Monday, May 2, 2011

The Case of Charlie Engle

“Honoring oneself means that one should never surrender his or her dignity to those who may appear more powerful, or abandon that which they know from their own divine spark to be right, simply because the force of others is great. Honor oneself”-Howell Woltz, writer and inmate.
(Taken from Charlie Engle's blog http://charlieengle.com/)

This is something that affects all of us and it should have everyone mad! It's amazing what big corporations can get away with. Clearly it's all about beating down the little guy. When we wanted to refinance, our agent wanted to lie on our loan and say that we occupied the place. She claimed that it was okay. I said no way!

Free Charlie Engle!!!!

You can watch the video first or come back to it.


http://video.pbs.org/video/1903259629

A little about Charlie;

Charlie Engle: Endurance Junkie


Find out how Charlie Engle went from drug addict to ultramarathoner.

By Jeff Pearlman
PUBLISHED 03/10/2008

When one spends 111 consecutive days of his life running across the Sahara Desert, there is time to think. Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of time to think. So that's what Charlie Engle did. He thought about a double cheeseburger, nestled comfortably alongside a pile of fries, and a large, icy Pepsi. He thought about his two sons; about his boyhood in North Carolina; about Johnny Cash; about the Tar Heels; about a cool shower; a clean bathroom; a funny joke; the strange color of his last poop. Mostly, he thought about Wichita, Kansas. About a curb and a druggie and a life 99.9 percent ruined. He thought about who he was. About who he had become. About who he still could be. "Really," says Engle, "I thought about how unlikely it was for me to escape and how lucky I am to be living."

The curb still remains--a slab of indistinguishable gray concrete on the to-be-avoided-at-all-costs corner of Kellogg and Broadway. Though Engle, 45, has not been back to the projects of Wichita for more than 15 years, the images refuse to fade. He speaks of the date--July 23, 1992--quite often, not with a reverential tone of fear or remorse, but with the confidence of a man who finds motivation in his past. "That was my lowest low," he says. "The day when I woke up." He was, in the bluntest of terms, a crackhead--stealing, lying, begging for that next hit. For more than a decade, Engle had been addicted to alcohol and drugs, and now, on this corner, he reached absolute bottom. Engle had spent the past week holed up in a $10-per-day motel, smoking crack, drinking cheap liquor, screwing prostitutes, dealing with quarter-sized bullet holes in the side of his car. Back home in North Carolina, he had a wife and a 2-year-old son, and yet he could not care less. He was about one thing, and one thing only: the high. "I hated my life," says Engle, "but I couldn't escape it. So I prayed."

Though lots of ultrarunners speak of going long distances as something akin to a spiritual quest, Engle has never been a particularly religious man. But where else was he supposed to turn? "I prayed to have my addiction removed from my body," he says. "I'm not sure who I was praying to, exactly. But I sure was praying hard."

This is what Engle pondered as he and two cohorts, Ray Zahab, 39, and Kevin Lin, 31, became the first Homo sapiens on record to run across the Sahara Desert. The trek--from November 2, 2006, through February 20, 2007--encompassed 4,500 miles, six countries (Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Libya, and Egypt), bugs the size of bowling balls, disease, the mother of all foot fungi, and endless mounds of sand. It was, in Zahab's understatement, "incredibly tough." But when you've already visited the gates of Sheol, already felt the 1,000-degree flames engulfing your soul, well, the desert is merely a climbing wall.

"My suffering in the Sahara and the Amazon Jungle and all the different places I've run, they're all 100 percent voluntary," says Engle, who's competed in the Badwater Ultramarathon, the Eco-Challenge, and the 155-mile Gobi Desert March, which he, Zahab, and Lin won in 2006. "I'm there because I had a crazy idea and enough money to give it a shot. But nothing in the world compares to the deprivation and humiliation of my addiction. There's no pain in running that comes close." He pauses, rubs his chin, sighs. "When you're averaging 45 miles per day for 111 days, that sort of motivation is a powerful tool."

Like many improbable ideas, talk of the Sahara trek first came up during a run. Only this was during a 200-kilometer stage race in Brazil called the Jungle Marathon, and perhaps the Amazonian tropics prompted Zahab to say to his running buddy Engle, "I wonder if anybody has ever run across the entire Sahara Desert?" The thought hung in the air--preposterous and unrealistic and ludicrous. Yet immediately enticing. For two adventure junkies eternally in the market for another hit, this was intoxicating. "In this sort of sport, you take the biggest idea imaginable, toy with it, dismiss it, then see if it's possible," says Engle. "We did a little research and found out nobody had ever run the Sahara before. So we thought, Well, what the hell? Why not?"

Engle and Zahab next roped in Lin, a Taiwan-based adventure racer with a like-minded yeah-sure attitude and an ungodly amount of determination. "I wanted three people, because for the mission to succeed, at least one person had to finish," Engle says. "With two, there were still good odds we both might not make it. With three, you figure someone will pull through." But running the Sahara isn't as simple as running, say, the Boston Marathon, which Engle has three times. Engle hired a four-man support staff for the trip, including a logistics coordinator, a doctor, a trainer/massage therapist, and a local guide, all of whom traveled in a pair of Toyota Land Cruisers. One of the vehicles would travel ahead of the pack to map out a course and scout future camping spots. The other would stick with the runners. "For the three of us, there was no such thing as catching a ride to burn off a few miles or cheating," says Engle. "The support staff was there because running the Sahara is a beast, and you can't just slap on some sneakers and go."
Also along for the trip was a production crew filming a documentary, Running the Sahara, which was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival last September and is scheduled to be released this spring. While organizing his adventure, Engle, media-savvy from his work as a television producer, had met director James Moll. Engle's plans intrigued the Academy Award winner. "Charlie had such a passion for what he was doing, and that sort of passion can be very powerful," says Moll. "The whole idea was too huge to ignore." Matt Damon signed on as executive producer, narrated the film, and helped Engle found H2O Africa, a charity to raise awareness for clean water on the continent.

