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Michael Fanghella Seeking $150,000 Job

A former executive from Rancho Santa Fe, Michael Fanghella, has posted his resume online. He wants a "CEO consultancy" position for a salary of $150,000. This would be doing much better than his last stop: prison. Fanghella was chief executive officer of PinnFund, the Carlsbad mortgage operation that turned out to be one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in San Diego history. In 2003, Fanghella was sentenced to ten years in prison for his role in the scam. It is not clear yet how he got out early. It appears he may have helped finger others. He initially went to jail in 2001 as the scam unfolded. I hope to get that information and post more. PinnFund was dealing in subprime mortgages before they became household words.

Initially, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged that Fanghella, PinnFund and others raised $330 million from at least 166 investors for the purpose of funding the writing of home mortgages. Investors were told they would get as much as 17% a year. However, charged the SEC, Fanghella spent lavishly on himself, diverting at least $10 million in investor funds to buy a $5 million home, furnishings, and provide a lush lifestyle for a girlfriend, Kelly Cook, a so-called "adult" film star. Criminal charges followed and eventually Fanghella pleaded guilty to six felonies including money laundering, wire fraud, and tax evasion.

In his online resume, Fanghella boasts that he has an excellent background working for such former Wall Street firms as Loeb Rhoades and Drexel Burnham (which is generally nothing to brag about.) He does mention he was with PinnFund from 1992-2001. He notes that he oversaw the management of the subprime servicing division.

As to his adventure at PinnFund, he says on the resume, "I would rather discuss that in person or by phone." So I called him. He was not in a mood to discuss anything: "How did you get my number?" he barked. (It was on one of the resume copies.) "I am trying to get my life together. I am not going to give any comments. I have served my term." After a few other words, he hung up.

I didn't have a chance to ask him several questions, such as what he plans to do about the $4.1 million that he owes the Franchise Tax Board, and how he is supporting that Rancho Santa Fe home.

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A former executive from Rancho Santa Fe, Michael Fanghella, has posted his resume online. He wants a "CEO consultancy" position for a salary of $150,000. This would be doing much better than his last stop: prison. Fanghella was chief executive officer of PinnFund, the Carlsbad mortgage operation that turned out to be one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in San Diego history. In 2003, Fanghella was sentenced to ten years in prison for his role in the scam. It is not clear yet how he got out early. It appears he may have helped finger others. He initially went to jail in 2001 as the scam unfolded. I hope to get that information and post more. PinnFund was dealing in subprime mortgages before they became household words.

Initially, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged that Fanghella, PinnFund and others raised $330 million from at least 166 investors for the purpose of funding the writing of home mortgages. Investors were told they would get as much as 17% a year. However, charged the SEC, Fanghella spent lavishly on himself, diverting at least $10 million in investor funds to buy a $5 million home, furnishings, and provide a lush lifestyle for a girlfriend, Kelly Cook, a so-called "adult" film star. Criminal charges followed and eventually Fanghella pleaded guilty to six felonies including money laundering, wire fraud, and tax evasion.

In his online resume, Fanghella boasts that he has an excellent background working for such former Wall Street firms as Loeb Rhoades and Drexel Burnham (which is generally nothing to brag about.) He does mention he was with PinnFund from 1992-2001. He notes that he oversaw the management of the subprime servicing division.

As to his adventure at PinnFund, he says on the resume, "I would rather discuss that in person or by phone." So I called him. He was not in a mood to discuss anything: "How did you get my number?" he barked. (It was on one of the resume copies.) "I am trying to get my life together. I am not going to give any comments. I have served my term." After a few other words, he hung up.

I didn't have a chance to ask him several questions, such as what he plans to do about the $4.1 million that he owes the Franchise Tax Board, and how he is supporting that Rancho Santa Fe home.

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Comments
96

Sanders has to act quickly to get this guy on the City's economic team before he is hired away.

April 18, 2010

Does he still reside in Rancho Santa Fe? As an ex-con he would be more likely to live in an old neighborhood in San Diego, and be narrowly avoiding homelessness. So he wants $150K a year--the only way he can get that is if he takes up his old skills, selling snake oil and promises. But those could land him back in prison--he may be on parole now. He'd better watch it. A more appropriate position for him could be in a carny show, or working at Home Depot. (They could use a few folks who can actually SELL. Even if it is just selling washing machines and cooktops.)

April 18, 2010

Generally speaking, the kind of employers who are looking for this kind of CEO/manager/employee are not going to be doing it over the Internet....but as Harmsway said-KFC Sanders is probably dumb enough to hire a clown like this....maybe he could appoint him to run the PD ro FD.

