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"It is difficult to get cash from an empty box, you just learn from it and go on."
LOS ANGELES, CA, March 17, 2017 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Hilton Head Properties, Inc announced today the company and it's President, 'Chase' D. Fonteno were awarded $8 million in damages against Michael R. Davis former Director of Finance at Hilton Head.
Hilton Head Properties, a Dallas, Texas based Real Estate Investment Company since 1999 - hired Michael Ray Davis in 2007 to manage numerous bank accounts for the company and handle banking relations. Based on a resume showing he was a former VP of Finance with Coca Cola and previously with Motorola. But in truth, Mr Davis was actually a con-man that had just been released from US Federal Prison for Loan Fraud & Mail Fraud and was still on Parole.
Mr Davis, within a month of working for the company, began friending a few employees at Chase Bank and secretly using Hilton Head's bank contact to create, sign up for and authorize credit card and loan accounts using Hilton Head and it's President 'Chase' D. Fonteno's personal information to do so.
"Apparently, Mr Davis went to work quickly signing up for credit cards under various corporate accounts we had with the bank, using my and company information," stated 'Chase' D. Fonteno, President . "We had no idea it was going on for over 9 months." Mr Davis would pick up the mail and then remove any bank notices of the credit cards. But eventually when Hilton Head announced they were moving the company from 1401 Elm St. to the Penthouse of 400 N. St Paul Street in Dallas, Texas and they changed the manner the company received their mail to provide better security - Mr Davis knew his crimes were about to be found out.
To continue his theft, embezzlement and fraud as long as possible and not be found out - Mr Davis decided to keep the company busy by anonymously posting very negative false statements on the internet, pretending to be former employees, customers and investors on many websites.
Social Media Nightmare
Also, Mr Davis, using Mr Fonteno's personal information was able to gain access to his Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Instagram and other accounts and make 'posts' as if he was 'Chase' D. Fonteno - stating 'as Chase', he was not worthy to run a business and needed to fire himself. And pretending to be Chase, admitted he was 'coming out of the closet' and was very gay and wanted the world to know. And even stating 'the company was having to close because the CEO stole everything'. "I was a bit shocked when I started having friend's text me on my cell phone wishing me happiness in my new 'lifestyle'. I had no idea what they were talking about until my sister contacted me and asked if it was true or a joke..."commented Chase Fonteno. After realizing that someone had control of his social media accounts, unable to get back control of them, Chase hired an investigator to help him get back control, taking many months and legal processes.
RipOffReport False Claims
Not getting the type of reaction he was wanting, Mr Davis then began making false posting on a slander website called the RipOffReport - for over 6 months, pretending to be former employees, investors and customers. The investigator obtained the IP addresses used to access each of these - only two IP addresses were used to post all the false reports, the same IP addresses that Mr Davis used to access his email accounts. These two IP addresses were Mr Davis' desk at Hilton Head and his home.
Davis false info to News, District Attorney, IRS & Internet
But Mr Davis had more ideas up his sleeve to keep Hilton Head busy so they did not find his Fraud, Theft and Embezzlement. Within 1 day of Hilton Head moving to their new headquarters, he contacted the IRS, Dallas District Attorney, Channel 11 News, Univision and Dallas Morning News - making false claims about the company and Mr Fonteno. The claims were so severe that all of these parties showed up at Hilton Head's new offices 2 or 3 days after the move, as we were unpacking, demanding documents and other evidence and even having subpoena's for records. All these parties believed Mr Davis was a 'reliable' source because he stated he was the 'current' Director of Finance. But after weeks of investigation (months for the IRS) it was determined that the information they received from Mr Davis was 'false'.
But, Mr Davis was not done yet. He had two more plans. He created a slander / defamation website 'Chase-Fonteno.com' where Davis posted false information that the FBI, IRS and other parties are looking for Fonteno. All of which were not true, but stayed up on the internet for many months. Davis also learned of a former 'associate' (Wes Gilliland) the company stopped doing business with years prior - due to the associate doing bad and possible criminal real estate deals and sometimes using the company's name without authority, causing Hilton Head to receive angry calls not related to any property Hilton Head was ever involved with.
