It has been widely reported that Jane Sanders, wife of Bernie Sanders, is currently being investigated by the Department of Justice. This is a case, in which, millions of dollars seemingly disappeared from a real estate deal which would see Burlington College, of which Sanders was President, expand onto 32 acres of pristine lakefront land. The question being asked by investigators is whether Jane Sanders knows what happened to the money? Were their accomplices? Was there fraud committed by any parties during the loan process? This report attempts to connect the dots and follow the money.
On May 2, 2017, VPR (Vermont’s NPR Service) reported the following:
“The FBI is investigating a 2010 real estate deal that Jane O’Meara Sanders orchestrated as president of Burlington College, according to two former Burlington College officials.”
“The college closed in May 2016 when People’s United Bank refused to renew its line of credit, College President Carol Moore said when she announced the closure.”
“The college’s financial downfall began years earlier, according to Moore’s assessment in the Chronicle of Higher Education. She wrote in August 2016 that Sanders’ time as college president, from 2004 through 2011, was the beginning of the end for the small alternative college. Sanders – who is married to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders – oversaw the college’s 2010 purchase of a new North Avenue headquarters building.”
On May 18, 2017, CBS News reported:
“Sanders served as the college’s president from 2004 and 2011 and pushed to buy 32 acres of lakefront land for about $10 million.”
“In the school’s statement Monday, the college pointed to the debt from the expansion as the reason for the school’s decision to close, but Holm and the current president declined to comment Monday on whether Sanders’ plan was to blame, the Burlington Free Press reported. At the same time, Holm suggested the expansion plan wouldn’t work.”
“I believe the vision was enrollment would grow, which it did, but not at the level that would have allowed us to manage the financial debt we had incurred,” Holm said. “So here we are.”
It was at this point, it seems that the FBI got involved. The FBI, typically, starts an investigation when there is already evidence that a crime has been committed. They are usually looking for evidence of criminal intent on the part of suspects and to identify whether there was a conspiracy involved and who the participants of that conspiracy are.
In the case of the Burlington College investigation, it is possible that the crimes of fraud, filing false information on a loan application could have been committed. It also stands to reason that money laundering could be added to the list of charges if any of the others are proven. The fact that Jane Sanders walked away from the deal with a severance package of more than $200,000 could also be a criminal event if the money was part of a criminal conspiracy that Sanders was a part of. The official explanation for the closing of the college was a dramatic decrease in donations and enrollment at the school.
According to Seven Days, a grand jury has been impaneled to get to the bottom of this case. They are investigating how the default on the bank loan cost the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington between $1.6 Million and $2 Million dollars. The Diocese was the original owner of the land. Investigators are specifically interested in whether Sanders lied on the application to the bank which secured the funding. Ron Leavitt, a donor to the school, told investigators that he pledged $30,000 to the school, not two donations of $30,00o which Sanders stated in the loan application. Sanders further stated in the application that a pledge of $1 million dollars was signed by Corinne Bove Maietta, which Maietta claims is patently false.
Investigators from Halsey News have analyzed the data contained in these reports and have found that, if proven, Jane O’Meara Sanders could be facing indictments for:
LOAN FRAUD/FALSE STATEMENTS
TAX / IRS FRAUD
AVOIDING A REPORTING REQUIREMENT
Additionally, if a conspiracy can be proven, and was perpetrated intentionally, all parties involved could be prosecuted by the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act). Passed in 1970, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) is a federal law designed to combat organized crime in the United States. It allows prosecution and civil penalties for racketeering activity performed as part of an ongoing criminal enterprise. Such activity may include illegal gambling, bribery, kidnapping, murder, money laundering, counterfeiting, embezzlement, drug trafficking, slavery, and a host of other unsavory business practices.
The next question to answer is who, if any, are the coconspirators in the case? Halsey News has comprised a list of possible participants and conducted thorough investigations into public information known about them.
Who are the possible co-conspirators?
BRET H SEGLEM
Bret Seglem has a criminal record, previously being charged with:
Dec 24, 2013 – Theft of an Automobile– Seglem said another man “made” him do it.
April 23, 2013- DUI and Related Charges – “Bret Seglem, 26, of Paradise in Lancaster County at Route 30 Westbound in Caln on April 23 around 2:30 p.m. Police said they responded to the report of an erratic driver on the Route 30 Bypass. Police found the described vehicle in the Parkesburg Wawa parking lot in West Sadsbury. After investigating, police charged Seglem with DUI and related charges.”
▪ June 2, 2015 – Criminal Mischeif- According to the Troy (NY) news, “Criminal mischief: Bret H. Seglem, 26, a homeless man, was arrested and charged with second-degree criminal mischief and as a fugitive from justice.”
Seglem was suspected in connection with a Burglary involving Burlington College. The burglary itself is filled with strange circumstances which are not limited to but include:
▪ Burlington police officers stated, in an affidavit. That there was no sign of forced entry and the door was likely left unlocked
▪ The perpetrator seemed to have known the location of the college’s main computer servers.
▪ The perpetrator knew where the keys to a work van on campus were located. A college representative told police that “several things were odd about the burglary,” the records say. “She stated she felt like an individual would have to know the keys to the van were kept in her office in order to locate the keys.”
▪ Affidavits state “Someone had disabled the specific camera cables for the back entrance and the parking lot video feed.” Which is where the crimes were committed and the perpetrator planned on escaping.
▪ “School officials told police that documents belonging to Israeli students were stolen, too. Warren said that no such documents were recovered from the van.”