April 18, 2010

Response to post #1: I wish I had thought of that line. Congratulations. Best, Don Bauder

April 18, 2010

Response to post #2: The resume lists his home as Rancho Santa Fe. Best, Don Bauder

April 18, 2010

Response to post #3: Somehow, I thought you would suggest that. Best, Don Bauder

April 18, 2010

There is no such thing as Federal Parole. You do your time and you're done. No reporting, no supervision, no nothing. Unfortunately getting out "early" is not unusual now-a-days.

April 19, 2010

Unfortunately getting out "early" is not unusual now-a-days.

There is also no "getting out early" in the federal system either.

You do minimum 85% of your time, and get 15% MAX off with good behaviour. Not uncommon to do 100% of a sentence with problems in the prison.

April 19, 2010

With no federal parole, his sentence must have been reduced, probably in exchange for something the prosecutors wanted. It just seems unlikely that a now ex-con can afford to aupport digs of any sort in RSF, unless they're in a garden shed on someone else's estate. There's so much more to these deals than meets the eye.

April 19, 2010

Response to post #7: I hope to find out exactly what happened -- perhaps today I will know. If he was in jail in 2001 before being sentenced to 10 years in 2003, he may have served most of his sentence. Best, Don Bauder

April 19, 2010

Response to post #8: It looks like he served his 85%, but I will try to pin that down. Best, Don Bauder

April 19, 2010

Response to post #9: That's another thing I am trying to find out: how can he afford that Rancho Santa Fe home? Fanghella had a Rancho Santa Fe home (where else?) before PinnFund collapsed in scandal. Is he now living in the same house? Dunno. He called me this morning and said his lawyer will have a statement later today. I will print it. Best, Don Bauder

April 19, 2010

Don, Let's hope that his lawyer isn't going to threaten you or the Reader for what was reported--or commented. Last I looked, we still have freedom of the press, and convicted felons don't fare well in libel or defamation suits.

April 19, 2010

This stood out:

Personal Particulars: Age 58, in better shape and more energy than most everyone else.

Ex-con in debt to the FTB for 4 plus million doesn't seem in very good shape to me. It's pretty unlikely he is still in his old home with a lien like that? Wouldn't they have seized all his assets?

April 19, 2010

Response to post #13: What I reported was taken from documents -- his online resume, the SEC complaint, criminal charges, etc. Fanghella was not defamed -- if anything he was handled gently. Best, Don Bauder

April 19, 2010

Response to post #14: He was hit with enormous charges by the SEC. I'll try to sort that out. Best, Don Bauder

April 19, 2010

Don Et Alia,

For some reason, the Reader's website doesn't have the story I wrote in 2002 about Pinnfund and Fanghella.

It's on my website:

http://www.thomaslarson.com/publications/san-diego-reader/113-pinn-fund.html

"I Have More Money Than We Could Possibly Spend in Our Lifetimes."

Tom Larson

April 19, 2010

Don, I wasn't suggesting you had defamed him. You were careful to just deliver the facts. But that would not prevent a threatening letter from a lawyer who is bieng paid by the hour or the word.

April 19, 2010

Response to post #17: Tom, I ran across that story yesterday as I researched this blog item. It had no byline on it. I thought Matt Potter had done it, but this morning he said he hadn't. I never did check the Reader website since I had found it through googling. I suggest people interested in the matter read it. Best, Don Bauder

April 19, 2010

Response to post #18: We'll have to see what Fanghella and his lawyer have to say. As you can well imagine, I have had many, many threatening letters from lawyers in my life. I know you didn't think I had defamed him. As I said, I think he got off easy, because I only put a few details of the scam into yesterday's item. Best, Don Bauder

April 19, 2010

MICHAEL FANGHELLA MAKES STATEMENT. Michael Fanghella, the subject of this blog item, has made a written statement. It appears to answer one of the questions -- why he got out of prison early -- but I still want answers to certain queries: 1. How is he going to pay the Franchise Tax Board the $4.1 million he owes? 2. How is he going to pay the SEC $109 million in ill-gotten gains, plus some other charges, that he was assessed? 3. How can he afford to live in Rancho Santa Fe? Didn't he have to forfeit such assets? (Fanghella was charged by the SEC with transferring $107 million for his own personal use.) After receiving his statement, I called both him and his lawyer and neither has called back.

FANGHELLA'S STATEMENT: I have just successfully finished my prison sentence. I have much work to do to rebuild any faith and trust in me. During my time in prison I worked very hard to be ready for the day I would leave. I have started the process of renewing my relationship and making amends with my family [whom] I hurt very much. They are my first priority.

