Ronald Munkeboe Defense Attorney arrested for DUI – hum…funny how folks tend to get caught for what they are know for!

July 10, 2011

So we’re clear…it is not my intention to make fun of or find joy in anothers plight.  Yet, this article shows something that, if you look closely, is a trend when it comes to negative choices and their painful consequences.  Perhaps a psychologist would call it human nature…or perhaps there is another description for it, but more times than not, the negative choices that we make in life tend to revolve around the positive things we naturally do.

Think about it…Bernie Madoff was a brilliant investor and yet his negative choices centered around a Ponzi scheme or his financial work.  John Edwards indiscretions centered around his campaign.  My choices were focused around theft and failure to pay taxes on stolen money, and I was a CPA.  So, it’s no surprise that a DUI attorney would find his legal challenges related to – A DUI!

Here’s the report:

A Nashville DUI attorney was arrested late Tuesday night after nearly running over a Metro police officer as he sped out of a Bellevue gas station.

According to the police affidavit, Officer Mary Taylor saw Ronald Munkeboe pull into the Shell station at the corner of Charlotte Pike and Old Hickory Boulevard and watched as he picked up a tall can of beer from his console and took a sip.

Taylor reported Munkeboe was unsteady on his feet as he walked into the convenience store and she confronted him when he returned to his vehicle.

After identifying herself as a Metro officer, Munkeboe asked her if she was on duty, according to the affidavit.

After Taylor replied yes, and asked him to step out of his car, Munkeboe replied, “I’m alright”, put his vehicle in reverse and sped out of the parking lot.

Officer Taylor was nearly struck in the process.

Munkeboe, 45, was tracked to his home on nearby Wheatfield Court.  He admitted to drinking six or seven beers and was arrested.

He was booked into the Metro jail on charges of DUI and aggravated assault of an officer, among other charges.

Munkeboe graduated from the Nashville School of Law in 1999 and serves as a criminal defense attorney in Nashville with the firm Middle Tennessee Law, according to his Web site.

What are your thoughts?  Do you know Ronald Munkeboe?  Is this just a simple mistake on Munkeboe’s part or a pattern of behavior?  Wouldn’t it have been easier to submit to the officer rather than almost run over him?  After the consequences of his actions becomes clear, don’t you think Munkeboe will have a hard time in the court room defending DUI clients since law enforcement officials likely won’t forget his encounter with one of their own?

Information on his background is here:


Brenda Keefer and Willow Mist Professional Speaker Services – Business Ethics gone South or just a plain ole Scam?

September 28, 2010

I recall my uncle one time telling me as we were sitting in a boat fishing, “Son, sometimes you just have to call them as you see them.”  I honestly don’t recall what we were talking about and frankly, at the time, I don’t recall connecting with the true meaning of his words.  But today they ring true…  Sometimes you just have to call them as you see them.

Let me be clear to those who read… as an Ethics speaker and Fraud Prevention Expert, I often hear of circumstances – perhaps questionable in nature – and, from time to time, find it helpful to research further.  Rarely do I find that I have personal experience with the firm or organization.  In the case of Willow Mist and Brenda Keefer – unfortunately I do and it appears that I’m not the only one.

On November 6, 2008, I received an email from Brenda Keefer – apparent owner and operator of Willow Mist Professional Services welcoming me to her fold.  Her initial pitch was that she (through her firm) offered speakers (Motivational speakers, etc.) direct marketing services thereby helping those she represents increase their bookings.  For those services, speakers (such as myself) or perhaps (in retrospect) I should label myself as a “sucker” – would pay her a nominal fee up front and she would take us on as clients representing that she had limited clients (unlike traditional speakers bureaus).

Now, as a good ole boy from the South, recognizing that she was just over the NC border in Tennessee, I thought “surely she was straight up” and frankly, I thought to myself, “if I am scammed the amount won’t break me.”


