Ed and Aida Hanson
By Joseph Snook
VANCOUVER, WA – 72 year old Ed Hanson and his wife Aida, an elderly couple residing in Vancouver, WA have been left with almost nothing to their name as they have become one of the many victims of “career criminal” Gary Holmes,( aka Gary Douglas Holmes) currently a resident of Southern Oregon.
Ed Hanson contacted the US~Observer to tell his horrifying story of how Gary Holmes, a self proclaimed financial investment expert doing “Gods” work has cost him and his family nearly everything material. Holmes scam, “Castle Builders Ministry,” purported to pay off mortgages, credit card debt and financed vehicles. Holmes promised to accomplish this by placing the money he received from trusting people like Ed and Aida into an investment program that compounded interest. This is the exact lie that Holmes has been using for years to bilk the elderly out of their life savings. The US~Observer has been following Holmes for over three years and you can view our previous articles at www.usobserver.com and search for “lariat”.
Holmes formerly operated a business called the “Lariat Group” with Robert Chamberlain and Butch McIntyre. Holmes’ Lariat Group used nearly the same deceptions and lies to steal the elderly’s money as did Castle Builders Ministry, the fraudulent business that Ed and Aida Hanson fell prey to. Holmes has secured a new crew of partners to aid him in his criminal undertakings – Eddie Salas of El Paso, Texas (Sales), Elley Maillet of Jacksonville, Florida (Sales), Jay Dikkers of Grants Pass, Oregon (Trustee), Richard Holman of Grants Pass, Oregon (Trustee) Stella (Unknown motivational e-mailer) and his alleged common law wife Deborah Eldridge (who notarizes his fraudulent documents), have all contributed to his schemes. These people appear to be the main players of the Castle Builders Ministry scam, which is reportedly now called “Financial Hope”.
How the scam works
Holmes and his team of crooks prey on anyone (preferably elderly) through websites, organizations, churches, or any other means possible. Once they get these people’s attention, they start using swift sales skills and “God” as a motivator. They rake in their pot of gold by promising them that they can pay off their mortgage in as little as two years if their new client invests around 30-40k into a high return investment program. Holmes uses some of his new investor’s money to pay his clients mortgage payments just long enough for this new client to spread the news about this seemingly wonderful program, allowing Holmes to suck in many more referrals. The waiting game then starts, which consists of motivational emails using religion as a means to tide everyone over long enough for Holmes to steal as much money as possible and for him to plan his escape. Even after clients get upset, Holmes uses confidentiality agreements and the fact that if they get authorities involved that no one will get their return, which causes most to stop dead in their tracks. By the time someone contacts authorities, the Holmes crew has already moved on to another group, another program, another scam.
The latest group of reported victim’s, come in part through a group named WASA (Wealth And Success Association) which is comprised of people who are strong in their faith and generally retired or in search of a better standard of living. Gary Holmes was introduced to this group by Jerry Smith and Daniel Meyerhoffer, who is, or was part of WASA. From that point on, Holmes used the “word of god” and his clever tongue to spread his scam like the bubonic plague. Holmes has taken WASA’s members for a ride that they will never forget. Some of the people who were deprived of thousands of dollars are no longer alive to tell their story and some say that the deceitful work of the self proclaimed “Righteous Servant” Gary Holmes, could have had much to do with their deaths. One member has had seven heart operations. His doctor says this is due to severe stress. One can only assume that it’s not because his home is paid in full, as promised by Holmes. On January 22, 2009, WASA President Justin Tallman wrote a letter to W
ASA members in regards to their written demand to Holmes for the return of their investments. Tallman strongly urged them to re-consider their attempts to go after Holmes as Tallman felt they should continue to wait, instead of getting authorities involved and possibly losing everything. This letter may have given Holmes just the amount of time needed to further distance himself from the very people he had stolen from.
Answers to the Victims’ Request
Previously, our government had turned a blind eye to Gary Holmes when the US~Observer exposed this corrupt scam years ago, which has allowed Holmes to remain free to go about business as usual, until now. With recent pressure put on the authorities and The US~Observer’s involvement, Holmes is finally under the “Spotlight” by the US Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigations. There was a case number issued in late February which should help those who are hesitant to come forward, more eager to voice their case. Although Holmes is currently involved in another program which is called “Financial Hope”, which can be viewed at www.financialhope.com and is part of Crown Financial Ministries, his days are seemingly numbered. While visiting Holmes’ website I was beside myself to see that this worthless crook is now offering to get people out of foreclosure by taking their money with no guarantees for saving their home.
Since the 148k loss for the Hanson family, Ed Hanson recently had to undergo surgery, having a stint inserted last month to keep his heart operating properly and he would greatly appreciate seeing justice served. It is only through continuous information provided by victims of these scams that people like Gary Holmes can finally be held accountable. Although some may never see a dime of what they have lost, the US~Observer strongly urges the victims of Castle Builders Ministry, Financial Hope and Gary Holmes to do what is right and sound their voice so that others won’t have to go through what so many already have. Please contact the US~Observer at 541-474-7885 with any information you have, and remember how you felt when you last read Holmes’ factually hypocritical statement, “In His Service,” because there are others out there getting sucked in as I type this article. The US~Observer understands what some have had to go through and will continue to track down Holmes until he gets what he deserves – bottom bunk in Madoff’s jail cell.