LED WHIMPERING FROM THE COURTROOM!
Junior was sentenced to another 30 months in
Federal Prison yesterday afternoon, and was taken directly from the courtroom to jail. Judge Moon expressed his disgust with Coghill when he said "I give no credence to anything you have to say, Mr. Coghill. I see con men in here all the time, and they just keep conning and conning." (I'm paraphrasing here, will have the exact quote when I get the transcript of the hearing)
The hearing opened with Assistant US Attorney Pat Hogeboom and Coghill's attorneys agreeing that they were satisfied with all of the terms of the plea agreement. Coghill was asked if understood the terms of the agreement, and he mustered up his most contrite self (which wasn't all that believable) to say that he understood the terms of the plea. Hogeboom then requested that Don Melcher be heard with a victim impact statement. I came forward, addressed the Court and said:
Your Honor, in March of 2006 I was allowed to make a victim impact statement, and at the
time I told the court that the theft of half million dollars caused a great
deal of damage to my family. Imagine if your entire savings were gone in
one day..... and that you still had obligations you could not just ignore
or cancel. I had nowhere to turn, and as a result, my credit was ruined, my
daughters were forced to change college plans... the student loans they
had to take out will be not be paid off for many years. I was without
insurance, without money to pay for many common necessities like dental
care, and I was forced to rent living space because I had no money for a
down payment and no credit for a home loan. Since that time, I have done
some rebuilding, but the long term impact remains. Mr. Coghill did not care
that he had stolen everything I had, and he does not care now. As the court
has seen, he has shown no remorse and he continues to demonstrate that he
will do whatever he wants to do, regardless of the Terms of Probation or
Conditions of Release.
When he was arraigned on six counts of fraud on January 17, 2005, he was
told by the Court, and I quote, "not to enter into ANY additional financial
obligations, either personal or business." What did he do? He went back
to Florida and continued to engage in those same activities.
When he plead guilty to two counts of fraud on August 17, 2005, he was again
reminded by the Court that he was to refrain from involvement in any real
estate transactions. What did do? He told the Court "yes sir" and went
right back to Florida and continued to be involved in real estate
When he was sentenced for two counts of fraud on March 15, 2006, he tried to
rescind his guilty plea, and failing that, tried to prove to the Court with
fuzzy math that he had in fact paid everyone back.
When he went to prison shortly after sentencing, having been directed by the
Court to cease his real estate activities, and having agreed to the Terms of
Probation, what did he do? He wrote and e-mailed his "investors" and
"partners" from his jail cell, telling them that he would be out soon, and
would be back to continue doing business.
When he was released from prison on July 3, 2008, he agreed to the
Conditions of Release, which included the stipulation that he not be
involved in any personal or business transactions without the approval of
his parole officer, what did he do? He ignored the conditions of release
and contacted those same Florida investors and partners in an effort to
maintain his involvement and control over several real estate transactions.
One of the Conditions of Release was that he refrain from any alcohol. With
two alcohol related arrests last year, it is clear that he has not been able
to control himself, and one wonders how many times he was drinking heavily
in order to be caught and arrested twice in a six month period. The next
thing we know, Mr. Coghill will be in court facing a vehicular manslaughter
charge.... because he has not gotten the message.... and some poor family
will be destroyed because of him.
This is a man who has not learned his lesson. This is a man who thumbs his
nose at the Court and does as he pleases. This is a man who has not one bit
of remorse for the hundreds of victims he has injured over the course of 19
years. This is a man who has not gotten the message that incarceration and
punishment are meant to deliver. This is a man who cannot control his
actions, who continues to operate above the law, and who will, given the
chance, hurt others in the future.
It should be clear to the Court that he will say or do anything to deflect
blame for his actions, that he has failed to heed the many warning of the
Court, and that he will, if not incarcerated, continue down the same path.
The Court has an opportunity today to let Mr. Coghill know that he cannot
continue to violate his Conditions of Release, that he cannot continue to
involve himself in prohibited activities, that he cannot lie to the Court
with impunity and do as he pleases. If 30 months did nothing to affect
Mr.Coghill's actions, then I would hope that the Court consider sending him
to prison for 60 months to see if that might have a more rehabilitative
I and the many victims that litter the Virginia landscape ask the Court to
impose a sentence severe enough to end this arrogance, and a probation
period long enough to ensure that Mr. Coghill is closely supervised for
many, many years after release.
Please lock him up, and keep him there."