Neither I nor my legal counsel Mr. Ezekiel E. Cortez during the period that followed my indictment, subsequent plea, and sentencing gave any comments to the media. This was because as part of my cooperation with the government I had been restricted from any comments in the ongoing case. So much of what was sensationally reported went without response. However, the fact remains that while I may have had many reasons for why PinnFund failed while I was its CEO, I have no good excuse for them.

PinnFund was once a prominent member of the mortgage banking and San Diego business community. I let my employees and those who invested with James Hillman down. One fact does remain: of all those indicted I believe the government would agree I was the only one who accepted his responsibility. I from day one never lied or misrepresented myself or my actions in this case or tried to avoid blame. My actions saved the government a tremendous amount of time and money. The U.S. government stated this in their request and it is clearly shown in the court transcripts in their attempt to reduce my sentence in 2006.

I hope that San Diego and the business community specifically can forgive me. I work daily looking for that opportunity to be a productive member whose experiences and talents can be of an aid once again. I want [to] move on and try to be the man I was for many years prior to my personal failure, one of integrity and strength to his family. I realize that to build that trust I'll have to prove myself each and every day. Michael J. Fanghella

Any reader is invited to comment on Fanghella's statement. Best, Don Bauder

April 19, 2010

Reply to post #21 and MICHAEL FANGHELLA-

I will say this- he didn't run, he didn't hide and he didn't try to shift the blame. He stated his case-in public and under fire- and if he is above board I have to give a statement like this some credit.

I also have to say talk is cheap and actions speak much louder than words. So can Mike walk the walk, or is it all just talk?

Lets see how Mike answers in life.

April 19, 2010

I'd say that before anyone in the San Diego business community can trust him with their lunch money, he needs to answer Don's questions. The statement sounds very remorseful and accepts his guilt, but he needs to tell the whole thing, and that statement doesn't really tell much.

April 19, 2010

"One fact does remain: of all those indicted I believe the government would agree I was the only one who accepted his responsibility. I from day one never lied or misrepresented myself or my actions in this case or tried to avoid blame. My actions saved the government a tremendous amount of time and money."

I started to "buy into" this, but stopped short. Does anyone believe that there were no selfish motives behind his so selflessly stated heroics in never lying during his "cooperation"? He was caught red-handed. He had nothing to gain by lying. This does not make him a hero. While I do want to believe that he is serious about moving on with his life in a more legitimate manner, I have my doubts. Once exposed to that lifestyle, it is difficult to go back to being an everyman. $150,000.00 is chump change to guys like this.

My thinking is someone is going to give him a job for the "star" wattage it brings to their company.

April 19, 2010

Response to post #22: Well, he did criticize fellow defendants and the media. There is a lot that came out in the SEC and criminal cases, and the media picked it up. Best, Don Bauder

April 19, 2010

Response to post #23: Yes. I agree. And neither Fanghella nor his lawyer has called back today (Mon.) Best, Don Bauder

April 19, 2010

Response to post #24: Yes, one has to look askance at his humility -- particularly since he and his lawyer got the statement into print, but haven't called to give information. I didn't ask for a quid pro quo, but I was hoping to get some cooperation. Best, Don Bauder

April 19, 2010

Larson's story is worth a second look, for those who have not bothered.

April 19, 2010

OMG-that Tom Larson story is a RIOT!

There should be a Hollywod movie made out of that story...I mean it is just unreal.....hadn't paid taxes since 95!!!!! .....Hollywood could not come up with better stuff than this!

No wonder this guy landed in the Big House.....and did he seriously think that funny money was going to last more than a few years at MOST????? Please.

OK, now I have to go find a porn video with Kelly Cook and see what she looks like........

April 19, 2010

The federal prison inmate locater shows Fanghella was only released last Friday, April 16, 2010. Interesting.

http://www.bop.gov/iloc2/InmateFinderServlet?Transaction=NameSearch&needingMoreList=false&FirstName=michael&Middle=&LastName=Fanghella&Race=U&Sex=U&Age=&x=0&y=0

April 19, 2010

It doesn't seem right that Fanghella is living in the covenant, not after what he did. The government may have let his ex-wife keep her 50% community property share of his assets. He may have reconciled with his ex-wife, and is living with her in the covenant, assuming she lives there. He may be living in City Heights and lists his address as Rancho Santa Fe because he can't accept the reality of his situation. Perhaps like OJ Simpson, creditors and the government could not reach the retirement funds in his 401(k) and IRA. A man his age could have accumulated $2 million or more in retirement money. He may be using this money to rent near the covenant, but not actually inside it. I'd check his phone number to see if the prefix is Rancho Santa Fe, assuming the number is not a cell phone. I would also search his phone number (with the number in quotes) on Google to see what pops up.