When the three runners kicked off their journey that first day in Senegal, they looked out at the wide, imposing earth before them and cringed. The original plan was to finish in 80 days, averaging roughly 50 to 55 miles per day. "Opening day we only ran 22 miles," Engle says. "The next day I woke up sore, tired, and miserable. It was the reality that this was not going to be even remotely fun."

In the span of a soul-sucking 16 weeks, the three runners survived on two (yes, two) showers, five hours of sleep per night (they would wake at 4:00 a.m. and stop running at 9:30 p.m.), 1,411 liters of Gatorade for Engle alone, and countless bouts of diarrhea, tendinitis, foot swelling, hand swelling, ankle twists, and endless blisters. "I've since learned that almost everybody gave us no chance of getting all the way across the desert after those first 10 days in Senegal and Mauritania," says Engle. "We weren't adapting very well. Kevin and Ray both had serious stomach problems. Kevin had some major muscular issues. We were just falling apart. For the first 30 days, temperatures were well over 120 degrees. But one day, about 10 or 11 days into the expedition, it was almost as if someone flipped a switch. We began to get into a rhythm. From that point on, things got better."

Though the physical challenge was enormous, what truly struck the participants was the mental quagmire that is one...long...endless...jog...through...nothingness. All three men regularly saw illusions--plants disguised as sexy women, sand masquerading as a lake. "I had this game in my head where I would relive an entire day," says Zahab. "One time I wanted to see how many times in a row I could listen to Peter Frampton's 'Do You Feel Like We Do' on my iPod." The song, off of the classic Frampton Comes Alive! album, lasts a numbing 14 minutes, 17 seconds. Zahab listened to it 20 consecutive times. "Crazy, right?" he says. "But that's how you survive out there, by finding little things to occupy your head."

The three traded iPods, memorized song lyrics, debated courses of action, struggled to persuade Libyan border guards to let them cross. As it became clear that the expedition would take significantly longer than 80 days, Engle and company had their doubts. "There were moments when I didn't know if I could take it any longer," says Zahab. "I mean, I literally couldn't stand the smell of myself. But each morning there'd be Charlie, yelling at us to get going. We needed that."

Let's be perfectly honest--Charlie Engle was destined to be unusual. He entered the world on September 20, 1962, the son of 20-year-old hippies enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His mother, Rebecca Ranson, was an aspiring playwright and his father, Richard Engle, an English major. As a young boy, Charlie--stringy brown hair draping his shoulders--marched through downtown Chapel Hill, carrying signs and chanting slogans protesting the Vietnam War. He was taught to think differently. Don't accept everything you're told. Keep an open mind. Experience everything. "My parents were very free-spirited," says Engle. "They divorced when I was only one, but they had similar outlooks. When I was a teenager my mom came to me to announce she was a lesbian. I was like, 'Why do you think I've been calling [Rebecca's partner] Julie "Dad" for the last year?' It was how we lived and who we were."
Though quirkiness trailed Charlie like a lost puppy, he was also gifted with an uncommon athletic lineage. Not only had his father played freshman basketball under Dean Smith at North Carolina, but his grandfather, Dale Ranson, was a legendary UNC cross-country and track coach for decades. So it was no surprise when Charlie developed his own aptitude for sports. He ran his first sub-five-minute mile as an eighth-grader, and as the star quarterback at Pinecrest High School in Southern Pines, North Carolina, he was recruited (albeit lightly) by Clemson and North Carolina. "I got more attention for football than running," he says. "But when I got hit hard on the football field, I didn't like it. The punishment that appealed to me was from running. I just loved the freedom, the time for thought, the individuality. Even as a teenager I was getting up at 5:30 a.m. and running. I had that urge."

Engle ran a 4:40 mile in high school, excellent for the prep ranks but hardly good enough to excel at the Division I collegiate level. Once he arrived at North Carolina, Engle switched focuses from long distances to long nights. He drank--and then some. "One night a buddy had a little cylinder with a chamber filled with cocaine," Engle says. "I did two hits. I didn't feel anything particularly strong, and that's what started the mind-set of, 'This really isn't that big of a deal.'" Two weeks later Engle spent an entire night doing coke. "And I can honestly say that I spent the next 10 years chasing that feeling."

Indeed, the Charlie Engle everyone once knew--trustworthy, honest, hardworking, engaging, decent--was no more. Oh, he'd return in spurts, a good grade here, a helpful act there. But Engle snorted so much cocaine as a junior that a fellow member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity called his father and urged him to retrieve his son. "I was living in Seattle at the time, and his communication with me had turned sporadic at best," says Richard. "I noticed there were some disturbing signs, especially his mediocre attendance at class. But I didn't know the depths of his addiction until I picked him up."

