Dear Airleaf Victims,
It has been a while since you’ve heard from me. That’s because I had nothing to tell you. Allow me to explain two issues.
When we began our campaign against Airleaf, we took action on two levels. We applied for civil charges with the Attorney General’s office for restitution of our money. We also filed complaints for criminal charges with the U.S. Attorney’s office for prosecution of criminal actions. In Indiana, those are the two government agencies responsible for each of the actions.
My requests to the U.S. Attorney in Indiana regarding the criminal charges against Carl Lau and Airleaf et. al., have not resulted in any determination as of yet whether they will press charges because the case is under “investigation” by the FBI and Postal authorities as it has been for a year-and-a-half. Quite frankly, I’m stumped. I provided these agencies with all the documentation to make the case, but it’s still being investigated. I am tired of waiting for a response with no communication from Timothy Morrison as of late, the Indiana U.S. Attorney, in spite of asking twice for a decision.
In my frustration, I sent a letter to the U.S. Attorney two weeks ago. This is what it stated:
March 11, 2009
Mr. Kenneth E. Melson, Director
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Room 2242
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Dear Mr. Melson:
My name is Bonnie Kaye. I am the organizer of a group of over 600 people who are victims of a predatory publishing and publicity scam by a now out-of-business company, Airleaf Publishing, in Martinsville, Indiana owned by Carl Lau.
As a victim, in addition to being the organizer of the group, I have spent the past year and a half seeking justice for our very upset members by the Indiana U.S. Attorney’s office. The FBI and the US Postal Authorities have investigated this case for well over a year and a half. I have provided extensive documentation to prove that our case is one of fraudulence as opposed to “poor business practice.”
I was successful in getting this company closed by starting an intensive Internet campaign that shut off the cash flow of the company. At that time, I took two routes—civil charges and criminal charges. I had our authors send out complaint forms to the FBI and Postal Authorities of Indiana for criminal action, as well as the Attorney General of Indiana for civil charges. The Attorney General’s office handed down a judgment against the owner, Carl Lau, last spring, months after the company closed. Unfortunately, since he has no money left, we will not see any kind of restitution. However, we are still seeking retribution in the form of criminal charges so that con men don’t feel entitled to rob authors of thousands of dollars with false promises that will never come true.
From the information that I have been able to gather, Carl Lau stole in excess of two million dollars from unsuspecting authors who have now had their hopes, dreams, and money stolen away from them. How is it that one petty thief can go to jail, but a con man of this magnitude can go free? This makes no sense to any of us.
I have spent hundreds of hours compiling files for the FBI to make our case so that the U.S. Attorney of Indiana, Timothy Morrison, can file criminal charges against the criminal. I have had very little by way of communication in a positive way from Mr. Morrison who seems to just “blow us off.” I am writing to you as a last resort in trying to get us the help and justice we are seeking.
You can read our website at www.AirleafVictims.com. As a result of the inaction of the Indiana government, a second company, Jones Harvest Publishing, owned and operated by the former Executive Vice President of Airleaf, Brien Jones, started operating this scam all over again robbing people of thousands of dollars for fake publicity and publishing campaigns. You can see my site at www.JonesHarvestFraudVictims.com.
Mr. Melson, I know you are very busy, and I am only writing to you in desperation. We don’t know where to turn. Many of our victims are elderly people and disabled people who invested their life savings into this dream that became their nightmare. If action isn’t taken to punish people who do this, it sends up a red flag to other people with no conscience that this kind of fraudulence is not a punishable crime.
Please help us by asking Mr. Morrison to take action against the thieves of Indiana who are robbing people not only in this country, but in internationally as well. It certainly doesn’t make America look good when we allow this type of fraudulence to flourish. If you would like me to send you copies of my correspondence with Mr. Morrison, please let me know.
Thank you for your time.
Bonnie Kaye, M.Ed.
I am still waiting for a response from his office. I understand he is busy with AIG, but we have our own personal money woes to contend with due to this fraudulence.
The next step I would like to take is this: I would like to know if you will help me by signing a petition that I will personally deliver in Indiana to the U.S. Attorney’s office with our stories. I will go with Sgt. Don Meyers, Indiana’s most decorated Vietnam War Veteran, as well as an Airleaf Victim, and any other author in the area who is willing to join me. I will call the press ahead of time to announce when I am going, and I will launch my new campaign and website “Indiana Welcomes Crooks” which I am in the process of designing. I’ll send you the link in the next few weeks so you can check it out. I am hoping by taking these measures, I will drum up media interest in our case.
Regardless of the fact that we were able to get the Attorney General’s office to bring a judgment against Carl Lau, we will see nothing. Carl Lau sold his house last year, and the money from Lau’s house went to the IRS for back taxes. He is in debt up the kazoo and supposedly claiming bankruptcy. But don’t feel sorry for him—he’s been collecting unemployment insurance this year. And he and his wife have moved in with his wife’s family. His wife has an excellent job, so they are not suffering, but a lot of us sure are.
If you are willing to help me with this petition campaign, please send me an email at Bonkaye@aol.com and let me know I can count on you. I’m willing to donate my time and money to go to Indiana on your behalf. All I’m asking you for is sign a statement that I will send to you requesting that the U.S. Attorney bring charges against Airleaf for crimes against our authors.
In the meantime, I am working with nearly 70 victims of Jones Harvest Publishing owned by Brien Jones. I have them filing reports to the Attorney General’s office in Indiana. When so many of you told me initially that Brien Jones was the real criminal at Airleaf, I couldn’t understand why. After all, he didn’t own the company. But of course I’ve learned the hard way that he was the one who came up with most of the fraudulent schemes and talked you out of your money as you kept telling me. He’s done this all over again on his own. Many of our victims have been re-victimized, and I will keep fighting on their behalf as well as his new victims who have found me due to my Google Advertising on the Jones Harvest page of Google. Feel free to check it out. We have to let the government of Indiana know that we will not tolerate their lack of action against predatory publishing fraud.
Three other items before I end.
1.Airleaf Victim Tom Barnes called me the other day and told me that if you have lost money with Airleaf, you can file it as a fraudulence loss on your income tax this year. Even if it happened two or three years ago, we didn’t know about the fraudulence until 2008. I took mine off my taxes last year. If you haven’t done that yet, please think about adding it to your return.
2.Keep in mind our Books of Excellence author’s co-op. Please check it out if you haven’t seen it lately at www.BooksOfExcellence.com. We have some wonderful authors, and books are selling and being promoted. We would be happy to have you join our group. Please email me if you would like further information.
3.I’ll be in Connecticut in May at the CAPA conference (Connecticut Authors and Publishing Association) as a guest speaker on Predatory Publishing discussing how we as victims stood up to fight and stop Airleaf. If any of you live in the area, I’d love to meet you. Please let me know if you’d like more information.
Thank you for your patience, support, and hopefully, willingness to keep our battle alive until we see justice. What happened to us is criminal—and criminals need to be punished.
Bonnie Kaye, M. Ed.