After the payment was received by Brenda Keefer – NOTHING HAPPENED.  I mean I got no calls, no indication that I was being marketed, NOTHING.  I followed up with several emails but (as one might expect) NO RESPONSE.  In fact, I called and finally got Brenda on the phone.  She seemed confused about who I was and our relationship (I guess that’s obvious as we had no relationship other than her taking my money).  When confronted about my payment she said she’d have to look into it, at which time I provided her information about my canceled check.


I am not writing this because of my experience.  To me that would be unfair and perhaps bring my ethics into question.  Rather, let’s look at the facts and then perhaps the light of truth will shine brightly on Willow Mist and Brenda Keefer.

For those who follow my blog you certainly know that I have a sordid past.  For those that don’t here it is in a simple clear format:

  1. In the mid ’80’s I was a CPA who (being really dumb) effected a Ponzi scheme
  2. In 1990 that fraud or scam that I created came crashing down and I lost everything
  3. In 1991 I made restitution to those I defrauded (not that that makes right my wrong – it does not)
  4. In 1995 I was sentenced to Federal Prison and on October 2, 1995 I took 23 steps in to Federal Prison
  5. Upon release I started life over and in 2006 was a Sr. VP of Sales and Marketing for a public company
  6. Today I am the Chief Operating Officer for a private national company and a professional public speaker sharing insight into ethical behavior and fraud prevention.

I feel that sharing my past helps those who read know who I am and where I am coming from.  That said, when I talked with Brenda Keefer with Willow Mist I found out that she and I have something in common.  We are both CONVICTED FELONS (nothing by the way that I’m proud of – but our past is our past).

When I shared my background with Brenda she was willing then to share her’s with me.  According to her, I was an example of how someone with a “sorted past” can make different choices and turn their lives around.   Frankly, I did agree.  I think from that conversation I found a level of trust that now, in retrospect, was unfounded.

Some people learn nothing from past experiences and it would seem, in this case, that Brenda may be challenged with dealing with ghosts from the past in her present day dealings in business.  And, that give all folks, who may have made bad past choices – a bad name.


But, as I said, this isn’t about me.  Several weeks ago in the email blast – SpeakerNetNews I spotted something submitted from another speaker – asking about Brenda Keefer and Willow Mist Professional Services.  Since it had been almost two year, frankly I had put Brenda and Willow Mist out of my mind.  But the question jogged my memory and brought me back to my experience with Willow Mist.  I emailed and asked what the issue(s) were and was told that it related to payments not paid from Willow Mist to speakers and payments to Willow Mist for services not delivered.  More importantly, I was told that the response from the inquiry regarding Brenda Keefer and Willow Mist was somewhat overwhelming.


Is the operation of Willow Mist Professional Services with Brenda Keefer at the helm a SCAM?  Is it that Brenda is INCAPABLE of providing what she promises?  Have lessons from past unethical and illegal actions been learned or is this nothing more than a repeat of past prior performances?

I don’t know the answers to these questions.  What I do know is this – if one takes money from another and promises to perform services and then fails to perform – even in the face of repeated questions and requests for performance – there is a good chance that doing business with such a firm is not only UNWISE, but from outward appearances it would appear that UNETHICAL ACTIONS or a SCAM is being perpetrated.

As a final note, it appears that Brenda Keefer worked for ISN Works doing essentially the same service for them before setting up here own business in the same town.  From what I understand, she is not connected with ISN Works and perhaps her departure uncovered similar actions (unethical) that has left ISN Works with a mess to clean up.


P.S.  Here’s a link that just adds fuel to the fire.

Ovid Timothy Hughes Gets Prison Sentence – Former Employee Steals From Company!

May 19, 2008

As a business ethics speaker, it is interesting to observe how many people believe that theft from their company is somehow O.K.! What’s even more interesting is the fact that, in most cases, they don’t think they’ll be caught.

It takes three things to create a fraud: (1) need; (2) opportunity and (3) rationalization. Seems that Ovid Timothy Hughes fell into the trap of theft for which there is always a consequence.