April 19, 2010

Response to post #28: Yes, Larson's story is an eye-opener -- highly recommended. Best, Don Bauder

April 20, 2010

Response to post #29: I have always been curious, too, about Kelly Cook's looks. Unfortunately, I am not an authority on porn flicks. I wouldn't even know where to buy one. You're on your own. Best, Don Bauder

April 20, 2010

Response to post #30: I went to the BOP site Sunday and didn't find the information you found. I must have done something wrong. Best, Don Bauder

April 20, 2010

Response to post #31: After I posted Fanghella's letter, I called both him and his lawyer, seeking the answers to several questions: 1. Why does he live in Rancho Santa Fe? Is it because he reconciled with his wife and the government had permitted her to keep their place? Why wasn't that asset seized? 2. The SEC ordered him to disgorge $109 million, plus some other charges. Has he done so? 3. He owes the Franchise Tax Board $4.1 million. Does he have plans to pay that sum? But neither Fanghella nor his lawyer has called me back. Best, Don Bauder

April 20, 2010

The government may have let his ex-wife keep her 50% community property share of his assets. He may have reconciled with his ex-wife, and is living with her in the covenant, assuming she lives there. He may be living in City Heights and lists his address as Rancho Santa Fe because he can't accept the reality of his situation. Perhaps like OJ Simpson, creditors and the government could not reach the retirement funds in his 401(k) and IRA. A man his age could have accumulated $2 million or more in retirement money.

By Burwell 10:49 p.m., Apr 19, 2010

B-

Fanghella didn't have ANY legit money-it was all a fraud-so he does not have a 401K or an IRA. No money is safe-including retirement accounts-when it is acquired by fraud. That includes all the money his wife received too. Randall Cunningham's wife had to give back millions of dollars (in home equity and other assets) because of his fraud. OJ's retirement account was legit, from his football days and his legit money from his endorsments and movie days, not from fraud like Fanghella's money. Fanghella simply cannot shield his money in a 401K/retirement account when it was the result of fraud. If I went out and robbed a bank, then put all the loot in a 401K before I was busted-that money is all going back to the bank-not me in retirement. Same concept applies to Fanghella's money.

Kelly Cook was sued and LOST everything which Fanghella "gifted" to her-because the money used to buy Cook's goodies was NOT Fanghella's to spend.

BTW- I didn't recall this last night, but I do recall the Cook lawsuit brought by the gov to recover the goodies she acquired- and she did indeed have to return the ill gotten booty (pun intended).

To be honest-I don't recall this story from when it broke in 2000, but after reading Tom Larson's well writtren article, it really gets me sick to see how much money, how much fraud Fanghella was involved in. It is a staggerig number. Makes Duke Cunningham's fraud look like shop lifting a candy bar.

I am also very surprised he is not still in prison, for another 20-30 years.

April 20, 2010

I have always been curious, too, about Kelly Cook's looks

Here are two pics at the bottom of the page-says she was born in 65-so she is 45 today.

These pics are probably from 20 years ago;

http://www.gossiprocks.com/kelly-jaye

April 20, 2010

Response to post #36: The PinnFund story was big when it broke in 2001. The SEC charged that more than $107 million of investor funds had been transferred to Fanghella since 1997. At least $10 million in investor funds had gone to buy a $5 million home and other gifts for the girlfriend. Kelly Cook was eventually named a relief defendant. Best, Don Bauder

April 20, 2010

Response to post #37: Somehow, these Playmates, porn stars, et al seem to look like homes in a tract development: they all look the same -- thanks to plastic surgery and silicone, no doubt. Best, Don Bauder

April 20, 2010

Randall Cunningham's wife had to give back millions of dollars (in home equity and other assets) because of his fraud.

I know swindler Walter Wencke's creditors went after his wife's Rancho Santa Fe estate and were ultimately able to take it away from her. C. Arnholt Smith's creditors went after his daughter's (Shannon Smith?) Rancho Santa Fe estate and were able to sell it though it took many years.

April 20, 2010

Response to post #40: Wencke disappeared before being sentenced, leaving his wife, who had been involved in some way in the building of the conglomerate, holding the bag. That may or may not explain why creditors were able to go after her assets successfully. Smith's daughter is another case; I don't remember the details on that one. I remember that she was incredibly upset. Whenever I would write something about her father that she didn't like, she would call and give me hell. Best, Don Bauder

April 20, 2010

OOPS. Above I said Wencke disappeared before being sentenced. Not true. He had been sentenced to five years in prison for mail fraud and making false statements to the SEC. But he never showed up to don his jump suit in 1979. To my knowledge, he hasn't been seen since. His wife had been sued by the SEC along with Wencke. Best, Don Bauder

April 20, 2010

No money is safe-including retirement accounts-when it is acquired by fraud.