The ensuing years were nightmarish. Engle dropped out of college and moved with his father and stepmother to California, where the family owned two Baskin-Robbins ice-cream shops. Richard allowed his son to operate the storefront in Monterey, then watched in dismay as Charlie would take money from the register and spend it on binges. "I'd take the dough, buy drugs at 8 p.m., sell enough of it to recoup the money, do the rest of the drugs, and get back the next morning to open the store," Charlie says. "I was totally unhappy, but I didn't know how to stop."

Engle went on to sell cars for a few years before starting his own hail-damage repair business. In 1990, Engle employed 100 people, made up to $200,000 annually, married his girlfriend, had a son--but could not kick his demons. By day, he was the consummate professional, going through paperwork, managing staff, kissing his wife, and tucking his boy into bed. By night, however, he was snorting coke or smoking crack.

Remarkably, he was also running. Engle completed his first 26.2-miler--the Big Sur International Marathon--in 1989 with a time of 3 hours, 22 minutes and, he says, "the next day, of course, I'm calling my dealer." He would go on three-week drug binges, then sober up and train hard for, say, the Boston Marathon (he completed two in his 20s). "There was enough of me that loved to run and cared about my body and myself that I would take some time to really train," he says. "I'd run a marathon, convince myself I'd never use drugs again--then use drugs again. I loved running. Just loved it. Unfortunately, I loved drugs, too."

"He was a goner," says his mother, Rebecca. "I went to his apartment one day and he was crying, lying on the floor completely naked, fully out of his mind. My fear was that he was going to die."

Enter Wichita. In the city for seven months for work, Engle had just dropped off his wife and son, who had flown in from North Carolina for a visit. Upon departing the airport, Engle drove straight to the seediest part of downtown, where he bought drugs and paid for a motel room. As soon as he finished praying on that curb, Engle stood up, went back to his room, and found an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in a nearby church basement. He attended three sessions that day, then three more the next day. And the next day. And the next day. "Finally," he says, "something inside of me woke up."

It has been more than 15 years since Engle last took a sip of alcohol or a snort of cocaine. Today he lives soberly in Greensboro, North Carolina. But, says Lisa Trexler, his girlfriend, his past hasn't completely vanished. "A lot of who he is, of what makes him go, is what he went through," says Trexler, who works for an athletic skin-care company. "It's hard for me to imagine him as that person, sitting there, going through such torture, but on the other hand, it's not hard. Because he lives for torture. Just in a different way."
If there is a direct link between Charlie Engle, druggie, and Charlie Engle, athlete, it's the substitution of one addiction for another. As he gradually distanced himself from coke and booze, Engle ran with increasing frequency, completing his 40th marathon by the mid-'90s. In 1996, he was watching the Discovery Channel's coverage of the Eco-Challenge, the Mark Burnett-created adventure race that had teams of four or five members trekking 24 hours per day over a 300-plus-mile course through British Columbia. "You see that," says Engle, "and you either think, Those people are crazy. What the hell are they thinking? or That's the coolest thing I've ever seen. I have to do that. I was smitten."

So Engle signed up for the 1998 Raid Gauloises in Ecuador. "Marvelous, horrible, excruciating, amazing--all rolled into one experience," Engle says. "It took the energy I had put into drugs and offered me a whole new direction."

Finally, in 2000, Engle was accepted into the Eco-Challenge. By this point, Engle was an unemployed, separated father of two preteens. Having long aspired to work in film, he jokingly scribbled DOCUMENTARIAN under PROFESSION on his Eco-Challenge application. Before the start of the race, Engle was contacted by a producer from the CBS news show 48 Hours, asking whether he would carry a miniature camera throughout the event. The producer told Engle the show would likely use 30 seconds of material--then wound up airing more than 11 minutes, including segments detailing Engle's addictive battles, which led to a job as a producer on the hit reality program, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

The job provided the resources and the time to pay for his new addiction--extreme running. In the next few years, Engle finished first in races across the Gobi Desert and through the Amazon Jungle. He crossed the Atacama Desert in Chile, charted the jungles of Vietnam and Borneo, climbed to the top of the volcanoes in Ecuador, and ran across Death Valley. Then came the fateful day with Zahab, when the Sahara came into play.

To put it mildly, the days were long. Really l-o-n-g. At 4 a.m., Engle would instinctively rise and wake his cohorts, all of whom would be nestled in sleeping bags or atop foam mats in a temporary campground. From 4 until 5, the groggy men would drink instant coffee and dine on bread and a less-than-enticing selection of peanut butter, jelly, or Nutella. "We had a cook with us who knew how to make the most delicious bread," says Engle. "Unfortunately, in order to bake it he needed charcoal and wood. In the Sahara there ain't much wood. So there wasn't much fresh bread." At 5 a.m. the vehicles would rev up and the three runners would begin their journey. For the first 20 minutes, they would walk in an effort to shake off the rust. "By 5:30 we'd be running," Engle says. "Our support vehicle would go 10-K ahead, we'd catch up, have something to drink, then let it go another 10-K ahead. We repeated that process all day." Come noon the trio would take a break to eat lunch, stretch tightened muscles, and nap. "It'd often be 120 degrees in the sun," says Engle. "It was like sleeping in a sauna." From 2:30 until 9:30, the trek would continue. "Dinner was the worst," says Engle, who lost 35 pounds in the first 35 days. "Couscous and goat, couscous and goat, couscous and goat. If I ever see either again I might go into convulsions."

Though Moll's film crew tagged along, they slept in a separate camp, ate separate foods, spoke only minimally. "I loved the idea of the movie," Engle says. "But it could not compromise the authenticity of the trek. I didn't care if they had regular showers and ate McDonald's on the side. We were staying true to the mission."

