M. David Howell's Debts May Total $60 Million

by Gwen Moritz  on Monday, Mar. 31, 2014 12:00 am  

Howell failed a field sobriety test and blew 0.12 on a breathalyzer, so he was arrested and charged with DWI and careless driving. The friend he called to come and take him home, according to the Maumelle Police Department’s release sheet, was Sam Vogel.

Since Then ...

2014: As audacious as it seemed when this story was published, the $60 million estimate on M. David Howell’s Ponzi scheme turned out to be conservative. Total claims would top $84 million.

One claim, for $11 million, was made by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who had insisted that Howell provide a letter of credit before adding to his earlier investment of $5 million. Bank of America, in turn, had required Howell to buy a certificate of deposit to cover the letter of credit.

Retired Pulaski County Circuit Judge Robin Mays would spend a decade administering Howell’s estate.

“Jerry Jones is what brought it down,” Mays said in 2012. “Howell had to take Jones’ money and buy the CD, and then he didn’t have the money to keep making payments.”

When the probate case was finally closed in December 2013, after more than 11 years of litigation, 58 parties whose claims for $38.3 million were approved by the court had received about 6.5 cents for each dollar they were due.

In 2009, Richard Smith, who co-signed some of Howell’s promissory notes, was sentenced to two years of probation and 200 hours of community service after pleading guilty to filing a false tax return during the time he was associated with Howell.



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