Introduction


Presented in reverse chronology, this history stretches from the present back to the Fellowship's 1970 founding, and beyond.
(See "Blog Archive" in the sidebar below.) It draws from many sources, including The Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion, the Internet Archive, the former Fellowship of Friends wiki project, cult education and awareness sites, news archives, and from the editor's own 13-year experience in the Fellowship.

The portrait that emerges stands in stark contrast to sanitized versions presented on the Fellowship's array of
alluring websites, and on derivative sites created by Burton's now-estranged
disciple, Asaf Braverman.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Fellowship members allege investment fraud

[ed. - This bizarre case involves Fellowship of Friends members suing others who recently departed the Fellowship, with the opposing parties apparently represented by Fellowship lawyers Abraham Goldman and David Springfield (possibly working out of the same small Oregon House law firm.) It's strangeness is typical of the Fellowship's netherworld. The Fellowship of Friends, Inc. is named as a movant in the case. Since hefty member tithes (10% or more of gross incomes) are involved, the Fellowship certainly has an interest, if not a direct one, in members' investments. (This story suggests that Robert Burton's hope of enjoying seaside retreats in members' properties in the Caribbean and on the Mediterranean may have to wait.)]
Fellowship members allege investment fraud
Appeal-Democrat
March 08, 2009 12:05:00 AM

By Ryan McCarthy

Worthless investments in what were said to be oceanfront developments in France and the Dominican Republic were sold to Fellowship of Friends members by an Oregon House company, a lawsuit contends.

"False representations, misstatements of facts and material omissions" were made to gain as much money as possible from two Fellowship members so the Stroomwell Investment Group in Oregon House would avoid defaulting on the developments, the suit states.

The filing Thursday in federal court in Sacramento does not specifically name the Fellowship. But attorney Abraham Goldman, who represents two women who invested a total of $350,000, said "it's a fair deduction" that the Fellowship is the Yuba County church described in the court filing.

The suit asserts that church members Bonnie Lohman invested $170,000 and Edith Minne $180,000 in 2007. Funds totaling more than $100,000 were also solicited from at least eight additional church members, according to the suit.

The money was obtained "without any intent or reasonable expectation" to repay, according to the suit, which seeks a court order requiring payment of all funds lost by the two women.

Oregon House resident Traci Southwell, 36, named in the lawsuit along with Huib Stroomberg and the Stroomwell Investment Group, disputes the suit's assertions.

"All the paperwork is going to prove that's not true," Southwell said.

The development projects are affected by a slowdown in sales due to global economic conditions, she said.
"I'm shocked about this," Southwell said of the lawsuit, which she added "discourages people from investing internationally." She linked the lawsuit filed Thursday to her and Huib Stroomberg leaving the Fellowship last summer.

Goldman responded that "Huib and Traci leaving has absolutely nothing to do with this lawsuit."

"Nobody bears any grudge against them of any kind," Goldman said. "Where's the money?" the attorney said. "That's the question."

No accounting has been made of what the investments were used for, he said.

"Within a month of taking the funds from my clients the contractor on this job went into bankruptcy," Goldman said. Negligible work was done on the development in France, he said.

Southwell describes that project as nine seaview condominiums that is three-quarters complete.

About 15 investors are involved with the projects in France and the Dominican Republic, she said. Southwell said she is an investor as well as the bookkeeper for Stroomwell.

"She took her money out of the stock market and now has a hard asset," Southwell said.

Southwell called the women who filed the suit "two people I love very much." Oregon House is already dealing with tensions between Fellowship members and those who don't belong to the religious organizations, Southwell added.

"I don't think our little community can handle any more this kind of stuff," she said.

Southwell said of the Fellowship, "The people themselves are just wonderful — kind, educated people interested in spirituality."

She declined to discuss the reasons she and Stroomberg left the group.

The Fellowship began in 1970, according to its Web site, which states that the group was founded in the Fourth Way tradition, also known as "esoteric Christianity."

Contact Appeal-Democrat reporter Ryan McCarthy at 749-4707 or rmccarthy@appealdemocrat.com.
Read more at the Appeal-Democrat.