=========

I assumed that he had built up substantial retirement assets prior to the fraud, and those assets in the 401(k) and IRA that pre-date the fraud are beyond the reach of creditors.

April 20, 2010

Walter Wencke is more than likely dead by now-either that or he is 86 years old............it is hard to live a life on the run, always looking over your shoulder. I guess when you're looking at life in the slammer it is the better of two bad options.

Hey, does anyone know if Mr "A"'s is still operating at the 5th Avenue Financial Center at 5th and Laurel?

April 20, 2010

I assumed that he had built up substantial retirement assets prior to the fraud, and those assets in the 401(k) and IRA that pre-date the fraud

I don't think so B.

Don, maybe you can answer this question.

Did Fanghella have any serious job before PinnFund? Where he could have built up a big retirement nest egg? I find it hard to believe because of the way he spent money-like it grew on trees.

I just can't see someone like him putting away money in a retirement plan (assuming he even had a serious income to begin with then).

April 20, 2010

Response to post #43: That's our Walter Wencke. Best, Don Bauder

April 21, 2010

Response to post #44: Another view of the missing Walter Wencke. In the immediate years after his disappearance, there would be reported Wencke sightings that turned out to be false leads. He and Clifford Graham were the two most prominent sticky-fingered San Diegans who took a powder during that period. Best, Don Bauder

April 21, 2010

Response to post #45: Orange County's Newport Beach has always been a fraud haven. In San Diego, the bandits so often live in La Jolla or Rancho Santa Fe, particularly the latter. They operate out of numerous places: Mission Valley, National City, Carlsbad, San Ysidro, La Jolla -- you name it. The three white collar crime capitals of the U.S. are South Florida, Southern California and Las Vegas. However, none can top Wall Street in monetary volume. Best, Don Bauder

April 21, 2010

Response to post #46: That was written seven years ago, only a couple of months after I began the column for the Reader. Maybe I should update it for all the scams since. Best, Don Bauder

April 21, 2010

Response to post #47: You may be right. He had worked a long time, including with Wall Street firms. I do not know if his assets are offshore; I do know that U.S. white collar fraud prosecutors too easily give up on trying to recover assets sequestered in tax havens. Best, Don Bauder

April 21, 2010

Response to post #48: John Alessio is dead. I don't know if the restaurant is being operated under the name "Mr. A's" or not. I can remember when it was the choice restaurant in town. Herb Klein of the U-T was, not surprisingly, a good friend of many of San Diego's rogues, including Alessio, C. Arnholt Smith, and particularly former Chargers owner Eugene Klein. I will never forget the time that one of the reporters in the Union-Tribune's financial section was called up for a rush meeting in Herb Klein's office. Klein's urgent message: the rumor that John Alessio was selling Mr. A's was NOT true. Best, Don Bauder

April 21, 2010

Response to post #49: On his resume, he claims that he worked for former Wall Street houses Loeb Rhoades and Drexel Burnham; was instrumental in a number of IPOs; that he was key in some major real estate developments, and in the mortgage REIT business. He claims he also opened two successful restaurants, Moomba's in LA and NY City. Do I think he accumulated a pile of money? Maybe, maybe not. But he had a propensity to blow it quickly. Best, Don Bauder

April 21, 2010

Response to post #50: That's the restaurant. I don't know how it got the name "Bertrand" tacked on in front, and I don't know who owns it now. Best, Don Bauder

April 21, 2010

Thanks for the link to Mr "A's".

The place is still there-with the new owner. I wonder if they have redone the inside, I am sure they must have.

As for Fanghella, I still doubt he had saved any money. I wonder what offcie he worked for with Drexel-LA, NY? I remember Drexel's La Jolla office, at Prospect and Fay in that 3 story building on the corner-and then the firm imploded and they closed everything down.