When, on the final day, the trio reached the Red Sea and could at long last stop, the addict in Engle wanted that buzz. He craved euphoria. He craved ecstasy. He craved the high that coupled itself with a thick line of coke, with a flask of Mad Dog 20/20. But that's not what he felt.

"The highs from drugs are intense, but they're fake," says Engle, who plans to start a run across the United States in May. "They give you something, but they rob you of even more. When we completed our Sahara journey, I was too exhausted to feel much of anything. But I know that we did something no one else has ever accomplished. You can keep all the drugs. Me? I'll settle for achievement."

http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-243-297--12524-0,00.html


Attitude of Gratitude

http://charlieengle.com/) 

by Charlie Engle on January 16, 2011
It is not work that kills men, it is worry. Work is healthy; you can hardly put more on a man than he can bear. But worry is rust upon the blade. It is not movement that destroys the machinery, but friction.—Henry Ward Beecher

On Monday, January 10th, 2011 at about 5:30 PM in Norfolk, VA, Judge Jerome B. Friedman sentenced me to 21 months in federal prison, to begin no later than February 14. He has recommended Butner, near Raleigh, but that is not guaranteed. I could be sent to any federal prison but I am grateful that Judge Friedman was cognizant of keeping me close to my kids. During the final phase of the hearing, Judge Friedman commented that he “had received more support letters praising Mr. Engle, than he had ever seen before”. It is my belief that these letters made an enormous difference for me. I thank all of you who took the time to share your feelings with the judge. I have seen the list of names and I am deeply humbled by the genuine and unexpected outpouring of support for me.
Yesterday, I found myself daydreaming for the first time in a while. Since my arrest on May 20, 2010, I think I must have shut down the hopeful side of my brain where daydreams are created. I was picturing myself speaking to a large group of people after my release from prison. It went something like this, “For 10 years, during my 20’s, I did drugs, occasionally dealt drugs, drove my car when I shouldn’t have, and generally lived a dishonest life. But I never got into legal trouble for any of that. Yet here I stand in front of you having just been released from prison. My crime? Allegedly overstating my income on a home loan application. It just doesn’t sound like an impressive crime.” I am not trying to make light of the situation as much as I am just pointing out the irony of it.
By far the most satisfying fact to be confirmed at the hearing had to do with Running the Sahara. After the trial in October, it was misreported that I had somehow used ill gotten gains to fund the expedition and film. This was not true but I was in no position to argue the point publicly. During the sentencing hearing, it was made clear that I did not invest any money into the project. I did however invest lots of blood, sweat and tears and some other unmentionable bodily functions. I realize that people will always talk and it is hard for some to separate my alleged crimes from all of the other things I have done. Everything becomes tainted somehow. I understand that. But in the case of Running the Sahara, there are so many other amazing people involved in the project. Ray and Kevin and my support team and James Moll, Matt Damon and the production team. These are the people that made Running the Sahara happen. It was an amazing project that was put together and funded by incredible folks. I am grateful that the truth came out at the hearing.


Further Details:

USA v Charles R. Engle

http://mexicanrunningwild.blogspot.com/2011_02_01_archive.html 

Well, i guess now since sentencing happen, we are all allowed to talk about Charlie's case, I decided to post Charlie's dad's letter since there is nobody more passionate about the case than his dad, as a parent i can relate that a parent will do anything if he or she feels that a child has been treated unfairly.

This will be the last time i will make reference about the case, I decided to post it since Anonymous is determined to tell us all how wrong Charlie was, let me say something, i sat thought the trial and listen to all the evidence and not once did i feel any different about Charlie, we have our problems but they were never about how i think he handle this situation.
Also there is a great documentary regarding the housing crisis CNBC House of Cards.



"Ref: USA v Charles R. Engle
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

Judge: Jerome B. Friedman
Prosecutor: Joe Kosky
Defendant: Charlie Engle (Charles R. Engle, Jr.)
US Government, IRS, Criminal Investigation: Robert Wayne Nordlander
Nordlander’s Supervisor: David Kalil
Kalil’s boss in Charlotte, NC: Jeannine Hammett
Hammett’s boss: Michael Thomas, Director of Field Operations for the Southeast Region

This trial began September 28, 2010. Sentencing took place on January 10, 2011.

There were 15 Counts of bank fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, false statements to banks, and money laundering lodged against Charlie Engle. The United States dropped one count of providing false information to HSBC Bank before the trial started. The Jury found Charlie not guilty on the other count of providing false information to Shore Bank of Cape Charles, VA. The Jury found Charlie not guilty of money laundering. The bulk of the charges which resulted in guilty verdicts (12 Counts) involved faxes and Federal Express regarding loan applications and settlement papers. As a layman, I remain confused as to how one can be found not guilty of providing false information to the banks named in the Indictment, yet be found guilty of fraud.

