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"Central Florida Visa Services" owner arrested.

Forum section: Immigration news & articles. - General news and articles that refer to either type of immigration.  -  Use English only please.

Immigration news & articles. General news and articles that refer to either type of immigration.

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Old 03-08-2007, 08:12 PM     #141
Everhopefull
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Default Re: "Central Florida Visa Services" owner arrested.

The attorney who respresent Hall in court is not know to me.
I have spoken to and had dealings with the 'certain' lawyer some of you think it may be.
Its not.
Steve
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Old 03-10-2007, 06:05 PM     #142
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Default Re: "Central Florida Visa Services" owner arrested.

http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.d...703100399/1004

Published Saturday, March 10, 2007

U.K. Man Loses 'Faith' In U.S. Legal System
Dustin Houghton has yet to collect $194,000 judgement against Polk businessman.

By Mike Grogan
The Reporter


BARTOW - British citizen Dustin Houghton is disenchanted with American justice.

"I've lost faith in the justice system here," he said.

Houghton was waiting outside Courtroom 4A earlier this week to learn the outcome of a pretrial hearing on criminal charges lodged against Polk County businessman Douglas K. Hall.

Hall was arrested in November and charged with grand theft, forgery and unlawful use of a notary following a business deal with another British citizen, Geoffrey Spencer. Tuesday's hearing was continued until April 17 at the request of Hall's lawyer, who waived his client's right to a speedy trial.

Houghton, who won a civil judgment against Hall in November, was at the courthouse even though the criminal case did not involve him. He was in Florida because a British television network, Independent TV, paid his way in order to do a story on Hall's questionable dealings with prospective British investors. British television and newspaper reports as many as 50 British families have been bilked out of an estimated $7 million by Hall.

Hall, Houghton said, has financially devastated his family.

"I lost my job of 13 years and am about to lose my home because of (Hall)," he said.

In November, Houghton won a $194,000 judgment against Hall after mortgaging his home in Eastbourne - which is on the southeast coast of England - and sending the money to Hall to put into an escrow account.

In 2005, Hall, operating as Central Florida Visa Group, contracted with Houghton to help the British resident obtain a business visa and also to aid in the purchase of a business - a dive shop on Florida's west coast.

Houghton not only did not obtain the visa, but the nearly $200,000 he sent Hall toward the purchase of the dive shop disappeared.

"He (Hall) said the money had been misappropriated by someone in his company," Houghton explained.

Houghton didn't believe Hall's story and sued Hall in Polk County civil court, a case Houghton won. But he has been unable to get anything from Hall except one Harley-Davidson motorcycle he was able to sell for $13,000.

"He doesn't have anything," Houghton said. "He has three homes but they've all been foreclosed on. It cost me $5,000 to get a judgment against this guy and it's got me nothing."

Houghton is not the only British resident to accuse Hall of mishandling their escrow money. Feb. 1, Stephen Smith filed a lawsuit in Polk County claiming Hall had absconded with $160,000, funds that were supposed to be used for the down payment on the purchase of a business in Florida.

"Our allegations are (Hall) took the money that was supposed to be in escrow and used it for his own purposes," said Randal M. Hand, Smith's Kissimmee lawyer.

It is not just Houghton's inability to collect on the cash judgment against Hall that has him convinced he will not get satisfaction from the justice system. He lodged complaints against Hall with the U.S. State Department, the FBI and the Polk County Sheriff's Office. He said the State Department and FBI both told him there was nothing they could do.

As for the sheriff, Houghton claimed someone from the agency told him, "They don't have enough resources to do the investigation."

"I don't know where Mr. Houghton got that idea," sheriff's spokeswoman Donna Woods said. "We are investigating Mr. Hall."

She would not provide any details of the investigation.

In the current criminal case against Hall, Spencer accused the Polk County man of forging his name to a lien satisfaction document and illegally notarizing it. Hall is free on $30,000 bail as he awaits trial.

"You know, we've done everything right," Houghton said of his dealings with Hall and his attempts at getting retribution through the courts. "I guess if somebody's going to scam you, they will."

Mike Grogan can be reached at mike.grogan@theledger.com or at 863-421-5811.
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Old 03-10-2007, 07:21 PM     #143
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Default Re: "Central Florida Visa Services" owner arrested.

And here is the danger of third-party reporting !

"British television and newspaper reports as many as 50 British families have been bilked out of an estimated $7 million by Hall."

Any British television and newspapers that made that statement (but I don't think they did) got it wrong ! The 50 families quoted and the $7M estimated was not just on the Doug Hall case - but the Mike Leggett/Royal Developments case too ! They were first bundled together by the BBC Radio Five live programme.

Reporters that mis-quote other reporters indulge in lazy journalism !
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Old 03-11-2007, 06:20 AM     #144
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Default Re: "Central Florida Visa Services" owner arrested.

Hi Chris

I agree with your comments, well said


Keep it factual and to the point.!!!!

The last thing this site needs now or in the future is a lawsuit and neither does any individual member of this site
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Last edited by Susie; 03-11-2007 at 06:34 AM..
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Old 03-11-2007, 06:26 AM     #145
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Default Re: "Central Florida Visa Services" owner arrested.

Hi

Just a point to note on Mike Grogans statement that the TV company paid Dustin's way to the USA this is not strickly true and sure Dustin will confirm.

They did say they would give him 300 pounds towards his trip and know for a fact his flight cost alone was a lot more than 300 pounds, never mind petrol, food and other expenses

Also Dustin did send Dough Hall more than the $200,000.00 more like $215,000.00. The reason Dustin only sued Doug Hall for the $192,000 was because Doug Hall passed $22,500.00 (of the $215,000.00) to the seller of the Naples Shop to be held in good fatih escrow account
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Last edited by Susie; 03-11-2007 at 06:35 AM..
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Old 03-11-2007, 11:46 PM     #146
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Default Re: "Central Florida Visa Services" owner arrested.

Does it really matter who paid for Dustins flight etc,I dont think he should have to be accountable to anyone where the money came from to allow him to visit here.
Sheila
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Old 03-12-2007, 03:22 AM     #147
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Default Re: "Central Florida Visa Services" owner arrested.

Poor Dustin, it may well be that he is required to attend court at some point in the future. I hope the court system will pay for the flights. He will certainly have to come back to the USA shortly to continue sorting out a new visa as the seller of the shop sold to another party.

All this expense at a time when he has lost everything. It would have been nice if the TV company paid the full cost of this trip but something is better than nothing. I was a bit upset as the paper gives the impression that the whole cost was paid for by the tv company which is untrue

here is the comment

He was in Florida because a British television network, Independent TV, paid his way in order to do a story on Hall's questionable dealings with
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Old 03-12-2007, 10:28 AM     #148
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Default Re: "Central Florida Visa Services" owner arrested.

Sometimes the media can be a Great help and get the publicity what is needed but on many occasions they can "twist"the story to make a good story unfortunetly.
Sheila
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Old 03-13-2007, 04:16 AM     #149
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Default Re: "Central Florida Visa Services" owner arrested.

Unfortunately, that is the cost we have to pay when things get newsworthy!!

It is soo wrong, but these people are lazy and do not look into the facts - what is wrong with this world - when I was a kid (okay, many moons ago), we took pride in our work, unfortunately that is not the case nowadays and that is why so many things go wrong - nobody cares anymore!!

Anniexx
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Old 03-13-2007, 05:30 AM     #150
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Default Re: "Central Florida Visa Services" owner arrested.

I agree with the term lazy reporters.They read someone else's story, twist it around and hey presto another report and get paid a good wage for doing so
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Old 03-13-2007, 09:47 AM     #151
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Default Re: "Central Florida Visa Services" owner arrested.

I agree !

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Old 03-18-2007, 03:07 PM     #152
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Default Re: "Central Florida Visa Services" owner arrested.

Hi good people,

I have only just managed to see the show again we appreciate the great kindness shown to me by all my expatsvoice friends in Florida. I truly would have been lost without you all, thank you so very much.

