We have a couple of updates from our story from Friday.
In the who’s who of who’s investigating Lance Benedict and TTM Guitars, California and Washington State officials need to make room for the Feds, The US Postal Inspection Service, and the California Franchise Tax Board.
The USPIS contacted us requesting specific information they were looking for due to “complaints” they were investigating. They didn’t get specific According to the US Postal Inspection Service, they investigate:
Postal Inspectors are sworn federal law enforcement officers who carry firearms, make arrests and serve federal search warrants and subpoenas. Inspectors work closely with U.S. Attorneys, other law enforcement agencies, and local prosecutors to investigate postal cases and prepare them for court. Federal statutes that surround these types of investigations include mail fraud and other criminal statutes when they are tied to the mails such as bank fraud, identity theft, credit card fraud, wire fraud, and Internet/computer fraud. Mail fraud is a statute that is used in prosecuting many white-collar crimes, this would include, Ponzi schemes, 419 frauds, and other white-collar crimes where the mail was used to facilitate the fraud including public corruption (under the “Honest Services” provision of the federal fraud statutes).
In our previous articles, we wrote about customers giving money to Benedict for a guitar they purchased and never received after waiting 1-2 years and several requests for a refund, they were given a million excuses and threatened with legal action for “posting complaints” about them. Benedict has a verifiable record going back to 2008 with complaints of not shipping guitars that customers already paid for. Benedict used PayPal for all of his transactions and is using the USPS to ship whatever guitars he decides too. Mail Fraud? Wire Fraud?
***Update*** The first lawsuit has been filed against Benedict during the new “era” of TTM Guitars from Capital One Bank due to nonpayment of his total balance of several thousands of dollars. We’ve obtained a copy of the lawsuit and you can read it here:
******Update***** The State of California Franchise Tax Board has officially opened an investigation into alleged violations of Mr. Benedict opening illegal franchises without being registered with the State of California along with Mike Lucero, Curtis Berry, The Hussey brothers and other individuals involved. Benedict filed for dissolution of the LLC for TTM Guitars with the California Secretary of State filed on August 7th, 2019. With his prior announcement that he’s “expanding” his musical offerings, don’t be surprised if Benedict files a new corporation as he’ll be “expanding” and looking for new “investors.” The son and father who reportedly owns the Grass Valley, California shop where Benedict has his American made guitars built were supposed to be entering into a partnership with him and be part of the LLC of TTM Guitars some time ago. To date, Benedict was still the only person listed before he filed the dissolution.
As Washington State Regulators look for answers as to why Benedict lied to them about closing up and his Washington State “Franchise”, they’ve changed the verbiage to a “Dealer” from a “Franchise” on their website.
As Benedict claims on his website that all of his guitars are made in the USA, we’ve learned he’s gone back to importing China made guitars. Is he trying to pass off China made guitars as US made again as he did back in 2009 prior to his first Bankruptcy?
These are all developing stories and we’ll have more to report.