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Tuesday, June 18 2019 @ 12:43 PM UTC

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American Expat James Budd Drowned in Bocas del Toro

Expat TalesBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - This is going to clear a few things up. First of all, James Budd, 33 years old, drowned on Tuesday, 19 December 2011, at approximately 1:30 am near Isla Bastimentos in Bocas del Toro. The report in La Prensa had his name wrong - they reported it as "Gene Bued." Secondly James Budd was not a "tourist" in the pure sense of the word. He lived and worked in Panama and was probably in the status of a "perpetual tourist" - meaning he would jump out of the country every six months or so in order to reset his tourist status. Anyway, he wasn't just visiting. He was born on 25 December 1978, so he was about to turn 33 years old.

Living and Working in Panama: James Budd was working for an Australian couple who own a restaurant on Isla Bastimentos, and these are the people who filed the missing person report. Initial reports as they appeared in the local press seemed to indicate James Budd was in a small boat and drinking with these two other people when he suddenly decided to throw himself into the water or something. Here's the report as it appeared in the Siglo yesterday:

  • "The American James Budd, 33, drowned early Tuesday when he threw himself into the waters of the Caribbean Sea on Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro. Budd left on a boat carrying tourists in the company of two Australians and he decided to take a dip in front of Isla Bastimentos. But as time passed and Budd did not return, so his friends, in desperation, began the search. Not finding him, the Australians decided, 13 hours after the accident, to notify the authorities. The tragedy occurred at 1:30 am. After several hours of searching, the staff of the National System of Civil Protection was informed of the discovery of the body. Some fishermen found Budd's floating body.

Mostly Wrong: It now appears that information is at least partially incorrect. James Budd was reportedly traveling in his small dinghy to reach his sailboat the "Seahorse" which was anchored nearby - Budd lived on his sailboat. Apparently he fell into the water at approximately 1:30 am while traveling from the island to his boat in his dinghy. The part about him drinking before setting off in the dinghy was probably accurate. In any case, the restaurant owners filed the report with the National Civil Protection Service the next morning after they spotted his dinghy drifting in the water. Then some local fishermen spotted Budd's body floating in the water on Wednesday morning, and they alerted the SINAPROC, police, and SENAN, who recovered the body.

Official Investigation Started: The local prosecutor's office has started an official investigation into this case, as is standard procedure anytime someone loses their life in this manner. All indications are this was an accidental drowning, and the investigators of the prosecutor's office and the police detectives from the Department of Judicial Investigation (DIJ) will conduct interviews and verify the information to confirm.

Fill In The Blanks: If I got any of this wrong, or if you have any additional information, please feel free to contact me via cell phone at 6614-0451 or via email at don@panama-guide.com. As always, confidentiality respected if requested. I just want to get the whole story, and get it right. Thanks.

Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Body Of Missing American Tourist - Drowned - Found in Bocas del Toro

Expat Tales After an intense search, the staff of the National System of Civil Protection (Sinaproc), the National Police, and the National Aero Naval Service found the floating body of Gene Bued, 33, who disappeared on Monday, 19 December 2011 Bastimentos Island. Gladys Conception, the regional Director of Sinaproc, said witnesses recounted that Buede was drinking on a boat early Monday morning, when he suddenly jumped into the water and was seen no more. It is the sixteenth death by drowning this year in Bocas del Toro. (Prensa)

Editor's Comment: OK, I have a few questions. First of all I would like to confirm the name of the victim. The Panamanian media is notorious for getting the names of US citizens wrong on the first pass in cases like this. Many times their sources in the National Police will say the name to them and not spell it out, so they tend to get it wrong sometimes. I did some searching for a 33 year old American named "Gene Bued" and got nothing, which is normally an indicator that they got the name wrong. Secondly, he's called a "tourist" in this article - was he really a tourist on a short visit or was he a resident and a member of the English speaking community of expatriates living in Panama in a "perpetual tourist" status? It seems pretty clear there are witness statements indicating he was drinking and he simply decided to jump into the water at some point, so there doesn't seem to by any indication of foul play. Anyway, I would appreciate some additional information and details if anyone has them, please send to don@panama-guide.com. And as always, confidentiality protected if requested. Thanks.

Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Happy Holidays From The US Embassy in Panama

Expat TalesBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - From the US Embassy in Panama.

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USMC Toys for Tots, Friday 9 Dec, 10:00 AM, Mail Boxes Etc. Paitilla

Expat Tales On Friday, 9 December 2011 at 10:00 am, the Director of Public Affairs of the U.S. Embassy in Panama, David Searby, Sergeant Kenneth Grooms of the Marine Corps, and the President of Mail Boxes Etc. Christopher Thompson, will launch the program 'Toys for Tots', at the offices of Mail Boxes Etc., in Paitilla. Toys for Tots is an international program organized by the Marine Corps to collect toys during the Christmas season. These toys will be given to children in the poorest areas of Panama. Last year the program 'Toys for Tots' in Panama collected some 1,000 toys that were delivered before Christmas Eve. The company Mail Boxes Etc. is the local sponsor and their offices in Boquete, Coronado, Albrook and Paitilla are collection points for gifts. DAY: Friday, December 9 from 12/07/2011. TIME: 10:00 am. PLACE: Mail Boxes Etc., Marisol Building (next to McDonalds), Paitilla (Press Release)
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The Plane That Crashed in Chame Ran Out Of Gas

Expat TalesThe aircraft carrying the American Monte Wayne Pollock and Panamanian Joshua Cedeno ran out of fuel, revealed the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The aircraft left the Chame airport at 5:45 pm on Saturday and crashed 24 minutes later, killing both passengers. According to a statement from the CAA, the aircraft had no flight plan nor did they establish communications with the station. Pollock could not fly within the airspace of Panama, and Cedeño was an official of the CAA. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: Considering the scope of the fire that occurred when this ultralight aircraft crashed, I sort of question the "ran out of fuel" theory. It seems pretty clear to me there was enough fuel on board to feed the fire, and that would have been more than enough to keep the engines running. Nope, I don't buy it as a cause for this accident. I think the CAA just reached for that theory because Monte Pollack was involved in an earlier crash in 2009, in which he ran out of fuel. Or maybe the journalist who wrote this story confused the two accidents. Whatever...

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American Expat and Panamanian Co-Pilot Killed in Plane Crash at Chame

Expat Tales By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - An American expat - Monte Pollack - was killed on Saturday when the ultralight aircraft he was flying crashed near the airport in Chame. I knew Monte. He advertised for a time on this website. He was the owner and operator of PanamaSkyDive.com. I also reported on the earlier accident when another plan Monty was flying was forced to crash land in the Panama Canal next to the Amador Causeway - see: PanamaSkydive Airplane Crash Lands in Panama Canal. I called Monte and asked him what happened, and he said one engine quit. Apparently a subsequent investigation by the Panamanian Civil Aviation Authority determined he had run out of fuel, and they blamed the accident on him for failure to properly plan for the flight. As a result of that accident they refused to recognize his US pilot's license issued by the FAA, and the was supposedly prohibited from flying in Panamanian airspace unless he was in an aircraft with a US tail number that was either coming into or leaving Panama. Meaning, he was not supposed to be flying here, so maybe that explains why he had a certified Panamanian pilot with him in the aircraft at the time of the crash. The aircraft that crashed was an AirCam Ultralight that Monte did not own. He was reportedly supposed to be repairing some minor scratches on the aircraft, and according to the owner, Monte did not have his permission to be flying the plane at the time of the crash.

