Attorney General Hardy Myers has temporarily stopped three principals of a Southern Oregon manufactured housing dealership from disposing of assets, destroying records, or working in the industry after obtaining a temporary restraining order Tuesday in Jackson County Circuit Court. Myers also filed a lawsuit alleging violations of both the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (ORICO)and the Oregon Unlawful Trade Practices Act (UTPA) naming Gary A. Waggoner of Medford and Brad M. and Deborah A. Blanchard of Rogue River as defendants. The defendants are either officers or operators of the now defunct Alpine Mountain Homes, Inc. of Medford and White City, also doing business as AM Mortgage and AM Realty.
All three must appear at a June 20 show-cause hearing scheduled at 9 a.m. in the Jackson County Court House in Medford. Circuit Court Judge G. Philip Arnold will determine whether the restraining order continues pending the trial date.
Attorney General Myers alleges in the lawsuit that the defendants, comprising an enterprise with Alpine and other employees, violated the racketeering law through a pattern of wrongful activities such as thefts, an instance of forgery and violation of Oregon's mortgage banker/broker law. The suit also alleges that the defendants, acting together and through their employees, violated the state consumer protection laws by repeatedly deceiving customers.
"Victims of this conspiracy have lost thousands of dollars and many have nothing to show for it," Myers explained. "This is the case of a company in financial trouble deceiving its customers and misappropriating their money."
The state's Department of Consumer and Business Services is looking into potential violations of the Oregon Mortgage Lender laws as well.
In addition to consumer victims, several companies that did business with the defendants have suffered losses including Bombardier Capital, Inc., a Massachusetts corporation operating from Vermont, and Fleetwood Homes of Oregon, Inc., headquartered in Riverside, California.
Bombardier has sued Alpine and Gary and Nancy Waggoner in federal court for allegedly selling homes "out of trust." Bombardier "floored" units for Alpine and paid the factory. Alpine then sold the units and did not reimburse Bombardier. Fleetwood, under a contract with Bombardier, was forced to buy back approximately six homes from Bombardier due to the alleged unscrupulous activities of the defendants. Other consumers have filed private lawsuits against the defendants in Jackson County Circuit Court.
The complaint seeks restitution for all victims and seeks to permanently prohibit Waggoner and the Blanchards from operating, owning or investing in any business that sells or finances manufactured homes in Oregon. The lawsuit also seeks $25,000 in civil penalties for each unlawful trade practice violation and reasonable attorney fees.
Under ORICO, the lawsuit seeks a civil penalty of $250,000 against each defendant for participating in a racketeering enterprise, attorney fees and litigation and investigative costs, and forfeiture of all monies and property derived through the alleged illegal conduct.
Manufactured housing industry representatives first alerted the Department of Justice Financial Fraud/Consumer Protection Section to the possible illegal activity of the defendants.
"The Department of Justice has been greatly assisted by the Medford Police Department Fraud Unit, the Oregon State Police and the Jackson County Sheriff's Office," Myers said.
The Medford Police Department is investigating several reports of alleged theft related to the former business known as Alpine Mountain Homes Inc. The investigation is in its initial stages. Detectives have identified 14 possible victims with an alleged loss in excess of $200,000. The investigation is ongoing. The Medford Police Department requests any potential victims that have yet to be contacted to contact Detective Tony Young at (541) 774-2244.
Consumers wanting to file complaints against the defendants also may call the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392. Justice is online at www.doj.state.or.us.
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) firstname.lastname@example.org