"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, June 29, 2009:
I’ve been told that the “David Springfield letter” was introduced in Federal (Eastern District) Court in Sacramento a couple of weeks ago. This is the RICO action Edith Minne and Bonnie Lohmann brought against ex-FoF followers, Huib Stroomberg and Traci Southwell and the Stroomberg Investment Group (heard by Judge Mendez). Wouldnt You Like To Know kindly told us about this in post #67-143 [posted below], with a link to the actual Appeal Democrat article.

I have to wonder why this letter would be introduced to the court. Abraham Goldman, in the A–D article, claimed that the case had nothing to do with the Fellowship, so I assume that the defendant is somehow trying to link the action with the FoF, specifically them leaving the FoF, and so draw them into the case? To undermine the credibility of the FoF lawyers (one of whom I believe is David Springfield himself?)

The second thing is, if this letter has indeed been introduced as evidence of some sort, then it has become a public record, and not only that, presumably sworn and attested to as being the truth by at least the defendants? Savvy readers who know the implications, please help out!

Here is the article for anyone interested. Note that Traci Southwell does make the link, according to the reporter… [ed. - Posted above.]

"Wouldnt You Like To Know" posted on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, March 8, 2009:
Fellowship members allege investment fraud:

http://www.appeal-democrat.com/fellowship-members-allege-investment-fraud/article_1dae73e9-7ec4-549e-87be-2d1d276ab62b.html

Background from Stroomwell Investment Group website:

Directors

Huib Stroomberg and Traci Southwell are the directors of Stroomwell Investment Group, Incorporated; a California (S) Corporation, registered in January 17, 2005 with a sister branch registered in The Netherlands, January 2007.

Huib originates from Delft, The Netherlands and Traci is from Oregon, USA. They were living in Northern California and met in the rose garden of a vineyard and winery, on September 8, 2003, they started working together co-directors in the winery, shortly thereafter, and have continued their partnership ever since.

Traci and Huib formed Stroomwell Investment Group, Inc. in January of 2005, and their first success was a start up they created for an inventor friend. They took it through development and reached their aims including a profit of just under $1M, a 63% profit margin, fully trained staff and distributors, international registration, full compliance, and a fully developed production and infrastructure all in one year. They sold their shares to their partner and moved on to their original passion – international properties.

In September of 2006, they met their first well-managed developers seeking project funding, and together with investors, funded their first multi million dollar project by January 2007 with an exit strategy of 14 – 18 months and a high ROI. Their second project was funded in June 2007, also with a high ROI and a 12 month exit strategy. Their 3rd project is a luxury holding with high annual yields as well as high capital appreciation. Their list of projects and funding is growing rhythmically at this point with 5 new projects on the horizon for 2008.

With a mutual interest in real estate, fine art, philosophy and philanthropy and having already acquired their first asset – an antique sculpture, they endeavored to begin investing together immediately, but were approached by a friend/inventor who wanted them to help him promote a software/hardware invention [ed. - Kiran Schmidt's CoRe Inergetix]. Believing in their friend and his product, they left him to sabbatical and further inventing, while SIG formed and managed its first start-up in May of 2006.

Its purpose was to bring the company past the start-up and development stage, to reach a million dollars of profit, and to develop a self-sustaining infrastructure; to have an efficient and legally compliant product according to international safety standards, in one year, with carefully chosen and well trained staff and additional distributors.

Stroomwell acted as the managing member and built the start-up together with their colleagues in the company. It managed logistics, production, human resources, technical support, training, marketing and sales, finances, legal matters, product management, etc. In 12 months the project was averaging a gross of 80,000 to 100,000 euros / month with a 63% profit margin $50,000 worth of inventory a fully trained sales and technical staff and trained distributors located throughout Europe and had completed 2 successful European tours. At that point the company was operating without debt, as well. At the end of this phase of the start-up, SIG agreed to sell their Membership shares to their business partner. During that time, they had gained a lot of experience and learned a great deal about start-ups and international business, and sufficiently proven and tested their abilities, handing over a profitable and self-sufficient business to their partner, they were ready to refocus on their previous interests.

By September of 2006 SIG rekindled their initial passion in real estate and found themselves checking out the market in the South of Europe in the company of development partners who were sufficiently well-managed, well-researched investors/consultants, whose particular specialty was in undervalued beach front properties and whose initial backgrounds were in Environmental Science and Geology. The chemistry was very good, and the timing was also perfect for their meeting. The developers were interested in funding their projects, and SIG was looking for expertise and a good investment – they were both looking for people they enjoyed doing business with and working with long-term. The developers were also taking special interest in stimulating the socio-economic welfare of the area they were investing in by working with locals and implementing entrepreneurial training programs for women, as well as maintaining attention to the environmental aspects of the project.

Stroomwell made the aim to support these development projects by investing with these developers and helping to fulfill funding needs for their ocean view developments by attracting investors by word of mouth and referral, who shared a high level of interest and enthusiasm in investing together in these projects.

The (self-directed) investment group started growing while Huib and Traci were traveling in Europe and found themselves extending their stay, until it became obvious that they were to relocate temporarily or permanently to Europe. They chose to locate our branch to Delft, The Netherlands, which is where Huib is originally from. SIG registered their branch with the local chamber of commerce, in January of 2007.

Four short months after meeting the developers, by the end of January 2007 SIG had invested in their first project with the developers in the Dominican Republic, and together with a small but budding network of investors both European and North American, funded the project. It was a high (more than 50%) ROI with an exit strategy of 18 months, which also left plenty of room from phase 2 investors to make a profit as well. Resales are still occurring and a reflection of the successful research and testing of the project by the developers in that market, is that during its first few months of development, an expansion of the development was proposed to a large Fund source from Australia, who after 12 months of due diligence, accepted the proposal and agreed to funding the project with an equity position, which represented the fact driven confidence of the Fund.

The next project was funded in the summer of 2007 in the South of France with new as well as existing investors. The projected ROI is greater than 25% in 18 months. The resale for the second phase has presently begun. (link to Cerbere)

The investment group continues to grow as well as our network of developers and new network of brokers as well as an internal sales support team, which supports the sale of their various investments which further minimizes investment risk and time of return for the investors. If you are a well managed private developer seeking funding for your project, or a private investor looking for a group to invest with or you are a broker interested in selling quality international investment properties to your clients please contact us.

"Just the Facts Ma'am" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, June 29, 2009:
74/301. veramente [quoting blogger]
‘I hate to think that RB could escape in Egypt without paying his dues to the INS, IRS, and criminal justice. He is not alone of course, he has got lots of helpers who could be facing charges for breaking the law and covering up for him and themselves in many ways.’
People have been, or can be, tried in absentia for criminal activity. Then there are extradition treaties. REB is already persona non grata (person not acceptable) in various jurisdictions around the world. Pretty soon the only opportunity will be to leave the planet to escape.

"Just the Facts Ma'am" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, June 29, 2009:
75/2. Ames Gilbert [quoting blogger]:
‘I have to wonder why this letter would be introduced to the court.’
Possibly to implicate the plaintiffs (and the Fellowship of Friends, Robert Earl Burton, and/or Abraham Goldman, Associates) of the very same criminal activity (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO)), that the defendants are accused of, to the legal justice system.

"Just the Facts Ma'am" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, June 29, 2009:
Minne et al v. Stroomberg et al
District Court: CA Eastern
Judge: Mendez
Type of Lawsuit: Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO)
Cause of Action: Federal Question
Plaintiff: Edith Minne, Bonnie Lohmann
Defendant: Huib Stroomberg, Traci Southwell, Stroomwell Investment Group, Inc.
Case Number: 2:2009cv00625
Filed: March 5, 2009
Amount Demanded: $350,000.00
http://dockets.justia.com/docket/court-caedce/case_no-2:2009cv00625/case_id-189030/

"Just the Facts Ma'am" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, June 29, 2009: 
Minne et al v. Stroomberg et al
District Court: CA Eastern
Judge: Mendez
Type of Lawsuit: Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO)
Cause of Action: Federal Question
Plaintiff: Edith Minne, Bonnie Lohmann
Defendant: Huib Stroomberg, Traci Southwell, Stroomwell Investment Group, Inc.
Case Number: 2:2009at00345
Filed: March 5, 2009
Amount Demanded: $350,000,000.00
http://dockets.justia.com/docket/court-caedce/case_no-2:2009at00345/case_id-189011/

"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, June 30, 2009:
Well, I never knew until today how much fun one can have for three bucks and change!