Ovid Timothy Hughes of Madison, Tennessee was sentenced to 12 months and a day in prison for committing mail fraud. (By the way, wire and mail fraud seem to be the issues that the government uses today to gain an easy conviction)

Hughes previously worked for a well-known computer company. Shortly after the company terminated his employment, Defendant came to possess certain account and credit-card information of the company’s customers. From November 2006 to September 2007, Defendant fraudulently used that account and credit-card information to purchase thousands of dollars worth of computer equipment and other items for his personal benefit. Defendant committed his crime by posing, over the internet and in e-mails, as a representative of the companies whose account information he obtained. He would then order merchandise and have it shipped to his apartment, but have the bill for that merchandise sent to the company’s real address with the intent that the company would pay the charges without realizing the fraud.

Hughes scheme was extensive: During an 11-month period, Defendant used at least nine different account or credit-card numbers, to place over 70 different orders, with approximately ten different merchants. In addition to computers, Defendant also ordered various types of high-end electronic equipment and designer clothing. To conceal his fraud, he assumed several different false identities, created e-mail accounts in the names of those false identities, and made up several fictional scenarios to make his orders appear legitimate when he communicated with merchants’ sales representatives. Ultimately, Defendant caused or attempted to cause over $78,000 in loss, an amount later offset by the approximately $25,000 worth of computer equipment that U.S. Secret Service agents were able to recover at Defendant’s apartment at the time of his arrest.

Judge Trauger found the length and extent of Defendant’s fraudulent conduct to merit a 12-month prison sentence. Defendant was also ordered to pay over $29,000 in restitution to the victims for the merchandise not recovered and to remain on supervised release for three years following his release from prison. As noted by the Court, Defendant’s conduct occurred over nearly a year’s time, involved several very intentional steps on his part, and compromised “inside” information of his former employer. Accordingly, the Court determined that a significant prison sentence was necessary to reflect the seriousness of the offense.

“So-called ‘white-collar’ crimes are just that – crimes. And the U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to aggressively prosecuting such crimes whenever and wherever they occur in the Middle District of Tennessee,” said U.S. Attorney Edward Yarbrough. “This case is yet another example of how criminals use the anonymity of the internet and e-mail, along with false identities and deception, to commit frauds. But it also demonstrates the hard work and skill of the federal agents who combat those frauds. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to fully support the law-enforcement agents and agencies who help protect innocent fraud victims and bring those who target them to justice.”

Every choice has a consequence. While Hughes will find that the cost of the choices he made is far greater than the short term benefit he received, the “un-named computer company” will likely change their internal controls so that it will be more difficult to gain sensitive information.

White collar and business ethics speaker, Chuck Gallagher, signing off…

Tax Evasion – Tennessee Business Owner Thoeun Chan Pleads Guilty – Comments by Business Ethics Speaker Chuck Gallagher

March 11, 2008

How often I remember in my days as tax partner in a CPA firm, people saying that “as long as it’s cash, you can’t get caught.” They were inferring that they could avoid tax by just not reporting cash as income.

True…cash is harder to track, but most people don’t seem to connect the dots – every choice has a consequence and you do reap what you sow. Thoeun Chan, age 52, of Germantown, Tennessee recently faced those two truths as he plead guilty to tax evasion for failure to report cash as income on his tax returns.

According to the news release by the US Attorney’s office: Chan, owner and operator of Handiworks Jewelry and Winchester Pawn and Jewelry in Memphis , admitted that he failed to report approximately $274,875 in income for 2001 and approximately $277,277 in income for 2002. These false returns resulted in a tax loss to the United States of approximately $207,142.30.

It was stated at the hearing that Chan utilized an accountant to prepare his tax returns; however, he failed to provide the accountant with a large amount of the business revenues, namely cash receipts. On his 2001 return, Chan reported $0 taxable income for 2001 and only $40,524 in taxable income for 2002. During this time Chan enjoyed a lifestyle inconsistent with these reported levels of income and he acquired assets without a proportionate increase in liabilities. Evidence revealed during the plea hearing showed that Chan had approximately $312,000 in out of pocket expenditures in 2001 and approximately $604,000 in out of pocket expenditures in 2002.