They Were Friends and Customers: From Frank at La Ruina in Gorgona - "Don, These were clients and freinds of ours. Please do an article for them. Thanks, Frank."

Picture Taken The Day Before The Crash: I received the following via email: "Hi Don, yesterday afternoon crashed a twin-engine ultralight aircraft in Chame. (AirCam) Both pilots were killed, unfortunately, one American and one Panamanian. Knew the American, Monte, who was a skydiver and pilot.Very sad. Day before I took a picture of him and the plane. Attached. Our thoughts are with their families. J."

La Prensa's Report On The Accident: An American pilot who was banned from flying in Panama and a Panamanian were killed Saturday when the aircraft in which they were flying clandestinely crashed, reported the National Police. A spokesman of the security forces said the pilot, identified as Monty Polo (Editor: They got the name wrong), "was prohibited from flying in the country because in 2009 he crashed an aircraft in Amador (at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal)." Polo died alongside the Panamanian Josué Cedeño, said the source, who said because it was a clandestine flight, they don't know from where they took off, and they only know that they crashed at 17:30 hours local (22.30 GMT) in the town of Chame, about 80 kilometers West of Panama City. The aircraft, "a piece of sports equipment with engine number N-53, was devastated," and its registration number is unknown registration number, he said. The investigation to establish the cause of the accident is in the hands of the prosecutor on duty and the Civil Aviation Authority.

El Siglo's Report On The Accident: (Translated from Spanish) "The American pilot, Monte Wayne Pollock, who died in a plane crash in Chame on Saturday, when he was at the controls of an ultralight sports aircraft, had been prohibited from flying in Panama since 2009 due to his history of violations. According to a press release from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Panama, Pollock's application to have his FAA pilot's license from the United States recognized in Panama had been denied, so therefore, he had no Panamanian license to fly. This pilot was involved in an accident at the entrance of the Panama Canal, because he did not plan the flight correctly, because the aircraft ran out of fuel after it had been used for parachute jumps. Furthermore, according to the AAC, Pollock was not authorized by this entity to conduct this kind of activity. For this reason, the AAC reiterated in the press release that this pilot was not entitled to fly in Panama's airspace. With his American license he could only fly in US airspace or abroad (meaning, outside of Panama.) This pilot few aircraft number AC-53 without authorization from the AAC, without establishing a flight plan and without communicating with the corresponding station. The owner of the aircraft involved in the accident, whose name was not released, reported Pollack flew aircraft AC-53 without his permission. What's more, the American had replaced some fuel lines, a change the owner had not requested. The crash also killed the Panamanian Josué Cedeño Ospina, who was a commercial pilot. Cedeño Ospina worked as an air traffic controller in the Traffic Control Center Radar of the AAC, but he was not working at the time of the accident. The AAC announced that investigations are being conducted."

Photo Of The Crash Scene As It Appeared in El Siglo

Estrella's Report On The Accident: (Translated From Spanish) " A small plane crashed yesterday near the Chame airport and two crew died. The plane, with motor number N-53, took off from the airport at Chame, without authorization from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), said a source. The agency launched an investigation into the confusing incident. The plane had no flight plan, stressed the source. The National Police in the Western part of the province of Panama received a call about an explosion at the site, explained Police Deputy Commissioner Rigoberto Dominguez on the channel 2 TVN news broadcast. He said when the police officers arrived they found both the pilot - an American - and the passenger - a Panamanian - were burned up to 60% of their bodies. Firemen also went to the scene, who advised people not to approach the area of ​​the accident because it could explode, according to a report on TVN news. As of last night the causes of the accident were unknown."

El Siglo Report from Sunday: "Monty Polo (Editor: They initially got the name wrong) and Josué Cedeño died yesterday after his ship ultralight (sport aircraft) with motor number N-53 crashed in Rio Chame, located in the district of the same name. The accident occurred at 5:30 yesterday afternoon, said a source from the Civil Aviation Authority. It was learned that Polo, a U.S. citizen, had restrictions for flying in Panama. The source added that on Friday the gringo made an unsupervised flight that was not recorded by the institution. Josué Cedeño, who was Panamanian, seemed to be a minor. Polo's History: In 2009, the aircraft with registration number N511 - being flown by the gringo - crashed into the sea, near the Amador Causeway, when flying from Punta Chame to the Albrook airport. At that time it was said the accident was the result of a mechanical breakdown."

Channel 2 TVN Report: (Translated from Spanish) "The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), said through a press release that poor planning by the pilot of the aircraft AC-53, caused them to run out of fuel, which led to the accident. They report that the American pilot, Monte Wayne Pollock, was not authorized by the Civil Aviation Authority of Panama for that activity. He could only make flights with this American pilot's license on American aircraft to abroad, and not within Panama. The CAA added in the press release that Pollock began a flight at about 5:45 pm, taking off from the airport in Chame, taking with him as a companion the Panamanian Josué Cedeño Ospina, who was a commercial pilot and who worked as an air traffic controller at the Radar Traffic Control Center of the CAA. The CAA also reported that Pollock was to help the owner of the aircraft to repair some scratches, but the owner reported that "Mr. Pollock had used the aircraft on Saturday 3 December without my authorization, which is why I proceeded to call him and I asked him to not use it."

The Community Responds: Apparently there's some parts of what's being reported by the local Panamanian press that are incorrect:

  • "Please, Do not be so quick to pass judgement. I have information from an extremely reliable source that the information in La Prensa is grossly incorrect. The pilot and the ultralight aircraft were fully legal. G."

  • "It amazes me how fast, presumably educated people make dumb assumptions. Most small private aircraft flights could be considered clandestine since they fly VFR and are not required to file flight plans as long as they are in VFR conditions. I learned how to fly in Panama back in the early 80's. My instructor at the old Patilla Airport was all about safety, rules and regulations. For more fun and excitement I was a member of the Ultralight club at the old Albrook airstrip flying one and two seater ultralights up and down the coast landing on beaches and Chame was a regular stopover. I wasn't smuggling dope or doing anything illegal. Don't assume."

  • "FYI pilots flying at uncontrolled airports are NOT required to file a flight plan unless they are going to fly instruments (in the clouds or IFR), if in fact both men were pilots on board indicates structural failure, mechanical failure, or possibly extreme turbulence resulting in a low altitude stall ... 2 pilots not being able to salvage a landing says it all. Thank God we dont have to file a flight plan everytime we fly - it does nothing to increase safety - as we are on radar and talking to ATC the moment we climb out of ground clutter. VFR "good weather" flying is a lot of fun - and there is no need for a flight plan. The flight plan requires honesty anyway - if i call in a flight plan and say im "john doe" and im flying from "a to b" - in a cessna with a fake tail number no one knows anyway it goes in the computer as John Doe from A-B in Cessna 1234....the Government does not ask for secret codes or numbers...just basic info- and they put down whatever you tell them- God Bless both those pilots - they flew not because they had to - but because they wanted to.....all of us pilots take that risk each time we fly with pleasure."

Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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"Wild Bill" Asks For Trial Date To Be Set - Key Evidence Apparently Missing

Expat TalesAfter the reconstruction of events conducted in the province of Bocas del Toro, specifically in Aguacate y Caucheros, William Holbert said he was the sole perpetrator of the murders committed and he asked for a trial date to be set soon. Nedelka Diaz, the Second Superior Prosecutor in the province of Chiriqui, said "Wild Bill," who was accompanied at all times by his lawyer Claudia Sotto during the reconstruction process, was cooperative and he made ​​it clear that he committed the crimes alone. "At all times Holbert answered questions from the experts and prosecutors," said Diaz. (Critica)

Nedelka Díaz - The Second Superior Prosecutor in Chiriqui

Editor's Comment: And, there you have it. That's what happens when people who know things don't come forward to testify to the authorities. Now apparently William Dathan Holbert has this prosecutor convinced he is solely responsible for all of these murders, and that his girlfriend Laura Michelle Reese had nothing to do with it. And this despite the fact that I know of a witness who literally observed Laura Michelle Reese assisting Holbert to carry the body of Bo Icelar and dump it in Holbert's boat, and to look for and clean up drops of blood in the bar. And despite the fact that Holbert himself told the Duckworth's that Laura Michele Reese was standing there right in front of Jeff Kline in Costa Rica, asking him "do you like the spaghetti" when Holbert smashed him in the head with a hammer, and the two of them laughed out loud when Kline's face fell into the plate. So either some of these people who know what Laura Michelle Reese did come forward and testify against her, or she will literally get away with murder. Remember the case of Debra Ann Ridgley in the murder of Toni Grossi Abrams? They went to Colombia and obtained (paid for) a confession from Didier Osorio in Colombia, and based on that confession Ridgley walked. Hey Bocas dudes - it's obviously time to get some people motivated to come forth. Better late than never. I mean it's like this - I know what happened, you know what happened, but the prosecutor has to be able to prove it in a court of law. This will come down to two specific people (at least) who have yet to testify, that I know of. And there might be more. If you two don't come forward and this woman walks, then your failure to act will result in justice not being done. It's up to you. All of a sudden it also becomes important that Costa Rica press charges against these two, so if she's acquitted in Panama then they can dump her across the border.

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Another Version of Murder / Suicide in Villa Lucre

Expat TalesHe killed his wife and then committed suicide. That's what happened yesterday morning, Wednesday, at a residence at Altos de La Pulida, in Villa Lucre. It happened around 11:00 am inside a room of house number J-6. Authorities identified the victims as Maribel Romero Munoz, 60, who had a stab wound in the stomach, and Simon Ortega, 56, wounded in the left arm. According to unofficial versions, Simon called his brother at about 8:00 in the morning and asked him to come to the house because he was going to kill his wife and then take his own life. His brother called the police. But when they arrived it was too late; they were both dead. The authorities began an investigation. The motive for this bloody event is not known. (Critica)

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Details on Murder / Suicide in Villa Lucre

Expat TalesThe residents of the neighborhood of La Pulida, First Street, in Villa Lucre felt shock and sadness on Wednesday afternoon, after they learned of a murder / suicide in their neighborhood. Simon Alexander Ortega, 58, who allegedly had mental problems, took a knife and buried it into the heart of his wife, Maribel Romero Munoz, 56. The heinous act left the defenseless woman on the floor slowly bleeding to death. Seeing the result of his action, the murderer, nicknamed 'Maguiver', called his foster brother to say he had killed Maribel. Without saying goodbye, he decided to hang up the phone, and he used the same knife to cut his own throat, causing him to fall to the floor, suffering an agonizing death. The discovery of the two bodies occurred at approximately 1:30 pm in house number J6 owned by the Ortega family, after the mother of the murder victim said it seemed strange that the couple had not yet been lifted. The residents claimed they had not heard any kind of fight or scandal that would call their attention.

Local residents said the couple was very quiet. They had been living in the sector for two and a half years. Simon Ortega was retired from the Government of the United States and had his own carpentry workshop a few houses down. The his wife Maribel Romero was a retired teacher. Forensics experts, officials from the office of the Auxiliary Prosecutor recovered the bodies, an activity that ended at 4:30 pm. On Saturday November 19 a similar incident arose when Jorge Elgueta, 39, cut the throat of his wife, Karina Marquelis Tunon, 32, and then hanged himself. (Siglo)

Editor's Comment: OK, this article says Simon Ortega was retired from the Government of the United States, but it does not say whether or not he was a US citizen.

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American Expat Kills and Beheads Wife Then Commits Suicide in Panama

Expat TalesThe couple was found dead in a residence in Villa Lucre. It is assumed the woman was stabbed to death by her husband, who then later beheaded her, according to early reports. The authorities have launched an investigation, although it is presumed to be a crime of passion. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: The headline of this article as it appeared on Telemetro was "American kills wife and then commits suicide in Villa Lucre." This news article about a murder/suicide first appeared yesterday afternoon when the bodies were discovered, but the initial reports did not include two details - that the husband was an American citizen, and that he had reportedly beheaded his wife after murdering her. I don't know who was involved in this, so if you know or if you have any other details or information about what happened, please send to don@panama-guide.com. And of course, as always confidentiality guaranteed if desired. Thanks.

Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Murders Of Foreigners Are Being Reconstructed in Bocas Del Toro

Expat TalesWilliam Dathan Holbert, also known as "Wild Bill", was taken yesterday morning to the province of Bocas del Toro, where he participated in the reconstruction of the murders to which he has confessed. With his feet shackled and handcuffed, Wild Bill came out smiling to board the prison system bus that would bring him to the province of Bocas del Toro, escorted by two police cars. When leaving the prison, William Dathan Holbert only managed to say that his wife, Laura Reese, will not participate in the reconstruction of the murders, because he claims she is innocent and has no connection with the crimes. "Good day, God bless you all," said William Dathan Holbert, as he left the public jail in David. Today, Tuesday November 22, there will be the reconstruction of the murder of Cheryl Lynn Hughes, while on Thursday morning will be the reconstructions of the deaths of Bo Icelar and the Brown family, including their minor son Watson Brown. (Siglo)

Editor's Comment: And there's Holbert's never ending story line - he did it all himself, and Laura Michelle Reese had nothing to do with any of it. Sorry, but I'm not buying it. In fact, I know otherwise. I just hope and pray the Panamanian prosecution can figure it out. The problem is there are key and critical witnesses - people who literally saw Laura Michelle Reese helping to carry Bo Icelar's body - and I don't know if they have ever come forward. If not, then that woman might eventually get away with murder. I sure hope not...

