Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Southwick Denied Parole, Next Hearing Date in 2025

Not so hidden message from the 800-pound gorilla: Wardhouse scamming is firmly off-limits

More news about convicted Ogden Ponzi scammer Val Southwick in this morning's Salt Lake Tribune. From this morning's Tom Harvey story:
In an unusually harsh decision, the state Board of Pardons is leaving the convicted operator of a giant Ponzi scheme in prison for at least 17 years.
With his next parole hearing set for 2025, that means 63-year-old former Ogden businessman Val E. Southwick might spend the rest of his life in prison, serving out nine consecutive terms for defrauding about 800 investors, many of them elderly, out of about $180 million.
In its rationale for denying Southwick parole, the five-member board cited abuse of a position of trust, the number of victims and the extent of the harm done them. The 17 years set for Southwick's prison sentence is just three years short of a typical prison term of an inmate convicted of first-degree felony murder, according to parole board statistics from a 2006 study.
Although neither the Tribune nor the Board of Pardons mentions it as part of the "official" rationale for the Board's decision to lock Southwick up and throw away the key, we believe it's fair to infer that there's a special local lesson here for Utah scammers who would abuse their positions of ecclesiastical trust and prey upon unwary victims from LDS wardhouses. The 800-pound gorilla has a mighty long political reach; and it's apparent that Val Southwick (and other potential wardhouse scammers) were just delivered an equally mighty mighty thump in the head -- with a clear message attached: Wardhouse scamming is declared firmly off-limits, capice?

Comments?

13 comments:

curious1 said...

Why has the SE buried Val Southwick parole on C1. At least he isn't getting out soon, his next parole date is 2025. Maybe more scam artists can use him as an example and think twice before enticing investors with securities fraud.

Moroni McConkie said...

Curious: Maybe the SE buried the story because that stalwart church member and Defender of the Faith, Valiant Val Southwick, is an FOM.

It does seem that Madoff borrowed a page from Valiant Val's playbook: prey on members of your own country club, er, religious community.

Curmudgeon said...

Or maybe the fact that at his mandated first parole hearing, Mr. Southwick was denied parole [as was expected], and set a long time before his next hearing [as was expected, though I admit not this long]. And putting it on the first page of the TOW section is hardly burying the story.

And did you folks miss today's editorial, which discusses both Southwick and Madoff and their use of religion to set up their marks? Link here. From the editorial:

Although the money totals are different, there are a lot of similiarities between convicted swindler Southwick and alleged swindler Bernard Madoff. Both used so-called Ponzi schemes, where high returns are paid to early investors as a result of money from subsequent investors, and not from any real, markets-generated profits.

Also, like Madoff is alleged to have done, Southwick used religious, professional and personal influence to con his investors. In a perverse example of his perfidy, a conned investor recounts Southwick telling him that an LDS temple was the appropriate place to consummate a deal.


This hardly constitutes burying either the story or the religion angle.

Monotreme said...

The S-E ran an AP wire story on Madoff with local Southwick color on Sunday, as well.

OgdenLover said...

So when will Ogdenites stop assuming that Godfrey is honest and well-meaning just because he carries a Temple Recommend Card? Who is his bishop anyway and why doesn't he ask some hard questions about honesty in dealings with his fellow-man?

RudiZink said...

I swear I thought it was a typo this morning, Curious 1, when I spotted the 2025 parole hearing date in the Std-Ex sidebar blurb.

Seeking corroboration, I then hunted down the SLTrib story.

And I tend to agree with you that the story was buried by the Std-Ex. The extended parole hearing date was highly newsworthy, I think, and deserved treatment more akin to what the SLTrib provided.

jason w. said...

Ahh, but what of Val's voting record? Was it solidly democratic? Addled Ed Allen went so far as to publicly state he and his family were "supporting" the offender who committed the largest fraud in the history of the state, and asking the authorities to suspend any jail time, seeing as how the shyster's transgressions were merely technical and that the duped bore the same risk as any investor. But that's OK, apparently, because Addled Ed was not running for a parole board position; he was running for the state legislature, and such gross and egregious lapses in judgment and character are perfectly tolerable as long as he has a solid democratic voting record.

THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE

RudiZink said...

Spot on, Jason. And here's a Grand Idea:

If Addled Ed truly wishes to support Mr.Southwick, why doesn't he reach into his own deep pockets and cough up a substantial donation for the poor victims who were bilked of their life savings in Southwick's in-house LDS Ponzi scheme?

We'll pose the same question for Allen's botched son-in-law, who argued that poor Val should be back on the street. If memory serves, Godfrey still has around $80 thousand rattling around in his 2007 campaign account.

Talk's cheap; and Southwick's friends ought to put their money where their mouths are, I think.

That will NEVER happen, of course.

All in good fun ... said...

It's the year 2025 ...

80 year old Val Southwick is released from prison with a very sore ass ...

Now approaching 80 herself, Mayor VanHooser has announced she is running for re-election against upstart Godfrey Allen Geiger...

The Windsor Hotel height restriction verdict is due this week ...

Gondola State University beats Montana on Mac's 95th birthday to earn a trip to the SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE bowl game sponsored by Descente North Tokyo...

Re-enacting a lot of the ploys of the late, great Reverand Harris, Ogden City councilman Matt Godfrey is once again at odds with the Mayor's office ...

Still Ogden's only respectable scribe, the WCF earns another Pulitzer Prize for RudiZ and his staff formerly known as the Standard Examiner ...

Flooding has replaced fire as the major destroyer of the River Project ... how did Scott Brown start a flood?

Dan Schroeder's magnificent brain finally explodes ...

Still 2 buck beers at Brewskis ...

The G-train is still a very saGGy G-train ...

Curm has just finished his comments on the Flying J bankruptcy ...

Malan Basin to host the Downhill Fall at this year's High Adventure Games ...

The President of the United States / Ogden City Chief of Police, Jon Greiner hires Val Southwick for being a stand-up / shut up bitch for the past 19 years ...

It was all in good fun folks ... and a couple of Bloody Mary's

Curmudgeon said...

Rudi: So, you found out about the 2025 parole date from the story in The Standard Examiner; you suspected they'd got the story wrong, and so went looking for corroboration --- only to discover that the SE had in fact gotten the story right. That about it?

If the SE editors were trying to bury it, they didn't do a very good job, did they?

You can question their news judgment and argue the uncommon length required longer explanation [which the SL Trib concluded it did]. But much of the SL Trib story was simple recounting of the background of the Southwick story, plus more comments from the marks, saying nothing that hasn't been reported before. In fact just days before, in the story on the hearing itself. Only real "news" was comments from judicial officials about the sentence being one of the longest given for a white collar crime.

In light of the SE's continuing coverage of the Southwick story, and its accompanying editorial today, I don't think you'll be able to substantiate the "they tried to bury the story" claim on the evidence. When the management of a paper wants to bury a story, they know how and generally don't try to hide it on the front page of any section. It winds up dropped entirely or back under the girdle ads.

And if their intent was to bury it, publishing an editorial on the story on the same day wasn't very bright either.

You disagree about their news judgment, fine. I do too. Often. But the suggestion they've been trying to bury the story is nonsense.

drewmeister said...

Wow. I didn't think anyone actually got what they deserved anymore.

Kudos to the parole board.

ozboy said...

Poor Val, so misunderstood by you neophyte financial types. It is unfortunate that the "system" cut him short just before his investment plan panned out. Now the investors will not get any money back where if the so called "authorities" had just had a little faith and waited a minute or two longer every one would have gotten rich. Then some of you naysayers dare to poke fun at our dear mayor and his dearer father in law, who in the end are the only ones that truly understand this world of high finance.

When you lose faith you just plain lose. I hope you evil obstructionists are happy over what you have caused with dear Val.

Mayor Goofey said...

He is a good honerable man.

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