Response to Associated Press Article
Official response by David Banks to Associated Press (AP) article "Tight-knit Colorado community shaken by fraud case".
I would like to first respond by saying that the Department of Homeland Security initiated contact with us. Second, staffing companies were not a way we "kept [our] firm going" as reported by the AP. This wreaks of a government talking point and a fallacy that IRP fraudulently used staffing companies as a source of revenue to keep the doors open. I told AP reporter Donna Bryson that the sole purpose information technology contractors were maintained by IRP was to satisfy continuing requests for modifications to our Case Investigative Life Cycle (CILC) on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and New York City Police Department (NYPD). We had no purpose or motivation to continue incurring debt with staffing companies if not for fulfilling requests for law enforcement agencies. Every agreement we signed with staffing companies was based in good faith that the work we were doing on behalf of law enforcement would soon result in a contract --- and all the signs strongly indicated that was going to happen. We had no idea that Greg Goldberg of Holland and Hart, FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Colorado were undermining our sales efforts. Furthermore, there were legal contracts between IRP and each staffing company to provide staffing or pay rolling services, which included Ms. Rodriguez of Express Personnel in Pueblo, Colorado.
Contrary to government contentions, no staffing company representative, including Ms. Rodriquez was ever defrauded or deceived by any of the IRP6. In addition, IRP did not receive free labor when the company was saddled with debt and civil judgments from staffing companies. IRP never attempted to file for bankruptcy to rid itself of the debt and judgments. If IRP had immediately filed for bankruptcy after running up debt, government's allegations of bankruptcy fraud may have had some plausibility --- though remotely plausible given the facts in this case. Ms. Rodriquez is not a novice in the staffing industry or business and neither were the other staffing companies that engaged with IRP. Instead of taking responsibility for her actions, Rodriquez ashamedly and cowardly chooses to blame IRP executives because her company lost money. Cry me a river! Court records and case documents in the form of Dun & Bradstreet credit reports, FBI interviews and testimony clearly substantiate that staffing company representatives were fully aware that IRP was a start-up business and a high credit risk. With full knowledge of these facts, these sophisticated and experienced staffing professionals assumed the risk of doing business with IRP and then when they lose money choose to cry fraud at behest of the government. While we deeply regret not being able to pay our debts, we acted in good faith in signing staffing agreements that we were certain we would be able to pay. We also assumed financial risk in our personal lives when we chose to underwrite IRP debts by signing personal guarantees. Our honest intentions and goal was to pay each and every staffing company we did business with but unfortunately the U.S. government terrorized us and our business and made it impossible to make good on our debt. Federal agents and prosecutors willfully pursued an illegitimate investigation and prosecution to wrongfully convict and imprison us and during the process ruined relationships developed with DHS, NYPD and other law enforcement agencies.
Prosecutor contentions that the IRP6 defrauded staffing companies are baseless and not supported by court documents or corporate emails. Likewise, staffing company representative's assertions that they were defrauded are not supported by their testimony at trial, court documents, emails, FBI interviews, or common sense. Doesn't journalistic ethics and integrity require that good investigative reporting be based on hard evidence and tough questions? That is definitely what we expected. Gary and I were asked plenty of questions by Bryson, each receiving separate one and a half hour interviews, and I verbally referenced court documents and records that supported my answers but none were referenced in this reporting. We are more than willing to defend our position and answer questions based on actual court records, emails, and other documents. The problem is that AP is not interested in reporting facts related to physical documents and we are certain the government and Judge Arguello don't want to defend their actions publically because it would show that they are the ones that concocted the scheme to destroy us and our business. Ms. Bryson and the AP really need to follow the yellow-brick road to find some courage to report on actual facts from documents and court records instead of printing this passive, shallow and overly-neutral fluff rag that only reports a few contextually void comments from various parties.
The article states that "campaigners [IRP6 supporters]" have been "digging into the professional backgrounds of judge and prosecutors in search of connections they see as suspicious, and calling for a court clerk to face charges because they claim passages from the trial transcript are missing".
These suspicions are founded on court records that A Just Cause has referenced in numerous press releases. We didn't make up the story concerning Judge Arguello's and Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Matthew Kirsch's relationship to Greg Goldberg.
The Denver Post newspaper quoted Goldberg as saying he knew Arguello very well. Court documents show that Goldberg, who was a friend, former AUSA, and colleague of Kirsch when they worked together a year earlier in the Colorado U.S. Attorney's Office, hand-delivered a letter to Kirsch to discuss IRP debts and how the company and its executives should be criminally prosecuted. Court documents, including fax records show that FBI Agent John Smith directed staffing companies to contact Goldberg, who is a private attorney, in FBI matters related to the IRP investigation. Additionally, court records show Agent Smith faxing a Gazette Telegraph newspaper article to Goldberg related to the raid on IRP's office. The article was found to contain VERBATIM language from the search warrant affidavit drafted by Smith which was under court-ordered seal. For what possible motivation or reason would Agent Smith direct staffing companies to contact Goldberg or send him a newspaper article that illegally violated a court-order? Furthermore, both Judge Arguello and U.S. Attorney John Walsh were partners at Goldberg's law firm, Holland and Hart in Colorado. These FACTS present a very suspicious picture. Ms. Bryson also unscrupulously reported that IRP supporters CLAIM that passages from the trial transcript are missing even though court documents clearly and unequivocally substantiate that 200 pages are confirmed missing by Judge Arguello and court reporter Darlene Martinez. Court records also show that Martinez violated the law, specifically the Court Reporter's Act, when she failed to file her unedited transcript and original notes with the clerk of court. These FACTS are undisputable and a matter of record, yet not reported in this article.