April 21, 2010

Response to #57; I would be surprised if Fanghella had a pot to 'blank' in. His cooperation with the Feds was just to tell them where the money was in Barbados. Last year, a women was trying to sell some art work for him on some auction sites so he would have some money when he got out. His Rancho Santa Fe home was seized by the Feds, placed at auction and sold. His wife Patrice,who was asking for $83,000/month in the divorce settlement, got nothing. All his assets were seized. His debt was her debt. The family moved to north county. The kids had to change schools and leave their family home. I believe that Patrice changed her name and was trying to go into real estate.The family was left destitute. If Fanghella is living in The Ranch, then he is living with someone.Lowest rent here is no less than $3,000/month. I'm sure he is just using someone's p.o. box for his resume. View his picturesque facebook page with his stated 'friends'. In his statement he is ready to take up where he left off. Job in the financial sector, relationship with his family and so on. I know the owners of his previous home in the Ranch. His youngest son left a note under his bedroom carpet, saying "We had good times in this house, and bad times in this house.Please take care of our house." To this day, on the side of the pool, one of the kids inscribed, "#&%* my dad for he ruined our lives." Good luck with that family relationship thing Mr.Fanghella.

April 21, 2010

Response to post #59: His resume says he worked "on Wall St." with the former Loeb Rhoades and Drexel Burnham. It appears that he was at Drexel Burnham before the Mike Milken years -- at least, before the period that the junk bond/takeover craze reached its insanity peak. Best, Don Bauder

April 21, 2010

Response to post #60: That is all very important background. As you can see from Tom Larson's Reader story above (post #17), reconciling with his family was going to be quite a difficult task. Best, Don Bauder

April 21, 2010

It is amazing to me that Fanghella would try to reclaim any status or footing in Rancho Santa Fe. Needless to say, he has burned a lot of bridges here.He is known all to well here. He changed the street numbers on the front of his house when he lived there. Apparently he thought he would be harder to find? Previous friends were investors in his fraud. He promised money to the charity of a good friend in The Ranch,but never delivered the money. The charity made plans based on his pledge of a large contribution. Fanghella ended up in a law suit against the charity for defamation of character. Ha! I believe the charity won the law suit,with Fanghella paying nothing. What's new.

April 21, 2010

Response to post #63: You're providing more interesting information. I would like to see you read Tom Larson's piece (post #17) and then reflect on how such information affected perceptions in Rancho Santa Fe. I can't imagine anyone felt sorry for him. His story went national -- not only the alleged diversion of more than $100 million, but the spending on the ladies, as recorded in court documents. Best, Don Bauder

April 21, 2010

Response to post #63: You're providing more interesting information. I would like to see you read Tom Larson's piece (post #17) and then reflect on how such information affected perceptions in Rancho Santa Fe. I can't imagine anyone felt sorry for him. His story went national -- not only the alleged diversion of more than $100 million, but the spending on the ladies, as recorded in court documents. Best, Don Bauder

April 21, 2010

To attempt to answer the question about Mr. A's restaurant, it is still open and going strong. Now known as Bertrand at Mr. A's, it shed the Italian bordello look of red velvet, and has a clean, contemporary look. The "Bertrand" in the name refers to Bertrand Hug, also owner of Mille Fleurs in Rancho Santa Fe. Personally, I prefer the downtown restaurant to the RSF locaion. The prices are more reasonable, the service is good, and the view is incomparable. Hug has made adjustments to the weak economy though, including having a prix fixe menu at the home location in RSF. That would have been unthinkable three or five years ago.

April 21, 2010

Thanks for the Mr A's info....yeah that red velvet was so 60's...I knew they would have had to remodel the inside-but you're so right about the view from Mr A's, nothing can touch it.

April 21, 2010

Response to post #66: That is good information. I don't believe I have been in the old Mr. A's for 30 to 35 years. And I've never been to Mille Fleurs -- too upscale for me. The old Mr. A's was an institution. Best, Don Bauder

April 22, 2010

Response to post #67: Visduh's "Italian bordello" description was apt. Best, Don Bauder

April 22, 2010

Do not believe a word that Michael Fanghella throws your way. He is a scam artist and does not have a sincere bone in his body. He has no remorse, the only thing that he is sorry for is getting caught. I know this man too well and if he were to get a job anywhere, I would be very surprised. Oversaw the Loan Servicing Department at PinnFund....HA! What a joke.......

April 22, 2010

Response to post #70: He was CEO of PinnFund. He was charged with diverting more than $100 million to himself. Best, Don Bauder

April 22, 2010

Don, I know that. I worked with him at PinnFund for 4-years.....

April 22, 2010

Response to post #72: I'm sure our readers would like to hear some of your experiences at PinnFund. You can post them, or email me at [email protected], or call me at 619-546-8529. Best, Don Bauder

April 22, 2010

I'm sure our readers would like to hear some of your experiences at PinnFund.

I am curious if Fanghella even did any real work at PinnFund. He just doesn't sound like he could function in a real job.

