Douglass and Peggy Jennings
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In the packed federal courtroom of Judge Gonzalo Curiel yesterday (April 5), attorney John Douglass Jennings Jr. was sentenced to 34 months in prison, while his wife Peggy, who worked in real estate, got four months behind bars. She had been charged with bank fraud and aiding and abetting. She was ordered to pay J.P. Morgan Chase, a huge New York financial institution, $1.45 million. Her lawyer portrayed her husband as the one controlling her.

Her lawyer husband, earlier disbarred, ran a tax firm in La Jolla. He

Their Rancho Santa Fe home at 6036 San Elijo is on the market for $3.9 million.

boasted that he knew legal loopholes and ran a “faith-based” operation. Judge Curiel criticized him for getting clients through that religious pitch. He was charged with concealmenet of bankruptcy assets and aiding and abetting. He is to pay $1.45 million to his victims.

In 2013, bankruptcy court Judge Louse DeCarl Adler charged both Jennings and his wife with “embezzlement and larceny” in a transaction, “with fraudulent and felonious intent.” Their actions were “willful and malicious,” said Adler. The Jennings filed for Chapter 7 (liquidation) bankruptcy in 2012.

Their posh Rancho Santa Fe home is on the market for $3.9 million, down from $4.2 million.

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Comments

Visduh April 6, 2018 @ 4:22 p.m.

Does this mean that the Jennings Tax Firm is shut down until he gets out of the slammer? Or will it just chug along, peddling the same old nonsense? There's no reason that other people, employees most likely, cannot keep it going. Ol' Doug doesn't claim to be practicing law now, and might just have set it up so that he was an employee himself.

Keeping the doors open while he's locked up would seem nervy, but with him, ya' never know.

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Don Bauder April 6, 2018 @ 6:42 p.m.

Visduh: As soon as he was disbarred, he set up a tax accounting firm and continued right in his old business of fleecing clients. And touting his own piety. He has also had some slimy fellows working for him through the years. Perhaps one of them will pick up the accounting business. Nothing would surprise me. Best, Don Bauder

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scotty501 April 7, 2018 @ 9:58 a.m.

What do you think causes this type of behavior? Why did he go bankrupt? Over extend himself?

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Don Bauder April 7, 2018 @ 6:04 p.m.

scotty501: He put the money of his clients, and presumably some of his own, in ski country. He and his clients were over their heads in debt when 2007-2009 came along. Also, he had been screwing his clients; that presented problems. Best, Don Bauder

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JustWondering April 6, 2018 @ 4:32 p.m.

The following was posted on YELP:

“An update: the firm has changed its name to La Jolla Financial Group. They operate out of the same offices and use the same phone number and staff. This past September, Doug Jennings wrote to his clients and confirmed, "My intent to continue to work as a consultant to the new firm on a continuing basis." Mr. Jennings went on to write, " I truly apologize for my unprofessional acts and ask for your forgiveness." Mr. Jennings has pled guilty to three felonies for fraud and was disbarred for stealing client's money. He filed for bankruptcy and was on California's Top 500 Delinquent Tax Payers list owing over $873,000, and has misinformed the public that he is a CPA. If that wasn't bad enough, his own law corporation filed a lawsuit against himself in 2015. These are all facts that can be easily verified by anyone. Professional service providers are all about trust and potential clients should be warned that Mr. Jennings has proven time and time again he cannot be trusted by the public.”

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Visduh April 6, 2018 @ 5:36 p.m.

Great. If YELP doesn't like him, he's toast. Odd, isn't it, that putting "La Jolla" into your company or firm name automatically lends it some class and respectability? I just wonder (pardon) how many other outfits have called themselves "La Jolla Financial" over the years, and may now resent this intrusion. Thanks for the update.

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Don Bauder April 6, 2018 @ 6:48 p.m.

Visduh: It seems to me I have heard of other La Jolla Financial operations but I can't remember them now. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder April 6, 2018 @ 6:46 p.m.

JustWondering: I have been writing about Jennings since 2014. I started writing about his wife a couple of years later. They are two peas in a pod. Judge Louise DeCarl Adler had them both pegged perfectly. She sent her assessment to the U.S. Attorney's office. Much of this is mentioned in the item above. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder April 6, 2018 @ 6:56 p.m.