The fallacy in Chan’s little scheme is spending patterns, lifestyle and income. Notice (this is real simple stuff), the IRS looked at Chan’s lifestyle his income and his debt. Now, if Chan had been increasing his debt and living off of debt, the scheme might have run a bit longer. However, I routinely say, every choice has a consequence – and Chan soon will face the consequence of his action which could result in 5 years in federal prison.

So there is no misunderstanding, I know what Chan is facing as I, too, spent time in federal prison for a tax crime. I am sympathetic to Chan’s plight, and understand that soon he will learn that the momentary gain does not equal the cost he will be required to pay.

As a result of my past deeds, I, today, speak to groups nationwide about Choices and Consequences. Do your employees make the best choices for your company—or for themselves? Are you ready for some straight talk about success, choices, and ethics from a business executive who lost it all…and gained more than he could ever imagine?
In an unusually vulnerable style, Chuck Gallagher explores the decisions we make through the veil of honesty, integrity, and ethics. Your audience will be touched by his personal stories and poignant lessons.

For information about my presentations, visit my website –

Tax Fraud – Memphis Residents Indicted by A Federal Grand Jury! Comments by Business Ethics Speaker Chuck Gallagher

February 11, 2008

Many advocate Tax Avoidance, but the creation of fake documents is Fraud – Pure and Simple!

Sherry Hobson, age 43 and Betty Sisson, likewise age 43, were indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiracy to file false claims and filing false claims against the government.

Hobson was charged with one count of conspiracy to file false claims against the United States and 18 counts of filing false claims against the government. Sisson was charged with one count of conspiracy to file false claims against the United States, nine counts of filing false claims against the government, and once count of filing a false 2004 federal income tax return.

Seems that both decided they would defraud the government by obtaining false refunds by filing or causing to be filed false federal income tax returns. The fraudulent tax returns contained fake wages and withholding amounts, thus generating tax refunds that were not due.

According to the US Attorney’s office news release:

The returns named in the indictment pertain to 2003 and 2004 federal tax returns for Sisson and other individuals. The fraudulent returns claimed refunds totaling $81,851.00.

Additionally, Sisson was charged with filing a false 2004 individual income tax return in her name that represented her adjusted gross income to be $15,132.00, when she knew that her adjusted gross income was substantially greater.

Unlike the Wesley Snipes trial, Hobson and Sisson – both who pled not guilty – are charged with something specific unlike Snipes who was charged with not filing and conspiracy. While they are innocent until proven guilty, my guess is that the government has specific documentation showing the creation of fraudulent documents and a guilty verdict will follow.

As a business ethics speaker, ( I understand that Every choice has a consequence. Speaking to groups at the Truth About Consequences, I understand that you reap what you sow. If, in fact, these two did create false tax returns, they will likely face time in federal prison.

This case will be followed. Meanwhile, if you have comments…they are welcome.

Tax Fraud Avoidance! Need, Opportunity and Rationalization – IRS Eliminates the Possibility.

February 11, 2008

In order to commit a fraud there generally needs to be three things: Need – Opportunity and Rationalization. Well, the Department of Justice has taken the offense when it comes to tax fraud – and I applaud their efforts.

With the publicity surrounding the Wesley Snipes tax trial – national attention, once again, focused on tax avoidance vs. tax fraud. While Snipes was not convicted of fraud others who were tried were. The ones convicted were the tax advisors – the tax preparers.

Avoiding Fraud: On the offense – the Department of Justice is using injunctions to stop individuals from preparing what they suspect would be fraudulent returns. As reported from the White Collar Crime Blog – more than 305 tax preparers and tax-fraud promoters have been barred from tax return preparation.

Some Recent Examples:

Tennessee: A federal court today has permanently barred Montrice McGhee of Memphis, Tenn., from preparing federal income tax returns for others. Chief Judge Jon Phipps McCalla of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee issued the permanent injunction order against McGhee, who, according to papers filed in the case, prepared returns using the business name Blessed Professional Tax Service, Inc. McGhee consented to the court order.