▪ A number of interior doors were forced open during the burglary, and offices on all three floors were vandalized.
▪ Some computers and other electronics were destroyed, and “water had been poured on some of the computer servers,” according to the affidavit.
▪ The computers were found inside the van, which had been crashed, along with some Burlington College banners but the server was not recovered, according to police documents.
“In an interview, del Pozo said that the Chittenden County State’s Attorney’s Office twice declined to prosecute Seglem for the alleged burglary, citing a lack of evidence.” “Reached in New Jersey, Seglem’s mother, Joanne Seglem, told Seven Days that her son is a drug addict who has struggled for years. She declined to discuss the case. Brett Seglem could not be located for comment. An associate of Seglem’s told police that he had been squatting last summer in an unused college building in the Burlington area, according to the affidavit.”
As of this writing, no charges were filed against Seglem in the Burlington College case.
There is ample evidence that Seglem is not Homeless and that his actions may have been disguised. Additionally, Bret’s father is the acting executive director at the New Jersey Commission of Investigation. His father was not quoted in any interviews or requests for information.
The following are readily available to the public, and show a very active online life for a man police claimed was homeless and addicted to drugs.
- Bret’s Tumblr gallery – http://bseglem-blog-blog.tumblr.com
- ZoomInfo entry shows he’s a Marketing Director – http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Bret-Seglem/-1771613612
- His SoundButt entry http://www.getlinksoundbutt.com/bret-seglem
- Holaconnect profile: https://holaconnect.com/profile/bret-seglem-email-phone-e4d4a6e5
- He has an IMDB page: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6548217
- He has a CouchSurfing profile: https://www.couchsurfing.com/people/bret-seglem
- On a “CodeForAmerica” hacktivist page, he leaves his full name in a comment: “you call your selfs devs.. yet i have to log in to to fb to post, no open id or google plus …smh…”-Bret SeglemFeb 20, 10:29 AM
A search of his name in the White Pages turns up several addresses including:
Bret H Seglem
Lives in Princeton, NJ
Used to live in Philadelphia PA, Yardley PA
Lives in Washington Boro, PA
Used to live in Washington Boro, PA
While Jane was president at the college, her CFO (Chief Financial Officer) was Christine Plunkett – she’s been implicated as part of this circle. Financial problems occurred while she was CFO. So much so that the student union got together and insisted she resign.
▪ “NEASC put the college on two years’ probation because of financial concerns and stipulated that the college make detailed periodic reports.”
⁃ The student group was “continuing to voice a demand for Plunkett’s removal.”
⁃ “The students countered that they had requested a meeting with the board but had been barred from the meeting. The encounter with Plunkett was intense but not physical, said Molly Skerry, one of the student leaders, rejecting a suggestion that students had bullied Plunkett.” “We stand by our action,” she said.
⁃ “About 30 students and several faculty marched 1.3 miles up North Avenue, chanting and carrying signs, to the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, where the college board of trustees and Plunkett had met to revise the school’s budget.”
⁃ “And the school has been plagued by financial problems. Recently, Burlington College failed to deposit payments to employees’ retirement funds, used restricted scholarship money to pay for operating costs and an outside audit questioned whether the college can continue to operate.”
⁃ “During her tenure, the administration has monitored emails to the board of trustees and threatened employees who speak to the media, sources said. In two years, 11 of the 14 people she hired when she started have quit, as well as others who started before or after Plunkett transitioned from finance director to president in 2012.”
⁃ “Plunkett has an MBA in finance, and says she helped develop the precursor to the Excel spreadsheet and attended leadership training on how to run a college.” – so why aren’t internal controls in place?!
⁃ “Because the school has not filed an annual financial statement with the IRS since 2011” – so again, a woman with a Master’s in Finance should know about financial filings.
⁃ “Former staff said Plunkett and Sanders worked closely as they prepared documentation to apply for a loan to purchase the 32-acre Roman Catholic diocese property on North Avenue in 2010 but a rift arose between them soon after the school moved into the new building and Plunkett sought staff help to oust Sanders, whose leadership style staff and faculty had also criticized.”
⁃ “As Plunkett exited the building after the meeting at about 11 a.m., students demanded to speak with her and the board and insisted that she resign. Plunkett pushed past and got into her blue Subaru in the parking lot. When students surrounded the SUV and refused to budge, Plunkett said “OK, I resign. Happy? Goodbye.”
Even some faculty joined in the march!
Coralee Holm is the college’s former Dean of Operations and Advancement. The FBI subpoenaed the institution a year earlier, in February 2016, and interviewed Holm on campus at least four times over the next several months. She says she was “unsuccessful in locating documentation of the gifts and pledges” regarding the school loan fraud – when asked by the FBI to provide them. However, she did turn over Sanders’ and Plunkett’s emails.
So Jane Sanders and everybody close to Jane Sanders is under Federal investigation by the FBI and DOJ, sounds quite similar to Hillary Clinton’s situation. And why, if Bernie Sanders’ WIFE is under Federal investigation, was Bernie allowed to run for President?
Regarding the financial viability of U.S. colleges, this report should tell you where there are financial improprieties U.S. Department of Education’s “heightened cash monitoring list.” Colleges can be placed on the list for a variety of reasons, including late financial statements, outstanding liabilities and accreditation issues.
This is Part 1 of a series of investigative reports on Jane Sanders that Halsey News is conducting with former fraud investigator Alex Laws. Part 2 will include a deeper look at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington as well as more information on suspicious activity and traveling of the allegedly homeless burglar Bret Seglem.