After my statement, Judge Moon said that could understand the disgust the victims in this case have with the system. It has failed them.
The Judge then began to summarize the case and his reasoning for his judgment, when, not being able to remain quiet any longer, Nancy and Tom Sr. raised their hands and asked to be heard. Nancy was sworn in at the request of Prosecutor Hogeboom, and testified that our boy was needed at home to keep the fledgling bicycle attachment business going, and that while returns to date have been slight, there was much promise of money to be earned with the new business, with which the Court Ordered Restitution of Melcher and the Gordon's would be made. (yeah, sure).
Tom Sr. was then sworn in, and began going down the same road, telling the Court that there were big sales of bicycle equipment on the horizon, and "all we want to do is have a chance to pay back the restitution to Mr. Melcher and the other victim". He then started to tell the Court about a real estate deal in Florida called the Conch House Marina in which Riverfront Development LLC held a 30% interest, and that he had spent 20 thousand dollars in legal fees trying to maintain the 30% position and that those monies could also be used for restitution. He said that the Conch House owners, the Ponce family, had taken 9 million dollars from the development funds, before putting it into bankruptcy, and that they (the Coghills) were dealing with some very bad people, dishonest people, down there.
Mr. Hogeboom jumped from the prosecutors table and began peppering Coghill Sr. about the ownership of the trust that had an interest in the LLC, and the value of the assets. Senior said that the he was the trust manager and the JUNIOR was the beneficiary. Hogeboom wanted to know if these assets had ever been disclosed to the US Attorneys financial investigation office, and Senior said he did not know, but that they had no value. Hogeboom wanted to know why senior had spent $20 grand on an asset with no value? (at this point I looked over to the defense table, and Juniors attorney, John Edwards, is holding his face in his hands... and I just know he is thinking... shut up, you old fool, your just making things worse... ). This questioning of Coghill Senior about the Conch House went on for a while, with Senior finally offering to just take half his legal fees back, and the Government could take over his position in the property and use the money to pay back the victims.
After Tom Sr. left the stand, Coghill was asked to stand, and asked if he had anything to say... and of course he did. He rambled on about how "remorsed" he was about the money that he stole from me and the Gordon's, that he would never again be involved in any real estate business, that he hoped to be able to build up the bicycle attachment business so that he could pay back the victims. He also asked if he could self report in a few days, so that he could go back to Virginia Beach and explain things to the EZ Beach employees.
Judge Moon clearly had had enough of this circus and of Coghill, and told him so. He found no reason to follow the recommendation made by the Government that the sentence be at the low end of the scale, and instead told Coghill that he did not see that any remorse had been shown, that he had failed to fully disclose his assets to the Court at the March 15, 2006 sentencing, that evidence showed that he had continued to involve himself in real estate activities in violation of his conditions of release, and that he was therefor sentenced to 30 months in Federal Prison, with 3 years of supervised release to follow, starting today! HOORAY !!
Coghill appeared shocked, and begged the Court to be allowed to go home for a few days. The Court refused, and the Judge exited the courtroom, just as an officer entered the defense area and took custody of a whimpering and shaking Coghill.
PERFECT! WONDERFUL! GREAT FUN!
I watched with relief and satisfaction as they had him remove his belt and personal effects and prepared him for jail.
I was then approached by Nancy, who told me that she "prayed for me every night, and that my judgment was coming". (This, apparently is the Coghill mentality. How dare you persecute my poor boy for taking your half million dollars and leaving you on your ass. You are a very bad man.)
PERSONAL TO TOMMY:
This could ALL have been avoided. YOU made the choice. Indicted in 05, legal fees, documents, strategies, motions, more legal fees, meetings, more motions, shucking and jiving, Plea bargaining, preparation, sentencing, PRISON!!, Parole. Your Choice.
Indicted again in 09, legal fees, motions, meetings, documents, another Pleas bargain, sentencing, more PRISON, newspaper stories, and websites. YOU made this choice.
$702,000 in legal fees, hell, you could have paid me back and still be riding around sunny Florida in your fancy car, with 175K to the good, being a big shot. You could be there today, but you chose to go to prison.
Smart? Your not smart. I remember playing poker with you. You did not know then
when to cut your losses, and you still don't know when to cut your losses. I warned you, but you were too arrogant to see what was coming. All this could have been avoided. 5 years of hell, with another 5 to go. You made the choice, and now your back in Prison.
And I've got more. A lot more. 30 years more.
Maybe it's time to cut your losses. Your choice.... think about it.