Although Angela Benton, the founder of NewME Accelerator makes some good points about the entrepreneurial mindset, she makes a statement that she would "Not...condone what [the IRP6] did". What is it that IRP did that Benton does not condone? Was Benton validating the government's position that IRP defrauded staffing companies? This statement by Benton is unclear. I believe this vague reporting was a subtle way of presenting IRP as guilty.
I consider Judge Arguello an evil, abusive tyrant and the most dishonest, despicable and vial human being I have ever encountered in my life. She is deceitful, a liar, and an unjust judge. Her statement that she believes we "had a legitimate product that was viable", but "[we] couldn't get the funding we needed to develop it. So, we concocted [a] fraudulent scheme to get it", is belied by the facts. Judge Arguello's actions in court were disgraceful. First, she would not allow us to present a complete defense by denying key witnesses testimony that could prove our innocence. Second, she violated our 5th Amendment right and forced us to testify in our criminal proceeding then obstructed justice by lying and concealing it. The proof of her reprehensible actions are in court records; the media simply refuses to report it.
Andrew Albarelle, the CEO of a multi-million dollar staffing firm, was on our witness list to testify that IRP's dealings with staffing companies were not fraudulent and the staffing company representatives were not forced to do business with IRP and certainly could not have been induced. Judge Arguello would not allow his testimony, citing that the government had not been properly notified. Not only was Albarelle on our witness list but Albarelle had sent a letter to U.S. Attorney John Walsh months before trial discussing his background and experience in the staffing industry as well as staffing industry practices when it comes to dealing with start-up companies. During a hearing where we argued that Albarelle should be allowed to testify, Arguello ridiculously reasoned that Walsh may not have forwarded Albarelle's letter to AUSA Kirsch and therefore the letter was not sufficient notification. It also didn't matter that in accordance with her pre-trial discovery requirements, Albarelle was on our witness list. She still refused to allow his testimony. Corporate emails which are part of discovery, show that IRP executives did not state they had a government contract. In addition, staffing representatives admitted during their testimony at trial that they were not even responsible for making the decision to do business with IRP --- their credit department made the decision based on Dun & Bradstreet credit reports and other credit checks. That proves they lied when they said that they MADE THE DECISION to do business with IRP based on alleged fraudulent statements. This is a matter of record that the media refuses to review and report.
During a bench conference Judge Arguello told us that one of us [the defendants] would have to testify or she was going to rest our case. Court records show that when we repeatedly challenged Judge Arguello on coercing us to testify, she strongly denied doing so. We then made repeated requests to Judge Arguello for a copy of the unedited transcript so that we could prove what was said. Shockingly, she denied each and every request. Court records also shows Judge Arguello asking court reporter Darlene Martinez how many pages did the unedited transcript we were requesting consisted of and Martinez responded, "200 pages". Judge Arguello went on to say that she could see no reason why the transcript should be provided to us and she was not going to order it be turned over. Not only did the 200 pages of unedited transcript mysteriously disappear, but also now the entire unedited record is missing. Why would Judge Arguello refuse to supply a transcript that would substantiate her claim that she never forced us to testify? Judge Arguello knew she coerced us to testify, but has chosen to deceive, lie and conceal her transgression. Another amazing fact is that Judge Arguello denied our request for a hearing to question Martinez on the transcript, speculating that maybe Martinez did not have her headphones on. Court records show that when Attorney Gwendolyn Solomon contacted Martinez after trial about the transcript, Martinez and clerk of court begin making excuses, such as it is up to the discretion of Martinez to turn it over to the transcript is now "unavailable". Judge Arguello continued refusing to order Martinez to release the transcript. Judge Arguello completed her evil plan when she threw us in prison with sentences ranging from 7-11 years. In my view, Judge Arguello is a professional hypocrite who demands that others take responsibility for their actions while she doesn't have the integrity and courage to accept responsibility for statements she made to force us to testify at our trial.
Finally, the chief clerk of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, Doug Cressler, has told Ethel Lopez of A Just Cause that our appellate files were returned to Denver in May of 2013. This has been substantiated by Appellate Judge's Harris Hartz and Jerome Holmes. Why hasn't the clerk's office filed a notice of entry and post the opinion as required by law? Other's in clerk's office told our attorney Mark Geragos that the case is still with the writing judge. What is the truth? It doesn't take an appellate judge a year to write an opinion. It seems like the lies and deception are endless in our justice system --- from the FBI to the U.S. Attorney's Office to Judge Arguello and now with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals clerk's office. The media refuses to investigate these terrible events that have and are occurring in the IRP6 case.
Court records! Court records! Court records! The facts about the IRP6 injustice are in the court records. The facts about Judge Arguello's lies and deception are in the court records. The facts about court reporter Darlene Martinez are in the court records. The facts about Greg Goldberg are in the court records. The 2013 report by the Pew Research Center (Center for People and Press) found that 75% of the respondents found that the media is influenced by power people and organizations. The government does not want their dirty laundry in the IRP6 case to be aired and are clearly influencing the media. Thus far there has been nothing but superficial reporting on the IRP6 case. I call this crony journalism. It is also known as state-controlled media. The U.S. is no better than North Korea, China, Russia, Iran or other countries who control the freedom of the press. We and A Just Cause will never stop fighting until some media organization, either in this country or out this country will tell the complete story of injustice of the IRP6.