Visduh: There a couple of other firms with the name La Jolla Financial. The most crooked brokerage house in San Diego history was named La Jolla Capital. It changed its name to Cortez Something-or-Other. Its principals went to prison-- deservedly. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh April 6, 2018 @ 7:13 p.m.

Jennings is now 73, or close to that. Can you imagine having a flashy and "rewarding" career, only to end up in old age as a federal prisoner, doing almost three years in custody? Was this because it took that long for the "long arm of the law" to catch up with him, or was it something else? There have been a few of such operators who play it straight for a long time until they realize that nobody is really looking. And then they push the envelope and when nothing happens, they go farther, and farther, and farther.

Is that what went on with Jennings, or has he always been crooked? I can just imagine the recriminations between him and Peggy about who brought this about. Well, at least she'll be on the streets before he is released. Happy marriage, you two!

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Don Bauder April 7, 2018 @ 7:55 a.m.

Visduh: It was in 2013 that Bankruptcy Court Judge Louise DeCarl Adler charged Mr. and Mrs. Jennings with "embezzlement and larceny" with "fraudulent and felonious intent." The appellate court upheld her judgment. She sent her opinion to the U.S. Attorney's office; Meanwhile, thee Reader was covering this regularly, beginning in 2014. But it took until 2018 for the U.S. Attorney's office to nab them. I don't know why. Best, Don Bauder

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SportsFan0000 April 10, 2018 @ 2:47 a.m.

Will they run their scam businesses from Prison?!

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Don Bauder April 10, 2018 @ 7:34 a.m.

SportsFan0000: I don't know, but it would not surprise me if they try. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder April 10, 2018 @ 7:39 a.m.

John Norris: I don't know when they begin their sentences. Best, Don Bauder

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Acme April 11, 2018 @ 9:20 a.m.

It's my understanding they begin their sentences at the end of May. This was to allow them to move their belongings from the Rancho Santa Fe home to the Fairbanks Ranch home, as I believe their RSF home is in foreclosure. I'm surprised the judge afforded them that courtesy.

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Don Bauder April 11, 2018 @ 10:27 a.m.

Acme: As I recall, they were renting out that other home and living in Rancho Santa Fe. It would appear that they will be losing the income from that second home, if they are stacking their furniture there. He has been ordered to pay $1.45 million to his victims and she is to pay a similar amount to J.P. Morgan Chase. When he is out of prison -- and she will be long out -- they should not continue living in luxury if they are to honor their commitments. However, few do. Best, Don Bauder

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Acme April 11, 2018 @ 10:53 a.m.

I completely agree with you, Don. I do think there's an error in the restitution she was ordered to pay, however. I don't believe it's $1.45 million, but rather, $145,000, much less.

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Jimz April 12, 2018 @ 4:12 p.m.

Don, I know a victim ($1.5 million) who was in the courtroom last Thursday. The Federal prosecutors told the victims that there would be no need to hire a lawyer that the Federal officers would return funds directly to the victims (that they know of) and, of course, full restitution just never happens. Jennings apparently sold the tax practice to one of his buddies for $200K along with a side deal to reacquire it when he comes out of the slammer. Jennings and his wife may have/probably ceded or gifted various real properties to others to get them out of their "estate" with a plan to recover them when they are clear of the pokey. Jennings and his wife were confronted with possible 10 year or longer sentences and their attorney asked for home confinement, of course. That didn't happen. The prosecutors communicated to the victims that more Federal charges could be forthcoming. I'm sure that any real person believes the Jennings' have stashed assets somewhere, hoping to recapture them later. You wrote a good succinct review.

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dwbat April 14, 2018 @ 2:55 p.m.

Though certainly much smaller and less opulent, it appears they were going for "The Great Gatsby" look with their mansion. It's over-furnished, and doesn't look like anybody actually lives there. It desperately calls out for total redecorating. Ellen Degeneres should buy it, re-do, and then flip it.

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Acme April 16, 2018 @ 12:09 p.m.

dwbat: I completely agree. Talk about gaudy, ostentatious, all around bad taste.

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