If you go to the link provided by Just the Facts Ma’am (#75-14 or thereabouts), you’ll see two case numbers for Minne et al v. Stroomberg et al, 2: 2209at00345 and 2:2009cv00625. I clicked on the latter, which took me to a new page devoted to that case. When I scrolled down the page, I found a heading, “Access Additional Case Information on PACER”. PACER is a public records access system. I clicked on ‘History/Documents’. The next page invited me to login to the records, or to subscribe to PACER. I subscribed, and after giving my credit card information and such, was able to access the system after about ten minutes. Back to the ‘History/Documents’, and for 16 cents I got a summary. I’m no lawyer, so I chose the documents closest to the twenty day window after the initial filing. There were three available, all called Reply to Response to Motion. All interesting, but to save you guys some time, the pertinent one is #26. 82 pages, but the government only asks you to pay for the first 30 pages of any document.

Lots of interesting stuff here, folks, and some revealing relationships. The way I see it, the gist of the claim is: David Springfield was the lawyer for the defendants until fairly recently; he was hired and was paid for legal work he did for them; and, he and Abraham Goldman are inextricably intertwined professionally; David Springfield knew a great deal about the defendants financially and personally, knowledge gained over many years of working for their interests. Hence the claim of conflict of interest and the request to have Goldman and Goldman Associates removed from the case.

Lots of supporting exhibits. Here’s the best, from my point of view, Exhibit G. It is, wait for drum roll, David Springfield’s Letter to the Board of Directors (November 19, 2007). Of course we, and all sentient beings with operating consciences, are interested mostly in the stern and truthful finger pointing to various criminal activities within the Fellowship of Friends, but the defendants entered the letter into the record as one of the proofs that Springfield and Goldman were indeed intimately associated in their legal practice.

So, any member of the public has access to these records. I, a interested member of the public at large, have just accessed them. The letter is therefore indubitably and incontrovertibly (I love those big words!) in the public domain, and Abraham Goldman has been ‘actively misdirecting’ (use your own synonym here) us, WordPress, Archive.org, Godlike Productions, and no doubt others by claiming privilege when he knew and knows full well there is no privilege.

So, for just $2.56, you too can verify for yourself that the signed letter exists. David Springfield’s signature has quite the flourish, and is unmistakable. The letter is true, has been entered into a federal court record, and contains important truths. Names have been blacked out (now I understand the name, Black Marker), but are not hard to guess; the usual suspects.

Black Marker, whoever you are, and for whatever reasons you posted the letter originally, I thank you again. You have done a great service. And if you have more documents, I strongly encourage you to first post them on Wikileaks, then tell us how to find them (don’t post a direct link, just tell us the search terms). That will surely save the blog moderator some grief!

[ed. - Below are some documents related to the case.]
Related Case Order

Order Denying Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and Motion to Disqualify Abraham Goldman as Counsel for the Plaintiffs

Minne et al v. Stroomberg et al Content Page

[ed. - Below, promotions for the real estate deals the Fellowship members could not resist. The Bach Concerto in the video may have been the hook.]
"South of France Condos on the Mediterranean Sea in Cerbere Hot Real Estate Investment Market"

From "Ocean Star Estates" video on YouTube:

Uploaded on Feb 15, 2009

Contact Mihai Algos [Mihai Algiu] of Stroomwell Investment Group for more information, Cell (US) + 1 530 632 7513 or email to mihairesearch@yahoo.com

Nine sea view apartments on the Mediterranean Sea with unobstructed views. Prices starting at just $220,000. Includes shared garden and pool! Each apartment features a terrace with breathing views! Great investment property with high appreciation plus rental income.