The government complaint in the case alleged that McGhee repeatedly engaged in fraudulent conduct by understating her customers’ federal income tax liabilities. The complaint alleged that McGhee told customers that she specialized in return preparation for ministers and other clergy members, as well as anyone involved in church activities. According to the complaint, the Internal Revenue Service estimates the harm from McGhee’s misconduct for tax years 2001 through 2004 exceeds $1 million.

Texas: The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas has barred Thell G. Prueitt of Kingsland, Texas, from preparing federal tax returns for others and from promoting various tax fraud schemes, the Justice Department announced today. The court found that Prueitt promoted his schemes through several companies and organizations he operates, including Grandview Prayer and Healing Retreat Center, Fresh Start Funding Group, Fresh Start Funding Group Taxpayer Education Association and Thell G. Prueitt & Friends.

The court found that Prueitt promoted a home-based business tax scheme, falsely advising customers they could claim tax deductions for non-deductible personal expenses, and claiming fraudulent deductions on tax returns he prepared. The court also found that he promoted an ATM and pay phone tax scam, falsely advising customers that they could claim tax credits and deductions based on artificially inflated purchase prices.

The court order requires Prueitt to notify his customers of the injunction and to give the Justice Department a list of his customers’ names, addresses, phone numbers and Social Security numbers.

North Carolina: A federal court in Charlotte, N.C., entered a preliminary injunction against Kodjovi Raphael Totou, a Charlotte-based tax preparer who operates Queen City Tax Services, the Justice Department announced today.

The order bars Totou from preparing or filing federal income tax returns for anyone other than himself. It is effective immediately and will remain in effect through Aug. 15, 2008.

The government complaint in the civil case alleges that Totou has claimed fraudulent fuel tax credits on customers’ returns and fabricates or inflates tax deductions.

According to the government’s complaint, Totou prepared more than 450 federal income tax returns for clients, many of whom are from Togo and have limited English-language ability. The complaint further alleges that in 2003, Totou claimed the federal fuel tax credit for all of his customers. The complaint alleged that none of his clients qualified for the tax credit as their businesses or purported businesses do not involve off-highway use of gasoline.

As a business ethics and white collar crime speaker ( it is clear that the DOJ has taken the offensive. When the “opportunity” is removed, it is hard to commit the crime. Stopping criminal conduct before it occurs, likewise, the use of a civil remedy to avoid criminality is also positive.  KUDO’s to the Department of Justice and IRS!


MacLafferty Convicted – Sentenced For Failure to File Tax Returns! Evidence of What’s to Come for Wesley Snipes?

February 3, 2008

Robert M. MacLafferty, age 46, of Portland, Tennessee was sentenced January 29th to serve 5 months in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release. His sentence also included the requirement to pay restitution to the IRS of $37 plus thousand.

According to the US Attorney’s news release:

MacLafferty pled guilty on October 12, 2007, to five counts of income tax evasion. During his plea hearing, MacLafferty admitted that he earned income which required him to file federal income tax returns for years 1996 through 2003, however, he failed to file such a return in each of those years. MacLafferty also admitted that he had adjusted gross income totaling $227,993 from 2000 to 2003. During this period of time, MacLafferty provided false documents to his employer claiming he was not a citizen of the United States and therefore not liable to pay federal income taxes. MacLafferty also admitted that after the Internal Revenue Service filed a federal tax lien against his residence in Sumner County, he quitclaimed his interest in this property and another property to his wife.

Similarities? Let’s see – Snipes claimed that he was not a citizen of the US and not liable to pay federal income taxes. Likewise, Snipes filed to file tax returns for a number of years during which he had approximately $37 million in earnings.


Possible Outcome! Snipes, due to “star power” avoids prison and makes right with the IRS and federal government. Or, Snipes gets a “hand slap” prison sentence like MacLafferty and is told to pay up for his misdeeds.

Since it will take time to see what the outcome is…want to weigh in with your thoughts.

Prison (light sentence) or freedom – which will the judge order?