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"Wild Bill" Murder Reconstructions Under Strict Security Measures in Bocas del Toro

Expat TalesAmid tight security, the office of the Superior Prosecutor of Chiriqui started at 9:00 am this morning, on Tuesday, 22 November 2011, the reconstruction of the murders of five foreigners on Isla Aguacate in the province of Bocas del Toro, for which the American citizen William Dathan Holbert, better known as "Wild Bill", is accountable. Unofficially, it was learned that the first murder being reconstructed is that of Manchittha Nankratoke of Dutch nationality, the wife of Michael Francis Salem, also known as Michael Watson Brown. Holbert confessed to killing the Browns, including the couple's son, Watson Brown, 18. Rolando Machuca, the TVN correspondent in Bocas del Toro, said the authorities did not allow journalists to enter into the area where the reconstruction is being done, by prohibiting them from docking at the pier on Isla Aguacate, and instead ordered them to settle on a neighboring island supposedly for their safety. Yesterday, on Monday, 21 November 2011, Holbert was taken from the public jail in the city of David, Chiriqui, amid tight security, to Bocas del Toro, where he will remain for five days for the reconstruction of the murders. At the end of the day, Holbert will be transferred to the jail in Changuinola, located in the community of California. (TVN)

Editor's Comment: There's a short video clip on the TVN website of Holbert in a van, waving at the cameras and giving a thumbs-up, which you can see here. I know this is opening up a lot of old wounds for the friends and family members of Holbert's victims. Just keep thinking about this - the reconstruction is part of the required judicial proceedings in the Republic of Panama. As a result of these reconstructions, the prosecutors will have even more evidence to use in order to obtain convictions against Holbert - who has already confessed to killing the five victims in Panama as well as Jeff Kline in Costa Rica - and against Holbert's partner in crime Laura Michelle Reese, who was with him every step of the way. Both of the Superior Prosecutors from Chiriqui are participating in these reconstructions because the five murder cases are divided between them. This process puts the serial killers one step closer to a trial, and a conviction, and a sentence, and a very long time in a Panamanian prison. Then the camera crews will go away, and we can all forget about these pieces of trash as they rot, for the rest of their lives, behind bars.

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American Expat Frank C Hilson Died in Florida Last Week

Expat Tales Frank C Hilson - Beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, friend, accomplished businessman and decorated race car driver, Frank Chaffin Hilson II passed among family at his residence in the fishing village of Sebastian, Florida on November 15, 2011. Frank grew up in Coconut Grove, FL, son of Frank C Hilson I and Helen Rice Hilson, a successful real estate entrepreneur. Frank lived life in the driver’s seat as a participant, not an observer.

Frank’s love of cars started in his early teens with one of his first, a Porsche Speedster. He began racing professionally for Castle Racing when automobile racing was still a sport. In 1964 Frank survived a near fatal racing accident at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, suffering 3rd degree burns over 44% of his body prior to the development of flame retardant driving suits. He was air lifted to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio to undergo, what at the time, was pioneering skin graft surgery and extensive rehabilitation. After being told he would never walk again, he was back behind the wheel of a race car after a year. Frank’s accident resulted in a dropped left foot and he will forever be a medical miracle and role model for other burn victims in the United States.

Racing led him into what would be his career. President of Frank Hilson Nissan/BMW in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from the early 1970’s through 1992, he guided these dealerships into the Top Twenty in the nation. He always found time to spend with his family while also enjoying world travel, tinkering with his cars, and lazy days boating & fishing in the Keys or Sebastian. Twenty plus years after his life changing wreck, he began racing the same era cars he had raced in his early twenties. As an active Historic & Vintage race car driver, Frank was victorious in his 1959 Lola Mark I at the Bahamas Speed Week, Sebring, St. Petersburg, West Palm Beach, Miami and Atlanta. Frank also raced through Italy in the revived Millie Miglia during the late 1980’s. During these races he competed in a famous Cunningham C4-R and his own Osca Maserati.

Ten years ago, Frank finally found his true love, his wife, Joyce. They enjoyed similar interests, including traveling back and forth to their second home in Panama City, Panama. Frank and Joyce found solace in this revitalized country and together, restored one of the American built homes in the canal zone. They shared fun, memories and love in the last ten years to fill a lifetime.

Frank has hung his helmet after a courageous 17 month battle with pancreatic cancer. He is succeeded by his wife Joyce Hilson; his sister Helen (Hilson) Miller; his four children Kimberlee (Hilson) Duke Marshall, Frank Chaffin Hilson III, Kristina Hilson Rizk and Jeffrey Banning Hilson; his nine grandchildren Frank Chaffin Hilson IV, Shelby, Madison, Timothy, Brittney, Jezzi, Matthias, Roma and Megan; his two step-children Brandi Deuterman and Robert Deuterman; his nephew Steve Hilson; and cousins Mary Alice Hartman and John Creekmore. He is preceded in passing by his parents, his brother Eugene Hilson and granddaughter Olivia Hilson. The family requests in lieu of flowers, donations to: VNA & Hospice Foundation, 1110 35th Lane, Vero Beach, FL 32960.

Editor's Comment: If you will remember, it was Frank Hilson who made a generous donation that allowed the VFW office to reopen in Panama. See: New VFW Office Thanks To Generous Expat Donation. I've been exchanging email with Frank since May 2008. Frank wrote a personal note of encouragement after I had open heart surgery, welcoming me to the "zipper club." He said "I follow Panama Guide every day. I have a home in Balboa and in the middle of remodeling it as we speak. Dust, concrete, a real mess, but fun looking forward to what it will look like when we are finished. I was a racing driver and was a BMW and Nissan dealer in Ft Lauderdale for 25 years plus. Your everyday information and personal insight is missed by myself and many more besides myself. You have a very special way in writing that gives the feeling that you are speaking to the person who is reading it. When you are up and around, Joyce and I would love to have you and your wife over to our house for dinner. All the best for a quick and complete comeback. Frank Hilson." I did get the chance to meet Frank face to face on a couple of occasions here in Panama. My heartfelt condolences go out to all of his friends and family. (Photo: Courtesy of R. Philbrick)

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Protest Blocks Transfer of Wild Bill to Bocas - He's Now In Rambala

Expat TalesWilliam Dathan Holbert, a U.S. citizen also known as "Wild Bill", was taken on Monday from the public prison in David, Chiriquí, to Bocas del Toro, for the reconstruction of the murders committed by him in that province, who confessed. Wild Bill is currently being held in the barracks in Rambala due to a demonstration that has stopped the advance of the party, and the transfer is expected to resume later. In the reconstruction, which will begin on Tuesday, will participate the First Superior Prosecutor Luis Martinez and the Second Superior Prosecutor Nedelka Diaz. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: There was a protest in Bocas del Toro with people blocking the road that caused the convoy carrying Holbert to Bocas to stop in Rambala. There's a video associated with this article on the Telemetro website if you care to see that.