It is important to note here that there were no Counts involving tax issues even though this was an IRS tax investigation. Indeed, this whole sordid affair started as a tax evasion investigation by Robert Nordlander, whom we consider to be a rogue IRS agent, but the United States Government was not able to find any tax code violations. They used what they called a “confession” by Charlie to start an investigation into bank fraud. The “confession” was not a confession. It was a statement regarding two stated income loans which Charlie obtained. Charlie was never advised by any lender that he was getting a stated income loan. This alleged confession to an IRS Undercover Agent took place four years after the loans for Yarmouth and Mason Street were obtained, and represented Charlie’s description of what he came to learn later was his involvement in a couple of “liar’s loans”, and his knowledge that his loan broker attributed a $400,000 annual income to him when the loan broker knew very well that Charlie did not earn $400,000. The Government asked everyone to believe that Charlie confessed to getting liar’s loans, when neither lender testified at trial that they had advised Charlie that he was getting a liar’s loan. Remember, Charlie disclosed all employment information as well as his tax returns to this broker. The Underwriter was a Bank of America company and this company, Impac Funding, had the responsibility to verify Charlie’s assets since this was a SIVA loan (stated income, verify assets). The United States Government knew very well that Impac did not verify assets and other material requirements for the underwriting of this loan. They simply were pushing loans out the door as most of us now know. We had a Judge and Jury who seemed not to know anything about the housing bubble bursting and the subsequent collapse of the mortgage industry due to the subprime lending practices of such banks as Bank of America, through companies such as Impac Funding, and at that time, Countrywide, which later became a Bank of America company. Judge Friedman stated in open court that he had never heard of a Stated Income loan, yet he refused to allow an expert witness to testify as to the lending practices prevalent in 2005-06. These lenders were tasked by the banks with selling these loans and then bundling them into bonds and derivatives for sale to investors, many of whom were foreign entities. Did Kosky, Nordlander, Friedman, Noll, Hammett, or Kalil know anything about what occurred during those 2005-06 days of toxic lending? How could they not? Could they possibly be that uninformed about current events? Together, they convicted what might be the only borrower in the United States of bank fraud regarding Stated Income loans. Charlie’s loans involved no victims. Not one person, other than Charlie Engle, lost money on those loans. He lost almost $100,000 in down payments. He lost the properties and the equity in them. He lost his credit. He lost his means to make a living. He lost his freedom and is going to prison because he got duped into taking two stated income loans on investment properties. Charlie had bought at least 15 properties in his lifetime and made money every time. There were never any issues legally or ethically about these prior purchases and sales. He reported and paid his taxes on all of those transactions. It is an honest way to make a living. The United States Government tried to portray Charlie’s real estate investing as a criminal endeavor. These last two properties, Yarmouth and Mason, turned out to be big losers, for many reasons. Robert W. Nordlander is the main reason for this tragedy. He is a liar and a manipulator. He lied to the Grand Jury, and he lied to the trial jury. He lied to his Supervisors, Kalil and Hammett, and they blessed his lies by okaying his requests for investigation, even after he had to drop tax issues as the basis for his investigation. He used tax evasion as the basis for performing surveillance on Charlie and his friends, for searching Charlie’s garbage, and for impounding Charlie’s mail. What did these efforts turn up? Nothing. So he went back to the well one more time to get an Undercover encounter approved. It is widely known that when there is no evidence of wrongdoing, the next measure for law enforcement is to get a confession, in any way possible. In this case, an agent from Myrtle Beach, Ellen Burrows, was used. I have copies of the confession and copies of the internal IRS memos memorializing the confession. Again, I will say this was not even close to a confession. Nordlander spun the conversation with the Undercover to fit his story. Nordlander’s version of a confession is not only inaccurate, it is intended to deceive.

There were two properties involved: 3118 Yarmouth, which Charlie acquired through a 1031 Exchange, whereby he exchanged a property he had owned for 7 years for the Yarmouth property. His share of the proceeds from the 1031 Exchange was $66,000, which was paid by Towne Bank to Charlie’s Bank of America account at the time of the closing of the Yarmouth escrow. The other property was a condo located at 115 Mason Street in Cape Charles. Charlie had placed a $5000 deposit two and a half years prior in the form of an “option to purchase” for a fixed price of $250,000 upon completion of the under construction condo. Thus, both properties designated in the Indictment were properties which Charlie had long investment ties to and were in no way impulse or short term purchases (schemes) as the United States Government tried to insinuate. The original Mason Street purchase for the option price of $250,000 was executed by a full documentation loan whereby Charlie provided all documentation requested by Shore Bank and its Underwriter. The United States Government, through the person of IRS agent Robert W. Nordlander, introduced a letter of intended employment and claimed that said letter was falsely concocted and part of a scheme to mislead the bank into making the loan. In fact, if the bank had done its required due diligence, it would have found that the letter, which was written by a colleague of Charlie’s named Robert Coyne, was a 100% accurate description of a venture that was underway and in which Charlie had invested $25,000. It is very important to note that this project was only under way a short time and would not qualify as employment for loan purposes anyway, since two years is required for a chain of employment to get a loan. The lender either knew this or should have known this. This was just more misleading information used to try to bring down Charlie Engle. It worked. None of the lenders did the requisite due diligence on these loans. Unfortunately, Charlie’s attorney was unable to grasp the importance of using the lack of due diligence to impeach the lenders’ testimony and the United States Government worked diligently to paint Charlie as a thief and a liar, when they knew very well that it was not true. Consequently, we were not able to pin down the lenders in the eyes of the jury. For many reasons, we are exploring civil remedies against the lenders at this time. It is also important to note here that the trial jury was less than stellar. That’s all I will say about that at this time.