Each of the 9 apartments offer unobstructed views of the Mediterranean Sea. Central to golf, tennis, horse riding, diving, sailing and windsurfing with truly outstanding French Catalan cuisine, it is a food and wine haven which hosts a local one star Michelen restaurant. There are numerous diving clubs offering a view of on of the most exceptional, submerged marine worlds in the Mediterranean. It is a divers paradise with over 65 hectares of protected submarine reserve.

Skiing is found in the Pyrenees mountains within 1 hour of Cerbere. There are 12 ski resorts in the Catalan Pyrenees, with 200 runs and 150 ski lifts.

The Languedoc-Rousillon brings 14 million tourists per year including 4 million foreigners; 100 million over-nights, 3 billion Euro revenue - Languedoc Roussillon is the fourth largest French tourist region in one of the most visited countries in the world.

Easy access from Perpignon and Girona airports including direct flights from all over Europe.

Upon the completion of the high speed TGV line between Perpignon and Barcelona in 2011, travel time between Perpignon and Barcelona will reduce from 2.5 hours to 50 minutes and importantly, Barcelona and Paris will be linked by this Perpignon junction bringing a serge in population growth, property investment, and tourism.

The Spanish will continue to take advantage of the Languedocs less expensive and higher return, Mediterranean seaside investment property, with an upcoming speedy commute to Barcelona via the new TGV connection.

Excellent European climate, with 300 days of sunshine, and summer temperatures averaging 30 degrees Celcius.

Rental Income tax in France is 7%, which is one of the lowest in the EU countries. Capital Gains taxes are reduced by 10% each 5 years after the first 5 years amounting to 0% (Full CGT exemption) after 15 years holding.

France is a historically strong and stable market and a safe country to invest in property, due to its strict buying process and legal system.

Capital appreciation is averaging15% in Cerbere and is expected to peak in 2011 to 35% (+) as a result of 2 major events: The TGV connection from Barcelona to Perpignan, coinciding with the height of the global baby-boomer retiring population also in 2011.

The arrival of the TGV in Perpignan will emulate the positive affect on the local property market which Marseille experienced upon the arrival of the TGV, where capital appreciation rose to 35%.

Contact Mihai Algos [Mihai Algiu] of Stroomwell Investment Group for more information, Cell (US) + 1 530 632 7513. mihairesearch@yahoo.com

"Luperon Real Estate Ocean Star Estates Dominican Ocean View Land For Sale"

From "Ocean Star Estates" video on YouTube.

Uploaded on Feb 4, 2009

http://www.GetawayIslandProperty.com - This is an investment opportunity carrying 30 - 60% per annum rate of return on resale, with a built in equity of 40%.

Stroomwell Investment Group (SIG) is an international property investment company based in California with a branch office in the Netherlands. SIG has partnered with Developer Rogue Investor (RI), to invest in and develop a residential ocean view property on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic, 15' away from the town of Luperon.

We own and develop 43 acres of ocean view property, situated on a gentle slope facing the ocean. The completed development will be a gated community, featuring a club house, nature adventure trails, convenience stores, a clinic, recreational amenities and a gate house.

At this point in the development, preliminary infrastructure is in place; roads are cut and water wells and electricity will be available by May, the completion of which will allow investors, developers or owners to commence construction.

Each owner receives individual title, with deeded access to the two secluded beaches, complying with the recent 'Deslinde' regulations. Lot prices are at 30% to 50% below market value, ranging from US $ 49.900 to over $ 109.000, based on sizes, ranging between 400 sq.m to over 2500 sq.m.

We offer $ 10.000 discount on cash payments on lots priced $ 69.000 and above. We also provide financing at 8.75% after a minimum down payment of 30%.

Additional contact information:
Name: Mihai Algos [Mihai Algiu]

U.S. Phone # - 1 530 - 632 - 7513

Email Address: mihairesearch@yahoo.com

1 comment:

  1. it is now AUGUST 2016, nobody who invested there money in project Cerebere with Stroomberg and company has seen a penny from their investment back.
    Sad to say but this man has hurt a lot of people, what is worse is that Huib Stroomberg has vanished and refuses to talk to anyone involved. The last we heard through an email was that he advised everybody to pray.. and btw this spiel has nothing to do with the Fellowship of Friends. talk about 'Karma'

    ReplyDelete