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William Dathan Holbert - "Wild Bill" - Taken To Bocas del Toro Under Tight Security

Expat Tales David, Chiriquí. - Under tight security, William Dathan Holbert, better known as "Wild Bill", was taken to Bocas del Toro this morning. The transfer was made from the public jail of David in the province of Chiriqui to Isla Colon. Dressed in jeans, sneakers and a brown sweater, Holbert was moved with his hands and feet shackled, under a persistent rain. A Holbert is accused of killing five people, Bo Icelar and Cheryl Lynn Hughes, Michael Brown and his wife and son, whose bodies were buried on the farm in Bocas del Toro. "Wild Bill" will participate in the reconstruction proceedings to be performed by the Second Superior Prosecutor of the five murders - to which Holbert confessed. The Second Superior Prosecutor Nedelka Diaz said the procedure could take all week, because there are five murders. (Prensa)
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William Dathan Holbert - "Wild Bill" - Returned To Bocas For Reconstruction

Expat TalesWilliam Dathan Holbert, alias "Wild Bill", was taken from the prison in the city of David, province of Chiriqui to the province of Bocas del Toro, to participate in the reconstruction of the five murders he has confessed to committing. The reconstruction will be conducted in different parts of the province of Bocas del Toro, and will last until next Friday. Holbert's girlfriend, Laura Michelle Reese, will not participate in the reconstruction. She is imprisoned in the Women's Rehabilitation Centre in Panama City. "Wild Bill" has confessed to the murders of two American citizens, Cheryl Lynn Hughes and Bo Icelar, as well as Mike Brown, Brown's wife Manchittha "Nan" Nankratoke, and his teenage son Watson. Panamanian authorities also suspect the alleged serial killer might also be involved in the disappearance of two indigenous Panamanians, a mother and son, who worked for the fugitive. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: It's common, normal, routine, and simply part of the process for the Panamanian judicial authorities to conduct this kind of a "reconstruction" of the events. In this case they have a serial killer who has confessed to all five murders. They will take him to the locations where the killings occurred and do a sort of "walk through" of the events. Everything is video taped and photographed. The prosecutor will lead the show, step by step, based on Holbert's confession as well as the rest of the details they have been able to obtain and verify as a result of their investigations. And this is why Holbert will now have some serious problems, and it also explains why Laura Michelle Reese will not be participating. During all of these reconstruction events - apart from going through all of the details of all five murders - the prosecutors will be asking the relatively simple question "and where was Laura Michelle Reese at this moment in time?"

Taking The Fall: As soon as they were arrested Holbert confessed to the murders in an attempt to take the rap completely upon himself, in an attempt to get Laura Michelle Reese freed, and to have the charges against her dropped. In fact, William Dathan Holbert lied throughout his entire confession, and in most of the statements he provided to the authorities. In fact, Laura Michelle Reese was basically at his side through all of these murders - those in Panama as well as the murder of Jeff Kline in Costa Rica. Holbert even bragged that when he smashed Kline in the back of his head with a hammer, he fell face-first into a bowl of spaghetti - and Laura Michelle Reese was standing right there, smiling at the victim from the front as Holbert creeped up behind him. And of course that explains why Laura Michelle Reese continues to refuse to participate in this kind of a reconstruction of the events.

Hey, Good Luck With That: So anyway, whatever - Holbert will now try to continue his ongoing line of bullshit. His statements and versions of events will line up sometimes - like when he can tell the simple truth about what he did. However Holbert's version of the events as they occurred on the ground at the time won't line up anytime Laura Michelle Reese is involved. "Where were you" and "what did you do" - he can answer those kinds of questions truthfully. However when he's asked "Where was she" and "what was she doing at this time" - he will be lying. The authorities already know this and they are anticipating his responses, and I suspect they will set him up in such a way as to allow him to pull the chain on his own toilet bowl. Security on this dirtbag will be tight, and he will be back in his prison cell by the end of the week. And on a side note - the fact that Holbert is participating in this reconstruction at all is a bit surprising. He had refused earlier, and the prosecution can't make him participate if he doesn't want to cooperate. For some reason he changed his mind. And I suspect, as usual, he thinks he's smart enough to out wit and out smart all of the detectives and investigators who are going to be examining his every statement to see if it's true. He's probably wrong on that front, but so what? At this point he has not other choice but to keep lying, right?

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Government Says Puerto Rican Is A Charlatan

Expat Tales#Panama - The Puerto Rican Isaac Polanco who was arrested in January 2010 along with a member of the SPI, Javier Guzman and his brother for allegedly planning to kidnap President Ricardo Martinelli to be delivered to Colombian guerrillas, now claims he was tortured into signing for his deportation. The investigation at the time indicated that Polanco, who identified Martinelli as "El Pollo", allegedly said they expected to receive between $3 to $5 million dollars in ransom for the president, but then later he backed off and it was all a story he made up in order to raise some money because he had burned down his house and was penniless. Yesterday Polanco was interviewed on Telemetro and he claimed that on the first day of his arrest president Martinelli yelled at him and kicked him in the stomach, and then the Chief of the Directorate of Judicial Investigation (DIJ), Javier Carrillo, placed a plastic bag over his head. Carrillo denied Polanco's claims. "That is false. Never in my police career have I tortured anyone," he said. For his part, Minister Jose Raul Mulino said Polanco is a "pathological liar" who for a time was a "frog" (informant) of the DIP who provided information about kidnappings. (Critica)

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Mulino: "The American Who Is Denouncing Martinelli Was An Informant For The DIP"

Expat Tales#Panama - Panama's Security Minister Jose Raul Mulino said the American Isaac Polanco Montalvo, who supposedly was linked to an attempted kidnapping of President Ricardo Martinelli in January 2010, was an informant of the Bureau of Police Investigation in the area of kidnappings. According to Mulino, Polanco had financial problems that led him to arrange with a member of the Institutional Protection Service (SPI) to organize the criminal act. "The plan was uncovered thanks to the cooperation of the SPI officer, and I can confirm that neither the President nor any other member of the Cabinet Council was present at the interrogation," he told Telemetro Reports. Mulino said Polanco was detained for awhile in the jail cells at the DIJ and later he was transferred to the La Joyita prison, where he was mistreated by the people he sold out.

Mulino added that Polanco cannot reenter Panama because he was not deported but rather he was returned to Puerto Rico, and also because he was involved in several kidnappings. Polanco Montalvo was in prison for about a year, held in several different prisons in Panama, and now he hopes to return to Panama in order to be reunited with his family, his wife and two daughters. His lawyer Zulay Rodríguez said yesterday she would present a criminal complaint against president Ricardo Martinelli and others who were involved. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: Yup, that's pretty much consistent with what I know about Polanco's case. Polanco was an established informant with regards to kidnapping cases, and he had some built up credibility from earlier reports which turned out to be correct and valid, and which resulted in cases being solved, kidnapping victims being recovered, and the kidnappers being arrested. The National Police would pay Polanco as an informant for the information he was providing. Then he needed some money, so he (himself) invented this plan to supposedly kidnap Ricardo Martinelli. He convinced an SPI agent and his brother into going along with this plan, however Polanco intended to turn around and sell the information about this plan back to his contacts within the National Police. Of course they just arrested everyone involved and squeezed the SPI guys who explained it all. After just a few days the authorities knew this whole "kidnap the president" plot was bullshit - invented by Polanco. Polanco sat in prison for about a year. He did get beat up and attacked while in prison, by the same guys that he ratted out in the earlier case. They broke his jaw and he spent some time in the hospital, healing. I guess it's hard to be in prison when you're an informant, especially when you're locked up with the same dudes that you sold out. And now Polanco is being used as a pawn in a political game by Zulay Rodríguez. The only piece of evidence I have regarding any irregularity is the scan of the document used to kick Polanco out of the country. It says he flew in on 9 December 2010 - which is bullshit - so there's something to be investigated there. Anyway, Polanco has zero credibility and that's the thrust of this article. And when he told me about all of this personally he never mentioned the whole thing about how supposedly Ricardo Martinelli kicked him in the stomach personally, so apparently that's something newly created to add more "juice" to this complaint, which is probably a combination of politics and a ploy by Polanco to get compensated for alleged abuses of his human rights while in custody. His allegations will be hard to prove, in any case. And considering that Martinelli controls all aspects of political power in Panama, I suspect his complaints will go nowhere.