Mr Davis also contacted Hispanic families deceived by Wes Gilliland and falsely advised them Gilliland was taking orders from Fonteno & Hilton Head. Channel 11 did a video News Story using such false information, including an anonymous and disguised man behind a screen (Michael Davis) who made even further false statements in the live news story. After it aired, HHP's attorney provided facts to prove it was not true, with plans to sue the news station for damages of such false information - the video news story was removed from the news site and anywhere the news service posted it - but not before Michael Davis copied it and posted it on websites all over the world, including Youtube, Yahoo Video Japan, Vimeo, MetaCafe, Google Video and other video sites. Fortunately in the lawsuit Hilton Head & Fonteno filed against Davis, the Judge issued an order making it clear the information was false - most video sites in the world took the video off the air, except Vimeo, MetaCafe and a few others that are now being sued to have them removed.
The Truth Surfaced
Before Hilton Head filed suit against Davis and after the News Release - they still had no idea who was doing this. But noticing Michael Davis had not yet moved into his office at Hilton Head's new offices, an Exec. Assistant, needing information, went into Davis' office to get it from his computer and was shocked to find many emails to various parties. It showed he was pretending to be various other individuals including existing and former employees, investors and others. The investigator determined that Davis did much of this while in his former office before the move, and many others were done from his home. But no one knew why. Until a few days later when mail from the bank provided evidence that Michael Davis had used the companies bank accounts to get credit cards, with him as the 'new' president and had pulled over $100,000 cash out. Finally everything started to make sense.
Hilton Head and Mr Fonteno filed criminal complaints with the Dallas District Attorney and the Dallas Police Dept, but no complaint was taken due to Mr Davis being the key witness against Hilton Head and Fonteno, based on false allegations Davis made to them. It took many months for them to realize such allegations were false.
Chase Bank, based on errors by a bank employee allowing Mr Davis to commit the fraud, covered almost all the losses Hilton Head had due to Davis's actions. Eventually Hilton Head and 'Chase' D. Fonteno filed two District Court cases against Michael Ray Davis for embezzlement, slander, libel and business disparagement.
Mr Davis was found Guilty of Civil Fraud, Embezzlement, Conversion, Theft, Invasion of Privacy, Violations of the Texas Wiretap Act, creating False Websites, False Information to Channel 11 News, False information to Dallas Morning News, False information posted on the RipOffReport, False information to the IRS and False information to the Dallas DA. Hilton Head Properties and 'Chase' D. Fonteno were awarded over $8 million in damages against Michael R Davis and the Judge made various orders to undo and remove things Davis had created or caused, including turning over the domain 'Chase-Fonteno.com', which now points to Mr Fonteno's website www.ChaseFonteno.com. But not all things could be removed, possibly ever, like the ripoff report and other postings due to freedom of speech and internet laws.
Chase Bank, not wanting public knowledge of their error, decided not to criminally prosecute Mr Davis and the District Attorney and the Police Department also never went after Mr Davis even after they realized he provided them false information.
However - there was one important party. Mr Davis, being on parole from his prior Federal criminal conviction, had a very interested parole officer. After requesting evidence of Mr Davis's actions, had to answer for his actions as a violation of his parole.
Final Justice Without Benefits
Mr Fonteno and Hilton Head Properties do not believe they will ever see any of the $8 million judgment from Michael R. Davis they were awarded. "It is difficult to get cash from an empty box," laughed Alex Bickley, Hilton Head Corporate Counsel and former City Attorney "you just learn from it and go on."
Despite the considerable harmful effects Michael Davis' actions cost the company and reputation damage to 'Chase' D. Fonteno, and it's continued damage over the years, they continue to successfully operate and expand their operations. After winning the lawsuit against Mr Davis, Mr. Fonteno moved himself and Hilton Head Properties to Los Angeles, California.
Hilton Head Properties is a privately held multi-disciplined real estate investment firm specializing in the acquisition and owner-financed sale of single-family residential housing and long term investment in multi-family projects nationwide, specializing in acquiring properties that are financially or physical distressed. Currently Hilton Head has offices in Houston, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Detroit and Dallas; and have begun expansion in Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Cleveland and Chicago. Hilton Head makes home ownership available to buyers without using any governmental programs or assistance, by assisting individuals to purchase sub-par homes with little cash down, where the buyers are required to do their own home repairs.
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