This case started, according to Agent Nordlander’s testimony to the Grand Jury and at trial, when he read a newspaper article about Charlie Engle and his athletic exploits as an ultra-marathoner and a top endurance athlete. Nordlander stated that he was curious how a guy like this could earn a living and travel around the world and compete athletically. He stated that he was certain that Charlie was not reporting taxable income in order to support his lifestyle. It turns out that this “lifestyle” theme is somewhat of a fad among US Attorneys’ offices. Neil MacBride, US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, an Obama appointee, stated for the press that Charlie “manipulated the mortgage industry” to support his lifestyle; a remark that is totally false and misleading. It is difficult to believe that someone as high up the food chain as MacBride could accuse a single borrower, with no victims, of manipulating the mortgage industry by getting duped into taking a couple of stated income loans. Charlie had never heard of a stated income loan in 2005-06, and the lenders didn’t explain to him what they were or why he was getting one. As a matter of fact, Charlie was fedexed the subject loan applications, which were all filled out by the lenders, and told to return them in a matter of an hour or two, in order to meet the close of escrow deadline. This was part of their scam. Not only did they never review the loans with Charlie, they forced him to sign as much as 50-60 pages of loan docs in a few hours and return them immediately. Charlie never met any of these lenders face to face. These loans had 2/28 ARM’s, resettable every 6 months, based on the LIBOR, and were interest only, starting at 7.5% interest. These loans were so toxic that it wasn’t safe to be in the same room with them. Charlie, nor anyone, could have ever serviced these loans. When the housing market collapsed, because of these kinds of loans, Charlie quickly and wisely defaulted. He would never have been able to make those payments, even though he serviced the Yarmouth loan for almost a year. The condo went from an appraised value of $415,000 in 2006, to $124,000 today, and it is not selling at $124,000. Something is very wrong with those numbers. What really went on with that condo? What does the Government know that they have not revealed? The Yarmouth house went from $555,000 to less than $275,000 today. The Mason Street condo sold in foreclosure for more than Charlie owed, so there was no loss to the bank or anyone. Whoever bought it though has lost a ton by now. The Yarmouth house sold for $292,000, generated a foreclosure loss for B of A of approximately $262,000, an amount which the US Government has asked Charlie to repay. Are they blaming Charlie for the collapse of the housing market? Nordlander writes in an internal IRS memo that Charlie indeed caused the collapse of the US housing market. Yes, I have it in writing. Charlie should not be tasked with paying this loss to a bank which caused this problem to begin with. Has the Government asked any of Bernie Madoff’s victims to pay him back because they stopped paying into his funds?

This case is an embarrassment to me, to US citizens everywhere, and to the United States Government. They have ruined Charlie Engle’s life. He lost speaking engagement contracts, endorsements, magazine article fees, and so much more. We don’t know why this occurred. Nordlander claims he was just reading his newspaper. Frankly, I don’t believe him. I believe he had another motive and we are looking into that possibility currently. He testified also that if he saw a person driving a nice car, like a Ferrari, he might run the tags, and pull the driver’s tax returns to see if it looked like he could afford such a car. How did we get to this point in the United States of America? Is our Government so morally bankrupt that they have to delve into citizens’ private lives when there is no visible sign of wrongdoing? Actually, sponsors were paying for Charlie’s travels. Nordlander, Kosky, and Neil MacBride hammered Charlie’s lifestyle at every opportunity, and how he was defrauding banks through second mortgages to get money to support his lifestyle. In fact, I have an internal IRS memo from Nordlander to Kalil and Hammett stating that Charlie Engle appeared NOT to be living a “lavish” lifestyle. Notwithstanding that statement, they continued to tell the Grand Jury, the trial jury, and the press that Charlie used unlawfully obtained money to support his lifestyle. This is just not true. They used a journalist/goon named Tim McGlone in Norfolk to spread their propaganda. First he reported erroneously that Charlie took loan money to finance his run across Africa. Elementary fact checking would have proven that to be not true. His most recent contribution to the Government was describing Charlie’s loans as over a million dollars in an article after the sentencing took place. Of course, they counted the Mason Street condo, which was originally purchased for $250,000, and paid off in full on a refinance for $300,000, as $550,000 in purchases. By counting the condo twice, they simply continued the thread of deception which they engaged in from day one. They wanted to use that million dollar figure. At the end, the restitution amount shrunk to $260,000, and that was simply due to default and foreclosure. That property would have lost its value whether it was sold or not sold. All properties lost their values during this time frame.

Charlie obtained $66,000 from the proceeds of a 1031 Exchange. This was totally legal and the United States Government did not ask Charlie to repay it. The same is true for the $80,000 he received from the “cash out refinance” of the Mason condo. He paid $250,000, with $50,000 down payment originally, and months later refinanced it for $300,000 against an appraisal of $400,000 and withdrew $80,000 in equity. This was perfectly legal. Charlie left even more equity on the table. The transaction was called a “cash out refinance”. There was nothing deceptive about that. Remember, the property was later sold in foreclosure for more than the $300,000 loan amount. The statements by the Government that Charlie took $146,000 from second mortgages was simply not true. There was one second mortgage involved in the three transactions and that was for $111,000 on the Yarmouth property. That $111,000 was a purchase money second mortgage, and went directly to the Seller. Furthermore, the Government, as late as Jan. 10, 2011, at the sentencing was telling the Court that Charlie had caused the banks to lose $405,000. In fact, based on discovery provided by the United States Government before the trial in September, 2010, the Mason condo was sold in foreclosure for $312,000. So why did Nordlander, Kosky, Kalil, and Hammett continue to insist that the banks lost $405,000? I can only surmise that they continued to lie about the numbers in order to confuse the real issue, which was that subprime lending practices had caused the housing bubble to burst, and not individual borrowers who were coerced into taking stated income loans.