Business ethics speaker, Chuck Gallagher, off for now…

Mortgage Fraud – From NY to Texas to Tennessee – Business Ethics Speaker Chuck Gallagher Reviews the Week

December 9, 2007

It’s all over…every where you turn, mortgage fraud and other fraudulent schemes seem to be uncovered. Let’s look at a few of the cases that caught my attention in this week in review.


In a Manhattan federal court six individuals were charged with a “home foreclosure rescue” scheme which defrauded homeowners of their homes and lenders of millions of dollars in bad loans.

“The defendants charged today perpetrated a multimillion dollar fraud in which they profited by preying on the most vulnerable of homeowners,” said United States Attorney Michael J. Garcia. “While promising rescue from foreclosure, they instead stole their victims’ homes and millions of dollars in loans secured by their victims’ properties.”

“This case is yet another example of the pervasive fraud we have found in the mortgage industry,” said Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. “My office investigated the scheme charged in this case in response to complaints from individuals who had been victimized and lost their homes. I applaud U.S. Attorney Garcia and his prosecution team for their excellent work and look forward to more productive partnerships with the Southern District of New York.”

“The rise in mortgage defaults associated with sub-prime mortgage lending has created a target-rich environment for so-called foreclosure rescue schemes,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Mark J. Mershon. “We will continue to root out the predatory practices of those who would victimize distressed homeowners and unwitting lenders for a fast and easy (and illegal) buck.”

Same week, we find in Houston, TX – 37 individuals charged with mortgage fraud.

According to the Associated Press:

The charges, contained in indictments unsealed Thursday, follow a yearslong investigation by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Secret Service. Police said 12 of the suspects have been jailed.

The scheme involved players including buyers, mortgage brokers and construction company owners. It’s similar to other scams uncovered in Harris County recently, said Lester Blizzard, assistant district attorney.

Then in Tennessee a woman pleads guilty to a fraud scheme where she provided fraudulent data to obtain a mortgage loan. Her guilty plea relates to bankruptcy fraud, money laundering, fraudulent use of a social security number, and identity theft.

According to the mortgage fraud blog:

At the plea hearing House admitted to providing false and fictitious statements and information to obtain mortgage loan financing to purchase 523 Tribal Land Cove, Collierville, Tennessee in 2001. The fraudulent items included a false social security number, fictitious employment income, and omitted a bankruptcy declaration. House admitted to filing a bankruptcy petition in 2003, to maintain possession of the Tribal Land Cove property and to conceal the scheme. House also admitted to providing false and fictitious statements and information to obtain mortgage loans to finance the purchase of 664 Ridge Springs, Collierville, Tennessee in 2005; and, to engaging in financial transactions with the proceeds obtained through that scheme.

The three components of most any fraud are: (1) need; (2) opportunity and (3) rationalization. As a business ethics speaker I know first hand the components and the consequences of an ethics violation.

In all three of the cased listed above there are several common threads. First, at least in two of the cases, greed and misdirection allowed “straw purchasers” to facilitate the fraud. These people, who have now had their credit ruined, likely sought better than average returns and fell prey to bogus fraudulent presentations. The “unsuspecting” participant (victim) felt they had a need and this “investment” provided an opportunity. Higher than average returns justified the risk (their rationalization).

Opportunity comes in many forms. It appears that, in the rush for increased business, lenders were less than vigilant about documentation. Perhaps internal controls weren’t there or perhaps they weren’t wanted – as often internal controls are perceived as anti-sales and anti-growth. Yet, lack of proper controls create the environment for “opportunity” and thereby aid in the advancement of the fraud.

From coast to coast as I speak to groups on business ethics, I find that simple procedures and processes could have prevented most frauds or at least not allowed them to go undetected.

As we are seemingly in the throws of a housing slow down or “recession” many say – it was predictable. Regardless of industry, when things are operating at a frenzied pace and money (lending in this case) seems easy – maybe even too good to be true – one can expect problems. Mortgage fraud isn’t new, but in the environment we have just passed through, I think we’ll see more of this for some time to come.

If you’d like to receive my free ethics ezine, feel free to sign up at

Comments are welcome!