Investment scheme investigation update

Investors say money recovery plan hasn't delivered
November 13, 2008 8:34:36 PM PST
In the latest twist in an ongoing ABC 11 investigation into a Raleigh-based investment scheme, some people who say they lost money to businessman James Webb are now facing a new issue. They say a man contacted them saying he'd work to get their money back if they'd pay him thousands of dollars. But now a Raleigh woman is wondering if her last hope for getting her money back is disappearing before her eyes.

"It makes you not want to trust anybody anymore that's the sad thing, says Teresa Holladay. She says she lost $35 thousand dollars to James Webb's plan to fix up rundown house in eastern North Carolina and sell them to first-time home buyers.

"I knew that he lived in a mansion," Holladay says, continuing, "and of course he drove those cars it's like something must've been going right here."

Government lawyers say Webb "earned in excess of 20 million dollars between 2002 and 2006" "in a real estate based investment scheme."

Webb says he's broke. But when we tracked him down outside Fort Lauderdale last summer, he drove up in a brand new 100 thousand dollar BMW.

    Steve Daniels: The money's not in an offshore account somewhere, it's not hiding in the Caribbean?
    James Webb: Well, I wouldn't say unfortunately, but absolutely not. I wish I had something from all that I lost.

After Teresa Holladay watched our investigation, she contacted us to tell us there's more to the story. She now believes she's lost out a second time by giving money to a company called Asset Location and Recover International.

    Teresa Holladay: The dream of being able to recover that and somebody being able to get that money that he thinks he's hidden somewhere. That would be great.
    Steve Daniels: It sounded like a pretty sure deal?
    Teresa Holladay: Oh, absolutely! At least 95 percent odds that he'd be able to recover it.
Holladay says in December of 2006 she paid Asset Location and Recovery and its owner John Quirk $3,600.
    Steve Daniels: Did you think that this was your white knight?
    Teresa Holladay: I did.
    Steve Daniels: Coming to get your money back?
    Teresa Holladay: I did. I really did. I mean this guy was ex-CIA, supposedly, and I thought I did my new diligence on the Internet.

But now, nearly two years later, she's still out all that money.

"I honestly don't think he's any better than Webb at this point in time because he kicks you when you're down and he knew I was down, he knew I was down," says Holladay.

The latest twist in our ongoing investigation brought us back to South Florida for a third time to check out where Teresa Holladay sent her money and where John Quirk has his headquarters.

    Steve Daniels: She feels like she's been victimized a second time, first by James Webb, then she gives you thousands of dollars, and she still has none of her money back.
    John Quirk: Well that's the chance she takes. We never guaranteed her that we would get the money back, we guaranteed her that we would locate it.

Quirk runs his business in Boca Raton. He says he has seven clients who lost money to James Webb. Quirk thinks the money is in offshore accounts.

    Steve Daniels: Have you been able to find the money?
    John Quirk: Well we've, we've had a number of leads on finding the money.
    Steve Daniels: So you haven't found the money yet?
    John Quirk: Well uh, I'd rather not say.
    Steve Daniels: You think you might have?
    John Quirk: Well I think we know how to locate the money, I would say that?
    Steve Daniels: You know how to locate it but that doesn't necessarily mean you have located it?
    John Quirk: That's right.

Quirk says he can't go through the process of recovering the money unless federal authorities file criminal charges against Webb. He says he turned over evidence and tried to convince federal law enforcement agencies to go after Webb.

    Steve Daniels: Are your clients who hired you frustrated? that they haven't been able to get their money back? John Quirk: Yes, they're frustrated with me, but they're frustrated with the federal government because a lot of them uh turned over their evidence, memos, emails, case files, they've been interviewed by federal agents.

    Teresa Holladay says she's holding out hope Quirk will come through. She says she could really use the 35 thousand dollars.

      Steve Daniels: Are you feeling like you've been double-duped?
      Teresa Holladay: I do. It's not a very good feeling.
      Steve Daniels: Taken advantage of twice?
      Teresa Holladay: We're going to count this as? an extremely good learning experience in life.

    Quirk says he's also out money. He says he's spent 130 thousand dollars more on the case than his clients paid him. As for Webb, two weeks ago a federal judge ordered him to show up in federal court on November 21st and explain why he has not disclosed his assets. Federal lawyers are using our report about Webb's BMW as evidence. If the judge decides Webb is in contempt of court he could be thrown in jail next week.


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