We just found out that Charlie is to report to Beckley, West Virginia, on February 14, 2011. Of course, they wouldn’t send him to Butner, which is about 55 miles from Greensboro. Then he would be able to see his sons and friends regularly. The Government certainly wouldn’t want that. We have no idea why this Prosecutor, Kosky, or the Probation Officer, Jeff Noll, would misrepresent the truth so blatantly and aggressively against someone like Charlie. Noll’s presentencing report was so amateurish as to be embarrassing. It was filled with errors and misstatements of facts. He requested that Charlie serve 47 months in prison. There was a federal sentence handed down in Seattle recently to two individuals who caused the IRS to lose out on $240 million in taxes in a tax shelter scheme. The sentence: 50 months. The question remains: why did these United States Government people want so badly to put Charlie Engle in prison over two stated income loans, and no victims were involved other than Charlie.


Charlie has helped many, many people get off drugs and alcohol. He is active to this day in that regard. He was instrumental in helping to raise over $6 million for H2O Africa, with the Matt Damon Foundation. Charlie starred in a documentary, Running the Sahara, narrated by Matt Damon. He did this in the middle of this property mess. Yes, he definitely was trying to make some money to support himself and service his debt, including child support payments during this time. He was committed to his sport and he was trying to turn it into a way to make a living. The United States Government repeatedly accused him of trying to make money to pay his child support and living expenses. Since when did that become against the law in the United States of America? Nordlander is someone we understand to a point. Let’s just say he has “shortcomings”, which might explain some forms of envy vis a vis a Charlie Engle, but it doesn’t explain his propensity for lying under oath, which I look forward to disclosing. He should be indicted for perjury. More troubling is how his Supervisors, Kalil and Hammett, justified using a tax investigation to trample on Charlie’s Fourth Amendment and other rights, and to investigate every aspect of his personal life only to toss it aside, and substitute bank fraud because of a conversation with an IRS Undercover in Mimi’s Café in Greensboro, NC. The IRS had everything but a SWAT Team involved in the Undercover operation. They were armed and there were seven or eight of them. They spent over 660 hours admittedly on this investigation at a cost to the taxpayers of probably more that $2 million. I don’t know the real amount. They do. And what is the outcome? Charlie is to spend 21 months in prison and repay Bank of America $262,000 for a default and foreclosure, which is only one of millions caused by the subprime lending practices of banks like B of A. There is nothing else to the case. It was so simple and so void of substance that nobody, including the jury, the Judge, our attorneys, the prosecutor, and the IRS, could understand it. The jury is a topic I will address later.

One lender is an admitted liar and a felon. He forged his own parents’ signatures on a loan application. Nordlander never mentions his name, which is John J. Hellman, Jr., of Priority Financial, in any internal IRS memos that I can find. One Grand Juror asked Nordlander if the loan officers might be indicted. Nordlander and Kosky deflected the question and no answer appears in the Grand Jury transcript. They clearly avoided making a response to the Grand Juror. This Hellman character has not been sentenced yet. I am watching with great interest to see what he gets for a sentence. To his credit, he did not admit to any scheme with Charlie, since there was none, which is what the Government had charged Charlie with publicly. He simply said that Charlie told him that he was making $32,500 a month, a figure so implausible that it would be comical if the consequences were not so severe. The loan application he wrote for Charlie was revealed by a handwriting expert hired by the US Government to have been initialed apparently “by someone other than” Charlie Engle, and signed by someone who might or might not be Charlie Engle. Would that be reasonable doubt? I have in my possession four other loan application pages signed by John Hellman. All four are clearly signed by different people. This lender was churning out stated income loans, but you won’t learn that from the United States Government. By all rights, all borrowers who received Stated Income loans involving John J. Hellman, Jr., through Priority Financial, or Impac Funding should have been notified that he was under investigation for falsifying income on loans. How many such loans were brokered by Hellman that involved Stated Income loans? The Government withheld this information from the Grand Jury and provided no testimony at trial as to the extent to which Hellman brokered these loans. Why wasn’t Charlie notified that this person was indicted for falsifying Stated Income Loans? The lenders certainly should have notified everyone who received a loan from Priority Financial or any Bank of America company. There are lots of unanswered questions. A big one would be: how many Bank of America/Countrywide/Impac Funding executives have been indicted for subprime lending practices?

The other loan by Linda Gaskill of Shore Bank in Cape Charles attributed an income of $15,000/month to Charlie. Charlie denies telling her that, but at the same time, Charlie had bank deposits in 2005, the year that loan was applied for, of $247,000, with an income of over $180,000, so there was no falsification anyway. The United States Government lied about that income to the Grand Jury and to the Trial Jury. Thus, there are only two loans in question, because the third loan was a full doc loan which was fully repaid by the refinance. Of the two, we have a forgery on the loan application of one, and the stated income in the proper amount of $180,000 on the other. So how did this happen? When the tax investigation scheme created by Nordlander proved not to be viable, he was probably embarrassed to have wasted so much Government time and money, so he lied to his Supervisor about the tax evasion, in order to bring in the Undercover.

