The U.S. Trustee's office says it has "a substantial number of questions" for Soddy Daisy tax advisor Jack E. Brown, who is alleged to have taken over $10 million from clients to invest and left them holding the bag.
Samuel K. Crocker, the United States Trustee for Region 8, said in a motion in Chattanooga Bankruptcy Court that Brown ought to be subject to questioning despite his medical condition.
Brown's physician, Dr. Joe Watlington, said he is in ill health and confined to a nursing home.
He said Brown could answer questions at his bedside, but it would require an ambulance and a stretcher to take him to a hearing in Bankruptcy Court.
On Dec. 13, Brown's attorney filed a motion seeking to excuse his appearance from the meeting of creditors.
The motion claimed that Brown has fully cooperated with the trustee assigned to the bankruptcy case in identifying and gathering together assets and financial records "consistent with his rights under the 5th Amendment of the Constitution."
Trustee Jerry Farinash later denied that he has gotten full cooperation from Brown and his wife and son.
U.S. Trustee Crocker said there is the possibility of Brown taking part in the meeting by phone. He said his staff is willing to travel to the nursing home for an interview there.
U.S. Trustee Crocker said, "The debtor filed schedules stating he owes unsecured creditors over $10 million. Additionally, allegations have been made by an attorney representing several creditors that the debtor has been operating a Ponzi scheme for several years. Allegedly, the debtor solicited funds from investors in the Soddy Daisy community by promising the investors a large return on their investment via the debtor’s execution of a promissory note.
"Further, based on the debtor’s own sworn answers on his Schedule E, the debtor owes a number of individuals in the Soddy Daisy community millions of dollars. The U.S. Trustee believes that these numerous creditors will likely want to attend the meeting of creditors and ask the debtor about his dissipation of over $10 million.
"Finally, the U.S. Trustee has a substantial number of questions for the debtor, and his family members, regarding the receipt and use of millions of dollars in “investor” funds. Excusing the debtor from attending the meeting of creditors and the Rule 2004 examination at the Courthouse is agreeable. However, the debtor should have to appear in some form, telephonic or one-on-one, to answer questions related to his assets and liabilities."