Big thanks goes to Susie and her wonderful boys for putting up with me for 2 weeks and for the many hours spent trying to sort the mess out that I have been left with because of Doug Hall.

James Lavigne is a true gentleman so knowledgeable and is now my immigration attorney. He did a good job on film getting his point across in his own subtle way especially the way the rules change in the embassy, one time they give five year visa's then without notice only give two year renewals. Susie and I must have spent more than 12 hours with him during my stay and did not charge me a penny. He has now put me on the right road to a successful start up business on an E visa. At the same time I will try and build up my UK business so that at some time in the future will be able to change from an E visa to L visa and then maybe a green card in the future.

I have watched the program a couple of times and overall feel that they did a very good job. They did seem to get the point across that I did go to a show and met professional immigration attorneys; I did do my homework yet still managed to get scammed via Doug Hall. They also got the point across via the American embassy that you should not go to a one stop type of firm that sells you a business and applies for your visa as they have a vested interest so why I feel overall they did do a good job.

Zoe and Steve did expatsvoice and all of us proud. I am sure that most people will be horrified that they had to wait 18 months for a renewal and sure the embassy staff will be watching the program and approve their case. Good luck guys on your interview, am sure Gurbir would like to follow up if you’re denied and congratulate you if approved.

I am very disappointed that they did not mention expatsvoice in the show and have spoken to Gurbir about this. He is truly sorry but their legal team said they could not mention the site name only at the end of the show referred to their website where there would be advise, so indirectly promoting expatsvoice.

I too am sorry they cut Susie, Lorraine and Annie out of the show but the editor said to have too many different stories would confuse the viewers who knew nothing about immigration. I know Gurbir rang Susie to explain, I do know she understood and in some ways relieved that her Essex girl accent was not heard!, only joking Sue, he, he

Many people have approached me in the street since the show aired, which seems strange to me as not used to strangers knowing my business, I am now getting recognized and from their feed back to me about the show it has come through as a very informative show. They said the filming told a complete story from renting a property, to buying a property, buying a business, visa scams, to people moving back to the UK because their business failed.

Hopefully coming back to the states very soon as I need to get my business plan to James to commence and truly hope this ties in with Doug Hall's next court hearing and hope a few of us can attend the hearing and meet the TV crews outside. Susie is looking into getting some expatsvoice t-shirts printed by the next court date for those who wish to attend and will definitely get expatsvoice message and name out then and the future court hearings. What did that woman mean about the Americans? I think she made herself look silly! I have to say it but I think she was wrong, as all that has happened to me and my family WE STILL LOVE AMERICA AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. We will get our dream one day


Take care and best regards

Dustin & family
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Old 03-19-2007, 06:53 PM     #153
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Default Re: "Central Florida Visa Services" owner arrested.

My appeal for my job went against me today and was rejected. I am told Unison lawyers will look into the case to see if we can bring this to a tribunal.

Whatever happens now we are focussed in our dream and working hard to make this happen! I hope the corner is now near to turn as I feel I have my fair share of problems for the past 9 months.

I will keep you all updated as promised when we have some new news.

Regards

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Old 03-19-2007, 11:50 PM     #154
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Default Re: "Central Florida Visa Services" owner arrested.

Keep your Chin up
Sheila and Family
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Old 03-20-2007, 01:35 AM     #155
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Default Re: "Central Florida Visa Services" owner arrested.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dustin
My appeal for my job went against me today and was rejected. I am told Unison lawyers will look into the case to see if we can bring this to a tribunal.

Whatever happens now we are focussed in our dream and working hard to make this happen! I hope the corner is now near to turn as I feel I have my fair share of problems for the past 9 months.

I will keep you all updated as promised when we have some new news.