April 22, 2010

Response to post #74: Well, he did a lot of partying with the ladies (if you could call them that.) LoveSD can probably shed light on how much work Fanghella actually did. Best, Don Bauder

April 22, 2010

When I initially started working there, he appeared to be very involved in what the company represented, subprime loans. Unfortunately, the longer I worked there, the more apparent it was that he couldn't read a loan file at all. Not a clue about loans, but very well versed in blonde women. His additctions got the best of him, he got sloppy and his poor choices and behavior hurt a lot of people. He may say that he is sorry, but he isn't. Like I said before, he is sorry that he got caught, period.

Look at his resume, he is absolutely delusional if he thinks he can get a job any where other than the Gap folding sweaters!

April 22, 2010

Response to post #76: Back at the time the depth of the PinnFund scam was becoming obvious, I was amazed at the intelligent people who had bitten. Fanghella may have been a convincing salesperson. (It was a little different with the ladies: Fanghella attracted them because he had money. Unfortunately, it was not his money. It belonged to the investors.) Best, Don Bauder

April 23, 2010

What I read described is a classic sociopath. Most of them are very convincing with women, and can victimize them at will. He really doesn't understand what he did was wrong. He is also sociopathic in that he is willing to "accept" his responsibility, because it is what others expect to hear from him. Does he really suffer remorse? Very unlikely. He's just getting ready to pursue the sort of life he led up to the point he got caught.

Fools may let him do it again. That's what is really hard to understand.

April 24, 2010

Not normal women, Visduh. These women groom themselves for the Fanghellas of the world and if they can bag one as "wealthy" and obsessive as him, it is the equivalent of finding the Holy Grail. They are most certainly not victims.

http://ak.buy.com/db_assets/large_images/991/40205991.jpg

Otherwise, I agree with your sociopath diagnosis.

April 24, 2010

Response to post #78: I don't know if he is a sociopath. A lot of scammers are. Often they are convincing both to potential victims and the ladies because they have conned themselves into believing that they will find a way out of their dilemma. And they will shift blame to others in the organization even though they headed it. I have reported on many con artists through the years and have come to that conclusion. It applies to many crooks, but hardly all of them. Best, Don Bauder

April 24, 2010

Response to post #79: Oh yes, some women have the physical assets and the smarts to spend their whole lives setting sexual traps for the likes of Fanghella. But I believe that is a small percentage of women. I'm cynical, but not that cynical. Best, Don Bauder

April 24, 2010

Most of them are very convincing with women, and can victimize them at will.

Well, taking a sucker (Fanghella) to the cleaners for $10 million (Cook) is not what most people would call being vicitmized.

I think when you date people with pre-qualifications (must make X of money, must own home, fanvy car etc) then you certainly cannot call these woman (or men) victims.

The women will make every claim in the book to make them look like this is not a shake down (or a form of prostitution), but it is. In the end when you start playing those games you lose the right to call yourself a victim.

Reminds me of a fellow student I dated in college. We were going out for a few weeks but she NEVER paid for a thing-ever (it's not like EITHER of us had any money as students), and would make the most laughable claim I have ever heard, which was her "companionship" was what the other party received when they took her out. And that "companionship" had value (as in dinner. movie, ballgame, whatever the date was).

LOL!!!! I sill get a tremendous laugh everytime I hear that whopper! Needless to say this did not last long. I wasn't buying (or paying for) what she was selling. Who knows, maybe it was Kelly Cook before she started hooking :).

April 25, 2010

Fanghella's wife probably believed everything he told her for years until she could no longer deny the reality of what and who he was. I'd rate her a victim.

April 25, 2010

The wives are most often cast as the "victim" but when you are wallowing in ill-begotten money and it is suddenly taken away you cannot mistake victimization for deluded self-pity.

April 25, 2010

The wife is a whole different ballgame. Especially if they were/are not sophisticated or socialally inteliigent. I think the wife could very easily be considered a victim.

But that is true only if she were truly ignorant of the facts-if she was aware of "ill-begotten money" then that makes her part of the fraud also.

A good example of this would be Randall Duke Cunningham's wife-she had no idea he was being bribed, and she was truly an innocent party who was intangled in a criminal fraud through no fault of her own. I don't really remember how she came out in the Duke case. As I recall the RSF home was bought with bribe money and the gov was going to take Duke's portion and HER portion of the home-but she obviously had some legit claim to part of the RSF home b/c their Del Mar heights home was sold (albiet at the inflated price) to form the down payment.

So I am more inclined to believe that the wife could truly be a victim-but not these gold digging prostitutes.

April 25, 2010

Then they are stupid. Ignorance is no excuse. Ignorantia juris non excusat. You do not willfully ignore that which is obvious. Only at your own peril. Which is non-existant until you are broke. Oh, Victim, to you I feel sorrow! Not.