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Appellate court rules against Boca Raton attorney in estate battle

Expat Tales#Panama - WEST PALM BEACH — An eccentric Palm Beach man's generous bequest to leave the bulk of his multimillion-dollar estate to the poor children of Panama has sparked vicious legal battles both here and in the impoverished Central American nation. The war intensified this week when the 4th District Court of Appeal agreed that a Boca Raton attorney, who claims he was tapped to carry out Wilson "Charlie" Lucom's 2006 deathbed wish, squandered money in Lucom's relatively modest Florida estate. The court upheld a blistering 2009 judgment by Palm Beach County Circuit Judge John Phillips, who described attorney Richard Lehman as "a covetous opportunist." Lehman, he ruled, used money Lucom left here to grab the Panamanian assets, valued at up to $50 million. Phillips ordered Lehman to repay $623,000 he took from the Florida estate plus cover the $390,000 it cost to hire an accountant to track the cash. Lehman also was ordered to pay the roughly $825,000 Lucom's politically connected Panamanian widow and her five children spent fighting him in court.

Attorney Bruce Rogow, who represents Lehman, said he will ask the appeals court to reconsider its ruling. Lehman, he insists, used Lucom's Florida money to make sure his longtime friend's desire to help Panamanian children would be realized. It was a desire Lucom's family said he never shared with them during the 24 years he was married to the former Hilda Piza de Arias. Her first husband counts two Panamanian presidents on his family tree. The family also owns one of the country's largest newspapers.

Matias Dorta, who is among the attorneys hired to recover the Florida estate money, said Lehman was trying to take over Lucom's Panamanian holdings. The foundation to help children, to be funded by the sale of Lucom's 7,000-acre beachside ranch, was set up in Nevis. The Caribbean island is a popular spot to hide assets. Lehman has said he set up the foundation in Nevis because Lucom, a conservative pundit, gave up his U.S. citizenship to become a citizen of Nevis. The foundation is now based in Panama, he said. Dorta said there was never a plan to help Panamanian children. In his will, Lucom said the foundation would provide seeds to be cultivated by volunteers from poor schools. Land would have to be donated. "So the seeds would cost $5,000, let's even say $100,000," Dorta said. "What happens to the other $49 million?"

Lehman declined comment. But the battle is far from over. Dorta said a Panamanian court stripped Lehman of his control of Lucom's Panama estate and put Lucom's widow in control. Even before her recent death, her appointment was challenged. Further, Lehman recently filed a $732 million suit in Panama, claiming corrupt judges, influenced by the powerful Arias family, thwarted Lucom's desire to help poor kids. (Source)

Editor's Comment: Every now and then I get contacted by this Florida attorney in one way or another, with them wanting to bend my ear to convince me they are in the right. Along time ago I decided to stay out of this battle of the titans and the fight over a dead man's $50 million dollars. With this most recent decision the 4th District Court of Appeals upheld the earlier decision by the Palm Beach County Circuit Judge and ordered attorney Richard Lehman - described by the judge as a "a covetous opportunist" - to repay more than $1.8 million dollars. Hello. The chances of Lehman winning a case in Panama are slim. He says he refused to take an alleged payment of $3 million dollars to go away - and that's more than enough to buy the whole Panamanian Supreme Court - twice. Whatever. The battle continues to rage. The Panamanian side is now racking up the legal victories, so therefore they have less incentive to negotiate or strike a deal with Lehman. Oh, and with regards to the " impoverished Central American nation" of Panama - check the numbers. Panama's GDP is going to be growing by 10% or more this year. Unemployment continues to drop, and practically every economic indicator is on the rise. Pretty soon we're going to be describing the plight of the impoverished state of Florida, by comparison. But I get it, the " impoverished Central American nation" shtick goes along with the whole thing of donating the money to the poor children. I got it...

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Can They Hear Me Fart On The 11th Floor?

Expat Tales By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Received today via email: "Don following is a brief comentary on my first month in Panama. If you find it interesting or humorous you are welcome to publish it, and it's OK if you want to edit parts as well. Best regards, OJ."

My first day in our new house… opps … I mean apartment… we have a view,, this is, as everyone knows, important, and especially since it is not the backside of some big fat ………..building… lol

Spent the whole day Sunday cleaning and dusting and packing the apartment I had been in for the past month, did I mention I had no hot water for the whole time and the air conditioning failed in week number three… but the refrigerator worked, the beer stayed cold, the pretzels were good (pretzels without beer…come on..), so my fist month was spent in a sort of self imposed or accepted hot-waterless world,, every morning I would get up, get in the shower and wait for the hot water to come on, knowing it would not, then jump in thinking only “positive thoughts” about the people who do this shit for fun etc… this was how I started every day, except Saturday and Sunday when I would jump in the pool instead, at least for the first week, …. then a sign appeared in the elevator “gests pol will get maintained, for this reason there will be no water and swimming will not be allowed” got me on that one…after that back to my shower routine. (more)

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American Arrested And Deported - Raped A Minor Using A Weapon To Threaten Deadly Force

Expat Tales #Panama - Panamanian immigration authorities deported American citizen Alejandro Carlos Llopiz, from Panama to the United States, who is wanted by the justice system of his country for a case of deprivation of liberty and sexual assault, said an official source. Llopiz was arrested last Friday in Panama City and deported the same day to Florida in the United States, where he has been convicted for sexual battery with the use of force or a weapon, detailed the National Immigration Service of Panama in a press release. Inspectors from the National Immigration Service and staff from the US Embassy in Panama participated in his arrest, in a building located in Bella Vista in the capital of Panama City. The American has been in the country since August 2011, the statement said. (Prensa)

Editor's Comment: According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement - Sexual Offender / Predator Flyer - Alejandro Carlos Llopiz was listed as "absconded." He was convicted under: "794.011(3) Commits Sexual Battery; Upon Person 12 Or Older Without Consent And In Process Threatens Or Uses Deadly Weapon Or Force Which Would Most Likely Cause Serious Personal Injury" So, he raped a minor using a weapon to threaten deadly force. Good job guys. Find the scumbags and get them "outta here."

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"Wild Bill" Organizes Nationwide Prisoner Protests From Jail

Expat Tales #Panama - William Dathan Holbert, aka "Wild Bill", a prisoner in the jail in David, Chiriqui Province, announced that starting on Monday and for a week, there will be protests and strikes in the different prisons of the country, in response to the actions taken by the national police to control recent riots in the La Joya and La Joyita prisons in Panama. Holbert, who has confessed to the murder of five foreigners in Bocas del Toro, has formed an organization called the Unified Inmates of Panama, which according to him has 1,500 members. So far the government authorities have not made any statement in response. (TVN)

Editor's Comment: Obviously, the boy needs to be in a deeper, darker hole. I mean, he's already going to spend the rest of his life in prison and die behind bars. The only remaining question to be decided is how that time will be spent, in terms of degrees of relative comfort (or, not.) Is that the sun bouncing off of his forehead in this photo? Well, that can be taken away, for instance. If Holbert continues to screw with the system, the system is going to screw back. I guess no one has explained that to him yet. Whatever, he'll get it. Sooner or later, one way or the other. Or maybe not. In fact, he's just continuing to go about doing the same kind of manipulative crap he did while he was on the outside, it's just now his sphere of influence is greatly reduced, and it's about to get a whole lot smaller.

