tantrum.

My comment to the idea of peeps being cavalier when they suggest I look to work elsewhere I feel is appropriate for those of us that are still employed and driving MTR buses. If you are not with MTR any longer I hope you have found gainful employment and I wish the whole lot of us to have a job next year, and the year after and for as long as we want to or can work in this ocupation that I/we have a passion for.

I was always passionate about the work, as for me work is my life. Some would say this is wrong but I've had all the things that some say is the reason they work, a means to an end. For me without this work that I am so fortunate to have there would be no end or means.

Certainly there will come a time when I will retire but I'd rather it be on my terms, not a matter that is arranged by some federal official.


Last edited by midoscentavos on Tue Dec 07, 2010 8:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Meridian Ponzi Scheme: Victims and Supporters Page
PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:10 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:20 pm
Posts: 17
Hey Two Centavos


That Tail out silk green shirt of DerBerglar...that sounds familiar!

I think its now hanging in my closet after he so cavalierly cast it off....its a nice Tommy Bahamas shirt....sure is comfy! lot nicer than the khaki jumpsuit I saw DerBergler in last week as he pleaded his case for release pending trial


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 Post subject: Re: Meridian Ponzi Scheme: Victims and Supporters Page
PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 9:24 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 3:44 pm
Posts: 7
That Marginal One (TMO), what is your take on the flight risk. You have refered to DB as DerBerglar and so I expect you are (and really so am I) certain this guy is psycopathic and couldn't tell the truth until he seeks professional psycotherapy.

Are you serious? Were you near when the shirt just got left behind and without a claimant it ended up yours? Well, TMO I think I'd feel a bit uncomfortable in those threads no matter how well they fit. Of course this is because of my one vivid image of that shirt as I shared in my earlier post. But if you like it and there is a chance that it is not the same shirt and or even had once belonged to DerBerglar.
Though it seems as if you remember for sure that it was his, once. Yes, DerBerglar did habitually cast off stuff as he moved from thing to thing.

Discusion Topics:

Did DerBerglar have an escape planned? Was Belize and $400,000 going to make a new life for FDB, DB, or JA ?

And another topic for you or Bus Bear (BB) if you feel qualified to speak about or just have an opinion about is:
What is your take on the sale of MTR as a functioning bus company? Sold as is with OCW sold seperately, jobs/customers remain intact with little interruption in the day to day of so many.

Thoughts to Ponder:

The idea that more money could be generated by selling assets (buses) that may or may not sell for suggested figures as some have noted especially as the economy is looking forward to another dip into recession seems like pie in the sky. How many MTR flagged buses are there with clear title and not with some lien held by some bank?


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 Post subject: Re: Meridian Ponzi Scheme: Victims and Supporters Page
PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 12:54 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:52 am
Posts: 46
2centavos:

I didn't mean to give you the idea that I am not interested in your posts. I am very busy all this week and next and only have a few minutes to log in and poke around.

I DO NOT work at MTR Western, although I did in the past.

To put your mind at ease regarding future employment, my MTR Western blurb on my resume complements it -- ESPECIALLY NOW because potential employers have a clear idea that we are ANYTHING BUT spoiled brats. Being good at what you do and being proud of your appearance, your coach's appearance and the quality of your work does not make you spoiled, it makes you a professional. Always be mindful of this critical difference.

I will respond to your topics when I can, but I can't right now. Keep up the posts anyway!


Last edited by Bus Bear on Sun Jan 16, 2011 8:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Meridian Ponzi Scheme: Victims and Supporters Page
PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:11 pm 
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Posts: 46
PS: DB was all about quotes. Quotes are easy to remember and very portable. When you can internalize them and make them yours, it's easier to be excellent at all times.

Sure there are negatives, but in keeping with DB's interest in quotes, I try to be polite on the internet, so I defer to the words of the late, great Eleanor Roosevelt:

"If you don't have something nice to say about someone, come sit by me."


Last edited by Bus Bear on Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Meridian Ponzi Scheme: Victims and Supporters Page
PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 3:39 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2010 2:36 pm
Posts: 7
I sure would like to hear from some of the investors who got scammed by slick Darren Berg. Or are they too embarrassed to speak up?...


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 Post subject: Re: Meridian Ponzi Scheme: Victims and Supporters Page
PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 5:27 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:20 pm
Posts: 17
Gentlemen (and Ladies)

I too have just a few minutes here and there to check in and take a look. Bus Bear is right, if I read this correctly there will be work for the good guys (i.e. drivers, mechanics, washcrew) Management? not so much...in fact the office has behaved as rats would on a sinking bus.....HR does not return phone calls....Sales and Marketing /Safety Department? all a joke trying to hold on to their illusion of potential future employ. They all will be the next ones....

On a sidenote has anyone noted that on Wikipedia there is not or no longer any mention of Darren Berg in its history?..that needs some correcting..

My 2Centavos....

As for the castoffs, I wore many hats at the operation and was also involved in cleanup,moving and storage operations ....the visible waste was just incredible...for example: Imelda Marcos decided that she tired of one pair $800.00 of brown suede shoes that had NEVER been worn. I figured the right thing to do was to find folks that in need that would actually appreciate these castoffs...this and more went on and on for years...much the same with all the Tommy Bahama resort wear. Between Goodwill and many other appreciative recipients I was able to prevent all that waste from ending up in the Garbage Can.

One thing is certain....DerBerglar saw the handmedowns being put to good use the other day.


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 Post subject: Re: Meridian Ponzi Scheme: Victims and Supporters Page
PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 5:37 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:20 pm
Posts: 17
Couple more items;

BusBear Great narration on the unfolding of the events to date....I LMAO!...
And all the mumbo jumbo slogans/quotes ...the koolaid mixer just kept on spewing the gems...
"Driven by Passion"..and "Here at Meridian we do things differently" telling eh?

2 Centavos....DerBergler (DB) Was in fact setting himself up for escape to Belize (non extradition treaty with USA)
using stolen funds...in fact whilst in L.A. - his forward base of operations, he set himself up with a swanky apt. @ 50k and a brand new 65K car...all with yet more stolen funding...

Best

TMO


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