Regards

Dustin
Just wanted to say Hi to you and and your family and find out when you are coming back over....Just saw the 'show' and didn't think it was that bad...If only something was shown like that before we all came here things would have been so much better for all so it should at least help others.... (you would think) ...Also sorry to hear of appeal rejection but if your responses for the new business plan are anything to go by, I'm sure you will have a bright future here in the end...Take care mate.
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Old 03-20-2007, 07:00 PM     #156
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Default Re: "Central Florida Visa Services" owner arrested.

Thanks it means a lot to us.
Regards

Dustin
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Old 03-21-2007, 03:10 PM     #157
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http://forum.expatsvoice.org/media/ for the story!
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Old 03-21-2007, 04:59 PM     #158
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Default Re: "Central Florida Visa Services" owner arrested.

Hi Dustin,
Have only just joined the forum as a result of a link off the ITV website which I went to after seeing the programme.
I too have been a victim of scumbag fraudsters in a big way, albeit in a different business situation. The important thing to do is stay focussed and keep going, no matter how down you get you WILL get through it, you will be a much stronger person and they WILL get what is coming to them. There is so much I could write but my situation is ongoing and there's stuff I would never put on here anyway for fear of incriminating myself but suffice it to say that a couple of people will one day very soon wish they had never been born
You seem to have a lot of friends all rooting for you, and it's the decent people that get you through these things.
Best of luck,
Michelle.
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Old 03-22-2007, 04:59 AM     #159
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Default Re: "Central Florida Visa Services" owner arrested.

Quote:
Originally Posted by spotty
Hi Dustin,
Have only just joined the forum as a result of a link off the ITV website which I went to after seeing the programme.
I too have been a victim of scumbag fraudsters in a big way, albeit in a different business situation. The important thing to do is stay focussed and keep going, no matter how down you get you WILL get through it, you will be a much stronger person and they WILL get what is coming to them. There is so much I could write but my situation is ongoing and there's stuff I would never put on here anyway for fear of incriminating myself but suffice it to say that a couple of people will one day very soon wish they had never been born
You seem to have a lot of friends all rooting for you, and it's the decent people that get you through these things.
Best of luck,
Michelle.
Hi

I am so sorry you too seem to be a victim to someone. Just to let you know we have started a victim support group.

Please be assured you can sen me a private message with your story and it will remain in confindence or you can pm me your contact details and I will call you

Once our victim support group gets a match, eg two of more victims of the same scammer or frudster, I pm them both to see if they wish to be put in touch with each other. I am working on some cases at present and who knows you could well be linked to the same person

This special group is open to anyone who has suffered at the hands of a Visa specialist, immigration attorney or anyone else . It is my hope that sometime in the future to form a recongnised association to protect people's escrow monies and raise industry standards
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Old 03-22-2007, 11:11 AM     #160
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Default Re: "Central Florida Visa Services" owner arrested.

Hi Susie,
I was actually the victim of someone and a situation unrelated to anything to do with the US, this was a UK business. The way this country treated me totally sickened me to the point I just suddenly decided I wanted to get out, the police here don't care about white-collar crime and will only act if you spend thousands on investigating the fraud yourself (oh yeah, with what??) so you can hand it to them on a plate. Likewise if you don't come into a "PC" category you can end up in the gutter for all the state cares.
My friend has supported me through all this, and I her through her divorce and we just made a joke about emigrating, decided it wasn't half a bad idea and thought lets try the US. It was at that moment I saw the programme on ITV and I guess it was a real warning to go into things a lot more than I perhaps would have done and just be very defensive about all dealings.
I just wanted to offer some support, my situation was different but it had thye same result. The manager that ruined my business was a "friend" I helped out when he needed a job and the consultant that came in befriended me and portrayed himself as my knight in shining armour when in fact he was more the grim reaper These scammers/confidence tricksters really are the lowest of the low, to call them sewer-dwelling diseased vermin would be an insult to etc etc.
It's very hard to stay positive when you've lost everything but as long as you have your health and your friends you can get through it. They do say the most successful businesspeople are those that have been previously bankrupt or come very close to losing everything because it teaches them valuable lessons for next time and gives them a determination to achieve something even better.
In the meantime a voodoo doll is effective for stress relief, I find
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