April 25, 2010

Then they are stupid. Ignorance is no excuse

Then they may indeed be stupid, but stupidity (and ignorance) IS a a legitimate defense. Not everyone is sharp or socially intelligent. We all have varying degrees of intelligence and sophistication.

Ignorance is NOT "willfully ignoring the obvious" either.

In fact if anyone were indeed WILLFULLY ignoring the obvious, then it would NOT be ignorance, but straight up fraud.

There is a big difference between doing something through ignorance and doing it knowingly, willfully and intentionally. In fact our entire body of criminal law rests upon such principle/s.

April 25, 2010

Response to poste #82: Back in my day, the male ALWAYS paid. Best, Don Bauder

April 25, 2010

Response to post #83: I don't know her, of course, but she was living the high life in their RSF home. Did she realize he was entertaining all the other ladies? I don't know. Did she suspect? Don't know that either. Best, Don Bauder

April 25, 2010

Response to post #84: The roving husband usually spends money on the wife as well as on the girlfriends.(After all, it's usually not the skunk's money; it belongs to his investors.) I know of some wives who knew full well what their husbands were doing, but reveled in the jewels, cars, and fancy homes they were enjoying. Best, Don Bauder

April 25, 2010

Response to post #85: The wife who doesn't know the money is ill-gotten, and doesn't know of the husband's infidelities, is truly a victim. Cunningham's wife had a good educational job, as I recall. She should have realized at some point that her husband was a nitwit, although, admittedly, San Diego voters never figured that out. Best, Don Bauder

April 25, 2010

Response to post #86: Oh, there must be some wives of crooks who were truly kept in the dark. They all CLAIM they were. Best, Don Bauder

April 25, 2010

Response to post #87: That's why prosecutors focus on intent. Best, Don Bauder

April 25, 2010

She should have realized at some point that her husband was a nitwit, although, admittedly, San Diego voters never figured that out

LOL...Duke pulled the wool over many of the people's eyes here!

As I told you and the readers here once before Don-when Duke first ran for office back in 88 it came out he had never before voted! And I think it is funny because now it comes out that Meg Whitman has not voted in the last 30 years either!

You can't make this stuff up.

April 25, 2010

Response to post #94: Cunningham was a puppet of the aerospace-defense industry. What does Whitman say when the press asks her about her voting record? Or does the press ask her? Best, Don Bauder

April 26, 2010

I'm not sure I agree with SurfPuppy that Cunningham's wife was unaware of what was going on with his finances. She was a fairly sophisticated player in advancing her career as an educrat. She had threaded her way through life, enjoying the good life, and probably still is. She never looked like a victim to me, but rather like an enabler. Notice that she exited the marriage with "Duke" gracefully, and ain't hurting now. Some of these wives can be victims, others are co-conspirators. Don is right that they ALL say they didn't know.

April 27, 2010

Response to post #96: I would have to do more homework on this one to judge whether she was a victim or an enabler. I will say this: she had to know that her husband was a mental midget with very little control of his emotions. If he is amoral, which the evidence suggests, she should have known that, too. Best, Don Bauder

April 27, 2010

LaCosta Limousine made a lot of money off Michael Fangella back in 2000 & 2001. He would charter a limo from LaCosta 3 or 4 nights a week.... I used to take the two of them to "Dream Girls" a lot. The girls loved Mike because he was a big tipper. He bought Kelly a beautiful house in Laguna Nigel. Of course, the feds confiscated it from her later. They fled to South America when it got hot. He came back and surrendered about six months after fleeing.

Jan. 1, 2011

I had personal dealings with Fanghella that caused me many problems. My ex was one of his paid girl friends, someone equally as evil as he is. Fanghella...could care less about the feelings of others or the society he lives in. He has paid for what he has done criminally and will continue to pay the Karmic cost for the balance of his life. At the time his ponzi scheme was uncovered I believe it was the largest in U.S. history; of course now he has been eclipsed by the likes of Madoff. As Marshall Mathers said so well "rot in piece" Micheal Fanghella, may every day bring you a taste of the suffering you visited upon your victims. I think a good job for him would be poop picker upper at our local parks. Actually that would be a insult to park workers. I can't imagine anyone hiring this guy to do anything.

Jan. 10, 2011

Wow you removed my posting, I thought I was holding back a lot. Guess I was wrong. By the way I knew Fanghella personally quite well, I know his dark side because I used to live there. So be it.

Jan. 10, 2011

Oops my bad, you re-posted my original comment. I should mention that I meant to say "rot in pieces." However,I think just about everyone gets my sentiment.

Jan. 10, 2011

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