Posted by chicagomedia.org on July 26, 2009 at 08:48:36:
Webio whistleblowers sue to recover investors' cash
CLASS-ACTION CASE | Hernandez, North, Jiggetts among those targeted
July 26, 2009 | Chicago Sun-Times
BY MARK J. KONKOL Staff Reporter
The husband and wife who blew the whistle on alleged Ponzi-schemer David Hernandez filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court last week on behalf of investors who got bilked out of nearly $12 million by the convicted embezzler.
Fred and Linda Samp of Deer Park sued Hernandez -- who is in jail on felony mail fraud charges -- his wife, Gina Hernandez, and all of his companies. They also sued his business partner, Chicago sports talk personality Mike North, part of an attempt to recoup cash from anyone who received "ill-gotten gains" from the scheme.
The federal government says Hernandez defrauded investors by using their money as start-up cash for North's brainchild -- the now-defunct Internet radio station ChicagoSportsWebio.com. Hernandez's company, Next Step Medical Staffing, also was the main sponsor of North's sports talk show "Monsters in the Morning" on Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
The Samps' lawsuit also targets:
* * North's wife, Be-Be North, a former Webio executive.
* * Cortez Trotter, the former Chicago fire commissioner turned management consultant hired by Hernandez to manage Webio.
* * Dan Jiggetts, North's "Monsters in the Morning" co-host.
* * Anne Williamson, a Hernandez associate who allegedly introduced many investors, including the Samps, to the alleged NextStep scheme for a fee.
Jiggetts declined comment. None of the other defendants could be reached.
"They should have known this guy's background," the Samps' attorney, Mark Belongia, said. "They knew more than what they are saying. They made statements that they knew Hernandez for 20 years and had no knowledge of his criminal background. That's illogical.
"They knew they were running [Webio] and it had zero revenue, but they were still able to pay everyone and sign contracts with people. All that money for Webio was derived from stolen money. That was our investor money."
Belongia said the goal is to get investors as much money back as possible, with punitive damages and attorney fees, which could total in the millions of dollars.
Post a Followup