It is also noteworthy here to clarify the degree to which these lenders went to avoid knowing Charlie’s income. On four occasions, two by Linda Gaskill at Shore Bank, and two by Hellman’s staff at Priority Financial, the lenders had Charlie’s employer at Extreme Makeover, Home Edition, on the telephone to verify Charlie’s employment. They both aggressively made certain to let this person know that they did NOT want to know Charlie’s income. Hellman’s Underwriter even wrote in black and white bold print on a Verification of Employment form which the employer, Rob Davis signed, “NO INCOME NEEDED, THANKS.” Did the United States Government know this? Of course they did. They had a copy of the Verification of Employment form described above. Furthermore, this does not explain why both lenders did not order and read Charlie’s tax returns. He signed 4506 Forms giving both of them permission to access his tax returns. The fact remains that these lenders wanted to be able to put down an income figure necessary to fit the requisite ratios needed by the Underwriters to approve the loans. They assured Charlie that he was already pre-approved and requested that he trust them and just sign and return the forms. Not only did the United States Government know this, the United States Government encouraged these practices by turning a blind eye to all regulation regarding these subprime lenders.

The fact, though, remains, that those liar’s loans cost Charlie a lot of money and he, and only he, lost money because of them, so what kind of a confession would that be? We will let US public opinion make a determination about this case. I asked Brad Miller, Charlie’s North Carolina Congressman, to monitor the case; not to get involved, but to monitor it. He blew it off. We shall see what others say about this case.

I have the documentation to back up what I have written in this paper/complaint, particularly regarding Charlie’s innocence of the income falsification charges, which is what the entire case was about. I want to state here that even if Charlie had misstated, exaggerated, or falsified his income, he should not be going to prison. Millions of people were duped into taking stated income loans during 2005-06. It was such a corrupt lending tactic that the US Senate in May, 2010, banned further use of stated income loans. If the US Government arrested all of the people who were duped into falsifying their income on stated income loans during that period of time, the judicial system and the prisons would be full for many, many more years. Anyone who is minimally current regarding the lending/banking/housing crisis knows the role that stated income loans played in the near destruction of the US economy. How then could Judge Friedman, the Jury, Mr. Kosky, Mr. Noll, Nordlander, Mr. Kalil, Ms. Hammett, and US Attorney Neil MacBride have such a low level of awareness regarding the current events now and in 2005-06? The United States is still in economic trouble because of subprime lending practices by banks such as Bank of America. It is appalling that these people could be so ignorant of the facts. I ask again. What was the real reason for the viciousness and mean-spirited IRS lynching of Charlie Engle?

I am a US Army veteran, having served from 1966-69. I volunteered my services because I thought it was the right thing to do. How proud am I of my Government now?

Richard Engle"

Further info on Liar Loans:
What Does Liar Loan Mean?
A category of mortgages known as low-documentation or no-documentation mortgages that have been abused to the point where the loans are sometimes referred to as liar loans. On certain low-documentation loan programs, such as stated income/stated asset (SISA) loans, income and assets are simply stated on the loan application. On other loan programs, such as no income/no asset (NINA) loans, no income and assets are given on the loan application form. These loan programs open the door for unethical behavior by unscrupulous borrowers and lenders.
Investopedia Says
Investopedia explains Liar Loan
These loan programs are designed for borrowers who have a hard time producing income and asset verifying documents, such as prior tax returns, or who have untraditional sources of income, such as tips, or a personal business. These loans are called liar loans because the SISA or NINA features open the door for abuse when borrowers or their mortgage brokers or loan officers overstate income and/or assets in order to qualify the borrower for a larger mortgage.

Low-documentation mortgages usually fall into the Alt-A category of mortgage lending. Alt-A lending depends heavily on a borrower's credit score (FICO score) and the mortgage's loan-to-value ratio (LTV) as tools to determine the borrower's ability to repay the mortgage. 
 

Stated income loan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A stated income loan is a mortgage where the lender does not verify the borrower's income by looking at their pay stubs, W-2 forms, income tax returns, or other records. Instead, borrowers are simply asked to state their income, and taken at their word. These loans are sometimes called "liar loans"[1]. Stated income loans were originated by Ameriquest.[2]

Reasons for stated income loans

These loans are nominally intended for self-employed borrowers, or other borrowers who might have difficulty documenting their income. Stated income loans have been extended to customers with a wide range of credit histories, including subprime borrowers. The lack of verification makes these loans particularly simple targets for fraud.[3]
Stated income loans fill a gap of situations which normal loan standards would not approve. For example, a standard rule is that a customer's mortgage and other loan payments should take up no more than 45% of the person's income. This would seem prudent for a person just owning their main home. However, a real estate investor may have multiple properties and for each may receive only a small amount more than their loan payments on each house, but end up with $200,000 in disposable income. Nevertheless, a non-stated income loan would decline this person since their debt to income ratio would not be in line. The same issue can arise with self-employed borrowers, where the bank with a fully documented loan would include the borrower's business debt in their debt to income calculation. Stated income loans also help borrowers where fully documented loans normally would not consider the source of income as being reliable and stable, such as investors who consistently earn capital gains. Fully documented loans also do not consider potential future income increases.
In August 2006, Steven Krystofiak, president of the Mortgage Brokers Association for Responsible Lending, in a statement at a Federal Reserve hearing on mortgage regulation, reported that his organization had compared a sample of 100 stated income mortgage applications to IRS records, and found almost 60% of the sampled loans had overstated their income by more than 50 percent.[4]
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer is currently leading an effort to restrict stated income loans;[5] his Borrowers Protection Act of 2007 would essentially forbid them.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stated_income_loan
 
 
Free Charlie Engle!

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