LA Times: FBI Searches Slatkin's Home / Earthlink / Scientology

26 May 2001

FBI Agents Search Slatkin's Home

Courts: Latest move in the fraud investigation follows a raid of the
EarthLink co-founder's office two weeks ago.
Los Angeles Times
May 26, 2001


The FBI on Friday searched the Santa Barbara home of Reed E. Slatkin, the EarthLink Inc. co-founder and private money manager under criminal investigation for investment fraud.

The search at Slatkin's Hope Ranch estate came two weeks after FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents raided Slatkin's offices in Goleta and Santa Fe, N.M., hauling away boxes of documents and computers.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Bosley said she could not comment on the details of Friday's action because the search warrant authorizing it had been sealed by the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

"I can confirm that we're executing the warrant. Everything else is sealed by the court," Bosley said.

Slatkin's attorney Brian Sun said his client consented to the search of his home and home office.

"This is part of our continuing cooperation with federal regulators and authorities," Sun said.

Meanwhile, court-appointed bankruptcy trustee R. Todd Neilson said he will soon begin sorting through more than 100 boxes of documents Slatkin turned over as part of his bankruptcy proceedings. Neilson said he also will have access to documents and computer hard drives seized by government regulators.

As trustee, Neilson will try to determine what happened to investors' money, monitor the sale of any assets and distribute to investors and other creditors whatever money is collected.

Slatkin invested money for more than 500 people--including Hollywood celebrities, Internet executives and fellow members of the Church of Scientology--before three investors sued him in April, claiming Slatkin failed to return $34 million of their funds.

Slatkin resigned from EarthLink's board April 26 and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection May 1.

The Securities and Exchange Commission won a court order May 11 freezing Slatkin's assets. Government investigators say they have been unable to find the Swiss bank accounts Slatkin said he used to trade stocks, or the financial advisory firm Slatkin said he used to make the trades.

Bankruptcy officials and investors' attorneys estimate investor claims in the case could reach $600 million. At least 11 investors say they are owed more than $10 million each.

Among the investors listed in SEC documents are actors Giovanni Ribisi, Mariah O'Brien-Ribisi and Jeffrey Tambor; CNN legal commentator Greta Van Susteren and her husband, attorney John Coale; Grammy-winning composer and trumpeter Mark Isham; Oscar-nominated songwriter Tom Snow; and several producers.


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