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Expats Arrested in David - Don't Know Why Yet

Expat TalesBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - I just learned that Paulina Trauger, Philippine national, and her daughter Lori Worthington have been arrested and are being held in the city jail in David, Republic of Panama. That's all I know at this point. If anyone knows what's going on, please let me know. Thanks.

Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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American Expat Gets Caught Trying To Abuse Pensionado Program (Household Goods Shipment)

Expat Tales#Panama - By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Last week I learned the Panamanian Customs Authorities caught an American expatriate who was trying to abuse the provisions of the "pensionado" (retiree) program. Under that program, anyone who has been awarded a "pensionado" visa can import to Panama their household goods - things like furniture, clothes, bath and kitchen items, etc. The benefits include one-time exemption of duties for the importation of household goods (up to $10,000). However according to the guys at Customs, when they inspected the container they discovered there were seven new refrigerators, seven new clothes washing machines, and seven new dryers. They were in the process of figuring out the taxes and fines they were going to level against this idiot. Apparently there was a group of people who all decided to band together and ship their new stuff down under the (illegal) guise of this one man's pensionado visa.

One Moron Can Screw Things Up For A Whole Lot Of People: I don't know what they are going to do to these people. I doubt guy whose name is on the paperwork will be contacting me to complain, and I also could not get the guys at Customs to give me the name (damn.) Anyway, it doesn't take much to screw up a good thing. Who knows, maybe this guy was going to bring in all of this hardware and then try to sell it for a profit or something. I dunno. I just didn't want this one to fly by without notice. The people who move here seem to spend most of their time bitching and complaining about crime and corruption in Panama. However I've learned that many of the members of our little community of English speaking expatriates are no better (at all) than our hosts. In case you didn't notice, the Panamanians would call this moron a "gringo juega vivo." Great. Just the kind of guy we need moving down here.

Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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"Wild Bill" Asking For A Polygraph Test

Expat TalesAfter William Dathan Holbert, alias "Wild Bill", filed complaints about the poor conditions in the Penitentiary System in Panama, he is now asking for a polygraph test. He presented the complaint on 3 August 2011 before the Third Judicial District of Chiriqui, and because until now they have not given him any response, he is asking them to give him a polygraph test to prove he's not lying. (Dia a Dia)

Editor's Comment: Err, OK. Once they have him hooked up to the machine, ask him about the details in his confession. Ask him if his partner in crime Laura Michele Reese was there when he killed and disposed of his victim's bodies (she was, he's lying about that.) Ask him about the supposed gringo "crime bosses" in Bocas - was that real or did he just pull it out of his ass to drag others into his mess. Ask him how many other people did he really murder in Costa Rica before he ran to Panama. I like the idea of hooking this idiot up to a polygraph. Let's rock... And now someone will read this article to him on the phone. And then he will come to the (late) realization that maybe allowing himself to be hooked up to a polygraph might not be such a great idea. Whatever. Watching this self absorbed psychopath trying to play the system from the inside is slightly entertaining. Knowing he will spend the rest of his life behind bars - in a Panamanian shithole of a prison - is priceless.

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Runaway contractor sent to prison

Expat Tales
Richard D. Cover
Richard D. Cover
By Laurie Mason Schroeder - A crooked contractor who fled to South America to avoid prosecution for a $183,000 construction scam was sent to state prison Monday. Richard Cover, 39, of Lower Southampton will serve 3 years and 10 months to 14 years behind bars for felony theft and related crimes. County Judge Jeffrey Finley also ordered Cover to serve seven years of probation and banned him from working as a contractor in the future. The usually unflappable jurist lost his temper in Bucks County Court in Doylestown as Cover made a lengthy statement about why he committed the crimes, blaming his actions on the Russian mafia and others he claimed to owed money. “Close your mouth,” Finley snapped. “Your mouth has been running for years and all it’s done is hurt people.”

Cover was arrested in 2008 for scamming two Lower Southampton women in a sophisticated remodeling scam. The women — a single mother and her elderly aunt — signed a contract with Cover to build an addition to their home. The women said Cover pocketed their deposit, but did little work. They later learned he hadn’t paid for the materials and permits he claimed to have gotten, and had substituted cheaper materials when he did work. When the women discovered what Cover was doing, they tried to stop payment on their checks and were later sued by a check cashing agency.

After giving police a full confession, Cover promised to turn himself in the next day. Instead, he fled to Belize, where he lived for two years under an assumed name until federal agents arrested him. In court Monday, Cover apologized to the women. “I got in over my head. I felt like a guy spinning plates in the air,” he said. “I screwed up as bad as I possibly could.”

Assistant district attorney Matthew Hoover showed the judge a photo of the victims’ ruined home and urged him to sentence Cover to a long prison term. “He’s lied and deceived everyone he’s come in contact with,” Hoover said.

Cover’s lawyer, Louis Busico, said his client is ready to be rehabilitated. He called an FBI agent to testify on Cover’s behalf. The agent said Cover has been providing law enforcement with information that’s been helpful with several organized-crime investigations. “Mr. Cover comes from a wonderful family and had to flee the area because he owed money to unsavory types who don’t use lawyers to collect. His apology was sincere,” Busico said.

In 2006, Cover was convicted of securities fraud for selling stock in his daycare company without a license. (Source)

Editor's Comment: Looks like it's time for me to carve another notch in the side of my computer monitor. Richard D. Cover came to Panama using the alias "RJ Erwin." He is an addicted gambler, and I met him at a poker game. He made the mistake of ripping people off here in Panama, using a scam that supposedly involved me. He told people they would be investing their money in a business to buy heavy equipment, that I would be running business and using my contacts to get lucrative government contracts for the company. In fact he just took their money and fled Panama. I later learned he had run to Belize. Someone there recognized him from the articles and photos of him I had published on his website. They called the FBI, who coordinated with the local authorities in Belize, and Cover was arrested.

But what this article does not spell out completely is that Richard D. Cover is cooperating with an FBI investigation into organized crime, and he's playing with fire. These are the people who loaned him money so he could keep gambling, the Russian mob in New Jersey and then later other elements of international organized crime here in Panama. Shortly after Cover fled from Panama I got some phone calls from some knuckle draggers down here who run (ran) one of the sports betting operations. They were looking for Cover in order to collect on their gambling debts. That's why he steals money from people - he's an addicted gambler, he gets in over his head, he borrows money from people who will kill him if he doesn't pay it back, of course he loses those bets, and then he has to run away to avoid the pain. Now, he's in prison, and I'm taking at least partial credit for putting him there.

Now Richard D. Cover has to deal with prison life and I'm sure he's probably got a deck of cards, or dice made out of soap. "Ready to be rehabilitated" his lawyer says? Did the issue of Cover as an addicted gambler ever come up during the trial? Did the judge order mandatory counseling and treatment for gambling addiction? No matter, because there are still a whole bunch of really pissed off and really dangerous people waiting for him on the outside. And you can bet (ha ha) those guys are not going to be much happier when they discover Richard D. Cover (alias "RJ Erwin) is cooperating with the FBI and providing information about their criminal organizations. It's gambling fun? What a hoot. Well, maybe not so much when you're literally betting your ass, like this idiot did.

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Holbert Wants His Bed Back...

Expat TalesBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - La Critica just Tweeted "Wild Bill's lawyer is demanding that the bed be returned to her client. She says he paid for it." None of the Panamanian news outlets have published anything else about these statements yet. I suppose sometime during the day everyone will pick it up. Apparently his lawyer went to the prison in David to visit Holbert, and upon exiting she spoke to the press. More later. Anything having to do with the famous American serial killer William Dathan "Wild Bill" Holbert instantly makes national news in the Republic of Panama. Now, apparently, after Holbert filed a complaint against the prison system, they took his bed away. The government is also going to discipline him for trying to start a prisoner revolt and hunger strike, and for threatening the life of the prison warden in David. Maybe one day Holbert will "get it" - when he does bad stuff to others, then bad things happen to him. Threaten someone's life, and your bed gets taken away. Go figure.

Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Holbert's Lawyer Denounces "Persecution" Against "Wild Bill"

Expat Tales The defense lawyer representing William Dathan Holbert, a.k.a. "Wild Bill", Claudia Alvarado Soto, reported the start of a campaign of persecution against her client in response to the disciplinary charges filed against him, due to the alleged death threats he made against the Warden of the Public Jail in David, and for trying to provoke a prison uprising. "We think they opened this disciplinary proceeding just because they want to move my client to another prison, in violation of his rights," said the lawyer. Alvarado said the persecution against Holbert began after he filed a complaint before the Public Ministry about the subhuman conditions in which detainees are held in the national prison system. The lawyer complained before the Public Ministry that a prison guard in the public jail in David, who was supposedly the witness to the death threats made against the warden, of demanding money from Holbert to give him access to telephone calls and to be taken to the medical clinic. "We have evidence of money transfers that Holbert's relatives have sent to this prison guard," said the lawyer. She stressed they are waiting for the prosecution make inquiries into these allegations. (TVN)
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Ayora Asks Martinelli For Help In Cayo de Agua (Bocas) Eviction Case

Expat TalesThe Italian-American Daniel Ayora, who was evicted from a three hectare parcel of land he says he owns in the province of Bocas del Toro, sent a letter to President Ricardo Martinelli, in which he explains the abuses he has suffered at the hands of municipal government officials who burned down his Rana Verde Eco Lodge, and with it they destroyed a breeding ground he had created for a rare species of frog that is in danger of extinction. Ayora now demands justice. Six buildings were reduced to ashes as a result of an eviction, ordered by the Justice of the Peace (Corregidor) of Punta Laurel, against Ayora, who bought three hectares of land on Cayo de Agua island eight years ago. There he operated the Rana Verde Eco Lodge where he receives tourists, and he also built the facility to breed the rare frogs. The conflict arose when the original owner of the land sold the land for the second time to the Panamanian American businessman Cirilo McSween, who filed the legal action through his lawyers. McSween says he bought the land five years ago. The Justice of the Peace ordered the eviction and he says he personally notified Ayora of his decision in the case, but he was not heard. (TVN)

Editor's Comment: All of a sudden things are going to get very hot indeed for Cirilo McSween, his lawyers, and the corrupt local government officials who ordered this action. Since when does an eviction include burning down six buildings, and paying local thugs to jump and beat the person who you are trying to intimidate? And now Ayora has started a letter writing campaign - asking people to send an email to president Ricardo Martinelli at prensa@presidencia.gob.pa - in order to both make him aware of what's going on, and to ask for the support of the central government in this case. The "chain of command" as it were for local Mayors runs through the office of the Governor. So, the local (corrupt) Mayor of Bocas del Toro decides in McSween's favor. The Mayor then orders this employee, the (corrupt) little Justice of the Peace to burn Ayora out. All of these people are PRD politicians, as is Cirilio McSween (his father raised Martin Torrijos in Chicago, so Torrijos and McSween Jr. are foster-brothers, they grew up in the same house together.) However Ricardo Martinelli appointed the Governor or Bocas del Toro, who has the legal power and authority to overturn and override any decision made by the local Mayor of Bocas del Toro on Isla Colon. Therefore, iso facto, the Governor can issue a written order making this whole friggin thing go away. Once that's done, then all that's left is the criminal complaints and formal investigations for corruption against the local officials. And then if it can be proven that the US citizen Cirilio McSween paid a bribe, any kind of bribe in Panama for any reason, he can be prosecuted in the United States under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Yeah, I don't think this one is over yet. In the meantime, hit the link above and vent your spleen about this case to His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli. SSG called me this afternoon to tell me that part of the reason the Mayor of Bocas decided this case against Ayora was (supposedly) because he has two passports - one from Italy and another from the United States. Well, considering Mr. Martinelli has an Italian background as well, there's just one more reason to smoke the corrupt PRD dudes in Bocas. Hey, fuggidaboudit... I guess Martinelli hasn't taken over Bocas yet just because he forgot it was there. Let's put it back on his radar, shall we? Fire at will...

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Kiwi trader hiding in Panama

Expat TalesA Kiwi investment trader is believed to be hiding out in Panama after he allegedly ripped off mum and dad investors of up to A$20 million in an elaborate international Ponzi scheme. Tony Noel Lusby, from Hamilton, disappeared to Panama in October after allegedly scamming scores of victims in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Panama and the US for up to A$20m. Kiwi private investigator Mark van Leewarden who represents 67 victims, said formal complaints were lodged with the Serious Fraud Office and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. He had also spoken with the FBI in Hawaii and the US Attorneys Offices in Hawaii and New York. A Serious Fraud Office spokeswoman said it had received a complaint about Mr Lusby's activities. The complaint was evaluated, and the complainant referred to the Australian authorities, she said.

International law enforcement agencies including the FBI were collaborating on an investigation, which included Mr van Leewarden. He also represented NcNabb Property Group, which is taking separate action to recover loan fees paid to Bahrain-based Western Gulf Advisory for a US$50m loan that never arrived. Mr van Leewarden said the scheme saw Lusby promise huge returns of between 28-32 per cent on money invested through his Lifestyle Investment Group website. Potential investors were contacted by one of four brokers, including two New Zealanders, working on behalf of Lusby who then visited some of them in their homes to seal the deal.

His persuasive powers were such that some investors borrowed money to invest in his scheme, Mr van Leewarden said. "They are your mum and dad investors who were very trusting. Some of them have borrowed over private property to invest. They are pretty upset over what has happened. "They are starting to realise now how difficult it is to recover their money and prosecute when people [Lusby] have done it intentionally over different jurisdictions."

Two of Lusby's bank accounts, Macquarie Bank in Sydney and HSBC Hong Kong, were frozen in March, Mr van Leewarden said. "The idea is to put together international pressure on this guy. We are still in that process now so we don't know who is going to be the lead body." There is no extradition agreement between Panama and New Zealand. A Serious Fraud Office spokeswoman said it had received a complaint about Mr Lusby's activities. The complaint was evaluated and the complainant referred to the Australian authorities, she said.

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