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Entries in Suicide (4)

Tuesday
May222012

Facing Foreclosure, California Man Commits Suicide

Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEWBURY, Calif.) -- "The engine is smoking like a chimney," Norman Rousseau told his wife after working on an RV that was expected to be home for the couple after they were evicted from their house in Newbury Park, Calif.

Those would be the last words Oriane Rousseau heard from her husband, who shot himself May 15, days before the couple was scheduled to be evicted after a long battle over their mortgage held by Wells Fargo.

In a statement to ABC News, a spokesperson for Wells Fargo, which acquired the Rousseau loan from a lender it bought out, wrote, "Our thoughts are with the friends and family of Mr. Rousseau at this difficult time. The eviction has been postponed and we will continue to work with Mrs. Rousseau. Despite current reports, we tried repeatedly to find affordable options for the family."

The 53-year-old, who battled different ailments, would pick up odd jobs but was struggling financially. His wife, Oriane, was working part-time jobs. The couple's troubles began after they were solicited to refinance their mortgage and became locked into an alleged predatory loan for the home, which they purchased in 2000, according to their attorney Chris Gardas.

The couple alleges that there was a dispute with the bank over one payment and that they received harassing calls over the issue. The couple later began a loan modification process, according to Gardas.

"The details of the new loan were misrepresented and the couple became locked into a loan with a higher interest rate and were charged thousands in origination fees," according an amended lawsuit filed by the couple.

Wells Fargo is also one of five big banks that agreed to pay a $25 billion settlement over allegations of mortgage fraud. The bank filed a response to the Rousseau suit, denying the allegations and asking for a dismissal, plus more fees -- this time for the bank's attorneys.

The suit claims the bank told the couple not to make payments during the loan modification process. Then they were denied the modification. And, while facing foreclosure, the couple claims they were not given enough time to make the mortgage current, according to Gardas.

Over the last year, the family has spent thousands on legal fees and consultation, says Gardas.

In the last few months, Rousseau was said to be under incredible stress.

Rousseau, who never took off his wedding band, gave his wife the ring while working on the truck to avoid losing it.

The next day, under a blanket, Rousseau shot himself in the head.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar282012

Attorneys in Nevada Homeowners Association Scandal Dead

Joseph Devenney/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- A high-profile federal corruption investigation of homeowners associations in Nevada turned deadly this week when two key defendants in the case were found dead.

David Amesbury, a Las Vegas attorney targeted in the investigation, was found dead of an apparent hanging Sunday in Grass Valley, Calif., according to the Nevada County Chief Deputy Coroner Paul Schmidt. Amesbury was staying at his brother's home. Amesbury's brother could not be reached by ABC News for comment.

"There is no evidence of foul play or suspicion right now but it's still being investigated," Schmidt told ABC News. The death is being looked at as a possible suicide at this time, Schmidt said. Autopsy results will be out in about 10 weeks.

"I know of no specific reason why he would have done this," Frank Cremen, Amesbury's defense lawyer told ABC News. "I know his family doesn't believe it was suicide."

Another figure in the case, Nancy Quon, a construction defect lawyer, was found dead in a bathtub in a Henderson, Nev., condominium on March 20, Keith Paul, a spokesman for the Henderson Police Department told ABC News. Her death is still under investigation.

"Suicide will be one of the considerations along with accidental and medical, but at this time there is no evidence of foul play," Paul said.

The investigation by the U.S. Justice Department alleges Quon and Amesbury were involved in a plan that began in 2008 to take over homeowner association boards and then steer legal and construction contracts to specific firms.

The deaths, one defense attorney told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, are generating a growing sense of anxiety among those named in the federal probe.

"Some of the witnesses are extremely concerned about their well-being and safety," the defense lawyer, who was involved in plea negotiations with the government, told the newspaper. "People are dying here."

Amesbury, 57, reached a plea deal in the investigation on Oct 24. He is one of 10 defendants who have pleaded guilty in the case. Amesbury pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, according to documents from the U.S. Justice Department.

The Las Vegas attorney received $3,000 from co-conspirators to rig HOA board elections. Residents sent ballots to Amesbury's office where he allowed co-conspirators to count the votes in order to create enough fake ballots for their candidate to win, according to the Justice Department. The co-conspirators elected to the HOA boards used their positions to hire individuals and companies that would result in personal financial benefit for them, according to plea documents.

Sentencing for Amesbury was adjourned until Sept. 21. Amesbury was facing up to 30 years in jail, a million-dollar fine, or both, according to the Justice Department.

On Nov. 16, a few weeks after the plea agreement, Amesbury was found severely beaten in Henderson, Nev., according to Keith Paul, a spokesman for Henderson Police. Amesbury was found bloody, lying in the street of a gated community with a head injury and scrapes on his arms. He was not wearing a shirt and his pants were down to his ankles. Amesbury told detectives at the hospital that "he planned to commit suicide or try to," according to police reports. He later admitted he had brought 30 Valium pills with him.

The investigation into the incident was closed in January and police do not believe it was a result of Amesbury's plea agreement.

Prosecutors in the federal investigation have been building a foundation to indict 51-year-old Quon, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The investigation will continue despite the recent deaths.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb212012

Olympus Exec Found Dead in Apparent Suicide

Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg via Getty Images(TOKYO) -- A senior executive of scandal-plagued company Olympus was found dead outside his apartment in the Indian city of Gurgaon in an apparent suicide.

Tsutomu Omori, 49, head of Olympus Medical Systems in India, was found hanged near a park in his apartment complex, according to the Times of India. Police believe Omori committed suicide late Sunday. He left behind two suicide notes written in English and Japanese. One read, “I am sorry for bothering you,” according to police.

The Japanese camera maker has been engulfed in a massive financial scandal involving efforts to cover up $1.5 billion in losses. Earlier this month, Tokyo police arrested seven Olympus executives for their roles in one of Japan’s largest corporate scandals.

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There have been no reports to suggest a link between Olympus’s woes and Omori’s death, however.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct032011

'King of Infomercials' Commits Suicide before Trial

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(FLORENCE, Ariz.) -- Infomercial pitchman Don Lapre committed suicide in prison, two days before he was to face charges for defrauding thousands of people in Internet business schemes.

Authorities discovered his body on Sunday morning in a Florence, Ariz., prison cell.  His trial was scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

A grand jury indicted Lapre in June on 41 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and promotional money laundering. He was accused of overseeing and promoting a scheme through his company, “The Greatest Vitamin in the World.”

At least 220,000 victims in the scheme were defrauded of nearly $52 million, the government alleged.

Lapre, 47, referred to himself as the “King of Infomercials” and was parodied on Saturday Night Live through a recurring sketch by actor David Spade. He came to fame in an ubiquitous late-night spot in which he claimed he parlayed "tiny classified ads" into a million dollar empire.

On his website, donlapre.com, registered under his name, he recently responded to the charges against him, saying, "I tried to create the best product on earth, paid out millions, made very little trying to make it a success, had attorneys review my entire company, paid out millions in refunds, tried to make the commission and products better every single year, and in spite of all that, I have been accused of something I did not do.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio