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By Julie Brooks
At summer's end, as his empire rapidly crumbles, accused Harwich Port embezzler Jeffrey Windle, prisoner #49175 at the Plymouth County Correctional Facility, faces a conference on September 17th which may or may not determine his fate.
Instead of reeling in striped bass from Nantucket Sound from one of his Cape Cod boats , or catching grouper in the Gulf of Mexico from one of his Florida boats, Jeffrey spent his summer as a landlubber in America's Hometown, Plymouth. Perhaps he was able to enjoy the weather by working on the prison's 90-acre farm.
Obsessed by boats and landscaping to a degree which surpasses even most Harwich Port residents, (and that's saying a lot!) Jeffrey's fate is now in the hands of the federal court. But I think it's safe to say this oft-described neatnik is not likely to be polishing his brass boat cleats or admiring his hydrangeas for quite a few years to come.
Jeffrey Windle, age 41, who was arrested May 2 on charges that he embezzled $14 million from his employer, Cambium Learning of Natick, and also $200,000- $400,000 from the South Dennis Congregational Church, where he served as a volunteer treasurer, has been in custody in the Plymouth County Correctional Facility since his arrest, where he is being held with out bail.
On June 26th, he was indicted by a federal grand jury on 5 counts each of mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. Some of Jeffrey Windle's boats and cars at hisFlorida compound were seized July 16th by the U.S. Marshal Service,according to a source close to the Florida property, but his classic VW and his Donzi boat remain. On June 30 his attorney, John Moscardelli, entered a plea of not guilty and a status conference was scheduled for August 4th. At this conference, a final status conference was scheduled for September 17th.
What a difference 4 months makes
Less than 4 months ago, Jeffrey Windle was commuting 5 hours per day, in one of his two Mercedes, to Natick to work at his job as Director of Budget and Finance for Cambium Learning. He was paid $100,000 per year. He lived in a $1.9 million house in Harwich which he purchased in 2004, shortly after he began working full-time for Cambium. He did extensive renovations, including interior work and putting in a lighted tennis court and pool. He enjoyed going fishing in his 5 luxury boats, some of which he kept at Allen Harbor in Harwich and some at his Florida compound. He was in the process of building a home in Duxbury, held a mortgage on a property on Route 6A in Dennis, and owned another house on Trotting Park Road in Dennis. His extensive renovations and landscaping on his two adjacent houses on the Intracoastal waterway in Placida, Florida were just being finished.
His wife Jeannine, whose love of shopping was reportedly legendary, was a stay-at-home mother to their two children. The couple were supporters and hosts for the Harwich Mariners. A few months before, he had forfeited a $450,000 deposit on a $4.5 million home overlooking Wychmere Harbor when he backed out of the sale the night before the closing. He had also ended negotiations with a marine company to buy a 1/3 stake in the company for $7.5 million. He had meetings with a local bank about getting a $2 million commercial loan.
Rarely traveling out of town, (a trait common to many embezzlers), Jeffrey managed his complex empire by making frequent phone calls from his office. In April of this year, Cambium's CFO, Dave Caron, approached Jeffrey with questions about why the company's $870,000 insurance premium to Blue Cross/Blue Shield had gone unpaid. It was the beginning of the end.
During his employment at Cambium Learning from 2004 - 2008, Jeffrey Windle purchased 5 houses, 5 boats, and at least 5 cars, whose combined purchase prices total approximately $7 million. According to my sources, the rest of the money alleged to have been stolen has not been located in the form of bank accounts or tangible assets.
3 never-been-lived-in houses
Recently, a federal judge ordered that the U.S. Marshal Service seize Jeffrey's two houses in Florida, located at 260 and 270 Capstan Drive in Placida, and also a property at 261 Crescent Street in Duxbury. (Pictured right, second one down). The Duxbury property was purchased in February 2007 for $520,000. The existing house was razed and a new house was in the process of being built at the time of Jeffrey's arrest. Although Jeffrey has not yet stood trial or been found guilty, these properties were ordered to be seized due to the imminent danger of their loss in value between now and the trial, if there is one--the Duxbury house is under construction, and has no doors, and the Florida properties, which are two adjacent houses on the Intracoastal Waterway which Jeffrey purchased and then extensively remodeled and landscaped, are in danger of having at least $250,000 worth of landscaping die because the water has been turned off and no one is maintaining the property.
The houses have never been lived in and no one has been managing or maintaining the property since Windle's arrest on May 2nd. There are $300,000 worth of liens on the Florida houses, filed by companies contracted to do finish work, irrigation, and other services. Another source tells me that all the contractors had keys to the properties and that apparently the locks had not been changed.
In mid-July, a source close to the Florida properties informed me that a van appeared at night and removed some objects from the house. The president of Cambium Learning was called and reportedly, when he tried to get the local police to respond, they said that they had to be directed by the FBI to do so. Allegedly the FBI could not be reached. No one returned to the house until the U.S. Marshals seized at least 2 boats and at least 2 cars in mid-July.
What does the U.S. Marshal Service do with confiscated assets?
A visit to the U.S. Marshal Service's website answers this question handily. In nearly all cases they auction it. Whether it's assets confiscated from drug dealers, or whatever the story, the Marshal service auctions its property, usually online through a third-party site, Bid4Assets. The money from the sale of the confiscated goods, in the Windle case at least, as detailed in the judge's order, will be held in escrow by the US Marshal service until Jeffrey's trial is over or he peads guilty. If he's found guilty, Cambium gets the money. If he's not, presumably, he gets the money. I have signed up for Bid4Asset's email alerts and check the site regularly--I haven't seen any of Jeffrey's property yet.
Why did Jeffrey Windle plead not guilty?
I have to admit, this threw me for a loop. I, along with many people, assumed that the trail of evidence linking Jeffrey to the embezzlements was so solid that he would plead guilty, like many white collar criminals, in exchange for reduced time in a federal facility somewhere. But instead, his attorney entered a plea of not guilty. Perhaps the lowest maximum number of years Jeffrey was willing to agree to was not enough for the prosecutor, Carmen Ortiz, and so they are going to trial, where she must be reasonably certain a jury will find him guilty. Or, perhaps his attorney was able to buy some time to allow for further negotiations. A recently filed court document alludes to the fact that "no trial is expected to take place." Perhaps this means he is going to enter a guilty plea sometime soon?
Don't forget, as I have reported in a previous blog posting, that on June 19, 1998, (a bit more than 10 years ago), Jeffrey was released from a federal boot-camp-style prison , where he had served 18 months for filing false tax returns. There are no more boot-camp style federal prisons, as they were shown not to reduce recidivism, as they were intended to, and they have since been phased out. To serve your federal time at a boot camp instead of a regular federal prison was considered to be a privilege reserved for young or first -time offenders.
Ten years later, it appears that Jeffrey hasn't learned his lesson, and I think the prosecutor is not happy about this at all. After all, it's not the prosecutor's job to avoid going to trial at all costs--it's the prosecutor's job to put bad guys behind bars for as long as reasonably possible.
Landscaping at properties in Harwich Port and Dennis looking surprisingly spiffy
Jeffrey and Jeannine's first house they purchased on Cape Cod is located at 346 Trotting Park Road in Dennis, adjacent to the Ezra Baker Elementary School. The property is still in their names. The tenant who was living in the Trotting Park Road property has reportedly moved out and that house was supposedly empty for most of the summer.
The Trotting Park Road's mortgage was paid off by funds allegedly embezzled from Cambium. As recently as this week , the lawn at the Harwich Port house was being mowed by a landscaping service whose name I know but will not mention here. I saw a well-muscled, shirtless and tattooed guy mowing in front of the hydrangeas just the other day. Since there are numerous court documents showing that all Jeffrey and Jeannine's bank accounts have been frozen, I wonder who is paying the landscaper? Between working, summertime fun and blogging, the landscaping at my house looks like s***. I wish I could afford a landscaper. Particularly the one I saw at the Windle's house. There' s just no justice in this world, I'll tell ya.
Cambium Learning versus J & J Marine Fabricating versus South Dennis Congregational Church
When $14 million goes missing, lawyers get hired. Over the summer there has been a lot of activity around a separate civil lawsuits initiated by J & J Marine and by Cambium. It's all about the boats and falls under admiralty, or maritime law, which has different and even more obfuscatory language (in my opinion) than regular law. ("Regular law"--that's my term-- a legal genius I'm not.) Basically, Jeffrey Windle was sued by J & J Marine Fabricating before he was even arrested, on grounds that he owed this marine service over six figures in repairs, parts, and storage fees. This was the same outfit that he was in negotiations with to buy a 1/3 stake in for $7.5 million. He didn't buy them, and then they sued. Then comes Cambium, filing suit saying that the boats belong to Cambium because they were paid for with Cambium's money, and that J & J shouldn't get the money they're asking for because it's impossible to prove the repairs were done and "storage services" didn't incur any out-of-pocket expenses for J & J. And also, Cambium says, the South Dennis Congregational Church isn't entitled to the money since the funds were commingled and it isn't possible to establish which funds belonged to the church.
Fraud insurance for the church
It has been reported to me that one of the few bills Jeffrey actually paid on time when he was the treasurer at the church was a fraud insurance premium, and it was not clear to my source whether or not the policy covered this particular incident. Very thoughtful of him to have paid the premium ;) It was also reported to me that Jeffrey allegedly took the church's nest egg within weeks of assuming his role as treasurer. Allegedly, some people involved in running the church had their suspicions about Jeffrey but were reluctant to say anything because he purportedly made a substantial donation to the church every week. The lawyer for the Church just resigned from the case. It appears that Cambium has out-lawyered the other two plaintiffs on this one.
The Windle FAQ
I get lots of emails and calls with some of these questions, so I decided to put together a FAQ.
Where's Jeannine living? What's she doing?
Jeannine has reportedly recently moved out of the Harwich Port house and backinto the Trotting Park Road house in Dennis, where she lived whileJeffrey was serving his first federal prison sentence ten years ago. One could draw a logical conclusion that there is a job in Jeannine's future, but then again, this entire case is not bursting with logic. Yes, the lawn jockey next to the stone inscribed "Windle" is still in the front yard, but the hosta around it has grown so much over the summer that you can't read the stone.
Is Jeannine going to face any criminal charges?
Allegedly, the FBI tried, but was not able to come up with, any evidence that Jeannine had knowledge of her husband's activities.
What's going to happen to the $1.9 million Harwich Port house at 562 Main Street?
I don't know. I check the Barnstable County registry of deeds site frequently and there's no activity as far as I can see.
What about all the expensive furnishings, etc. in the Harwich Port house? What's going to happen to those?
It would a violation of a court order for anything of value to be moved from the Harwich Port house. If anyone notices anything regarding an estate sale on Craigslist or wherever, please for the love of God let me know. We'll hit the sale and then go to Brax for cocktails afterwards.
I have received many emails and calls with tips about this case. All are appreciated.
Call or email me: Julie Brooks --508-385-0003 x 106
Photos (top to bottom): Jeffrey Windle's compound at 260 and 270 Capstan Drive, Placida, FL; his house at 261 Crescent Street, Duxbury, a 41' Tiara, a 41' Albemarle, a 31' Albemarle, a 24' Captain's launch sloop, a 2004 Mercedes E320, a 2005 Mercedes CLK500, a 2007 Mercedes GL450, a 46' Ocean Yacht.
All past blog postings on the Windle case:
Electronic Clerk Notes for proceedings held before Magistrate Judge Judith G. Dein:
Posted on the US District Court's Public Document system today
Arraignment as to Jeffrey S. Windle (1) Count 1-5,6-10,11-15 held on 6/30/2008, Plea entered by Jeffrey S. Windle: Not Guilty on counts all.
Asst.US Attorney Ortiz and Attorney Moscardelli for the defense.; 1st conference is set for August 4, 2008 at 2:15pm (Court Reporter DR.) (Quinn, Thomas)
Harwich man accused of embezzling $14 million from employer, church
Sordid details below, being held at Plymouth House of Corrections
Windle may also have taken between as much as $400,000 from his church, according to an FBI agent's testimony investigating the case.Federal prosecutors have charged a Cape Cod man with embezzling nearly $14 million from his employer, and using much of the cash to buy real estate including a $2 million dollar estate overlooking Wychmere Harbor and another in Placida, Florida valued at $2.5 million as well as pleasure boats and expensive cars. U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan said Friday a grand jury charged Jeffrey Windle with mail fraud - five counts of wire fraud and another five counts of money laundering.
See the entire indictment as a linked PDF below.
The 41-year-old was arrested on May 2nd, and has since been held in at The Plymouth House of Correction without bail.
Was company's Budget Director, church's treasurer
Prosecutors charged Jeffrey Windle with stealing nearly $14 million from Cambium Learning, a Natick-based provider of education materials for special-needs students. Windle was Cambium's budget director. The indictment alleges Windle used some of the cash to help pay for his estates both here and in Florida. Other purchases made allegedly with the stolen money included several boats and costly imported automobiles.
As previously reported here (below) he is accused of stealing between $200,000 and $400,000 from his church, the South Dennis Congregational Church, where he was the volunteer treasurer.
List of charges:
Since my last blog posting, I have heard from many people: residents of the Placida, Florida neighborhood where Jeffrey's $2.5 million+ compound is located; people formerly of Cambium Learning, Inc., the company he is accused of stealing $14 million from; the fraud investigating firm, Stroz Freidberg, which Cambium Learning hired to help locate Jeffrey and his wife Jeannine's assets; people associated with the South Dennis Congregational Church, where Jeffrey acted as volunteer treasurer and also whose accounts he allegedly used to launder Cambium's money; as well as past personal acquaintances of Jeff's family and Jeannine's family. The list goes on and on. I have emailed the 118-page court report which details Jeffrey's alleged embezzlement to at least 50 people from all over the country who have requested it.
Please help Stroz Friedberg, the fraud investigating firm--dedicated and discreet email and phone line
Stroz Friedberg was hired by Cambium to locate as many of Jeffrey and Jeannine's assets as possible. Cambium, which employs many people, is reeling from this incident and needs to get back what it can. If you've been reading this blog, you can probably do the math and figure out that the houses, cars, and boats don't add up to $14 million. Jeffrey and Jeannine were reportedly VERY big spenders on all sorts of things (that's for another blog posting). If you know of anything or anyone who can point Stroz in the right direction it would be greatly appreciated. They are looking for assets--bank accounts, real estate, etc. I have spoken to the Senior Investigator, Thomas Kelly, and he is a nice guy to deal with. Here's what he emailed me:
Stroz Friedberg Investigations ("SFI") is looking for anyone who may beable to provide information about Jeffrey or Jeannine Windle. Specifically, we are looking to speak to anyone who may have engaged Jeffrey and Jeannine Windle in conversations with a specific focus on their source of wealth and their assets. We have a dedicated email address and phone number that can be used to contact SFI with any relevant information. All information will be confidential.
Email: [email protected] Telephone: (212) 766-6035 Thomas Kelley
Boring documents about boat surveying & out-of-state attorneys
There was a flurry of documents filed recently in the U.S. District Court in Boston (after two weeks of nothing) in the Windle case, and if anyone else who doesn't have a life wants to read them, I'll email them to you. But in a nutshell, the documents say that Jeffrey and Jeannine have given their consent for Cambium Learnings' hired marine surveyor to evaluate (this must mean appraise) the boats. There are also documents relating to Cambium's hiring attorneys in New York and Florida for work on this case, even though the case is in Masschusetts. I had to look up many legal terms in Wikipedia and I wish I could've uncovered something juicy but so far, zilcho. These legal documents are a good cure for insomnia, I'll tell you.
Cambium Learning's bond rating decreased as a direct result of alleged embezzlement
This I've known for about two weeks. Here's the bottom line: Cambium Learning is a privately held company which does about $100 million per year in revenue. What their net profit is on this, I don't know, but say it's $10 million. Jeffrey allegedly stole $14 million, albeit over 4 years. This company has had 3 CEO's in the past 6 years. They have acquired companies and been acquired. Their total debt stands at $131 million. And recently, their corporate credit rating was cut from B to B-- by Moody's. What this means is that when Cambium wants to borrow money, it is now going to have to pay 1 to 1.5 points above prime, according to a former stockbroker I spoke with. When you're borrowing millions, this works out to big bucks. A recent comment on my previous blog posting reads:
I worked for that company for almost 6 years until last year. i stillhave friends there that tell me they owe just the garbage company over$ 40,000 and cant get the trash and card board hauled off.
Water cut off, Florida property's landscaping on brink of frying
Jeffrey and Jeannine own two adjacent properties on the intracoastal waterway in Placida, Florida, which have very recently installed, very extensive landscaping worth upwards of $400,000. (See picture at right.) Since Jeffrey's arrest May 2, no landscapers have maintained the property. The neighbors were very concerned about what would happen to the property once the electricity and water were turned off for nonpayment, since the automatic irrigation system is powered by electricity, and of course, water.
Well, that has finally happened. As of yesterday, the water and electricity were cut off. My source tells me the landscaping will really "go to hell" now and will all be gone in 2-3 weeks in the Florida heat. Concerned neighbors have contacted people at Cambium to see what can be done before this property turns into an ugly eyesore but Cambium has not acted. Cambium did have someone out there taking pictures of the properties a couple of weeks ago.
The situation reminds me of the doggerel which begins, "For want of a nail, the shoe was lost..." I of course don't know all the legal ramifications of this, but I know that technically Cambium does not own the properties (yet) but they probably will soon. It was Cambium's money which paid for the properties and the landscaping. I'm sure the electric and water companies don't care who pays the bill as long as they're paid. And the properties will suffer a huge depreciation in value if all the landscaping dies (and affect the property values of the whole neighborhood as well.) This whole thing was finally publicized locally in the Sarasota Herald Tribune on May 26th. A total of $300,00 in liens have been filed by various subcontractors.
I have received many emails and calls with tips about this case. All are appreciated.
Call or email me: Julie Brooks --508-385-0003 x 106
Past postings related to the Windle case:
United States of America v. Jeffrey Windle et. al.
Accused Harwich Port embezzler Jeffrey S. Windle, 41, (mug shot on right) who is currently being held without bail on suspicion of embezzling money from his former employer, as well as from a local church, has a more complex criminal and financial history than has been previously reported, as revealed in a 118-page complaint filed in the U.S. District Court on Thursday, May 22. Mr. Windle faces up to 7 years in federal prison for alleged mail and wire fraud charges. On May 27th, his attorney, John Moscardelli, and Assistant U.S. District Attorney Carmen Ortiz have a meeting to work out a possible plea agreement in return for Jeffrey's help in locating assets to satisfy the plaintiff, Cambium Learning, Inc. Based in Natick, MA, Cambium was Jeffrey's employer from January 2004 until the end of April 2008.
The complaint document details numerous transactions between the bank accounts at Sopris West, a Cambium Learning subsidiary, and various boat dealers and real estate agents. It is also alleged that Mr. Windle stole between $200,000 and $400,000 from the accounts of the South Dennis Congregational Church, where he was volunteer treasurer. (Church is pictured below.) In addition to suspected theft, the new complaint document reveals that Jeffrey apparently
"...also exploited his position as the Treasurer of his church, the Congregational Church of South Dennis (the “Church”), to further his fraudulent scheme. Mr. Windle, who became the treasurer of the Church in 2003, either set up fictitious bank accounts in the Church’s name or used dormant accounts held by the Church at TD [Banknorth].
Mr. Windle then wired or transferred millions of dollars from Cambium to these bank accounts. Mr. Windle withdrew the money in the accounts for his own purposes, including writing several checks to himself....
The Church had no involvement with, or understanding of, Mr. Windle’s actions
with respect to the aforementioned TD accounts; Mr. Windle either arranged for the statements to be mailed directly to his residence at 652 Main Street, Harwichport, MA, or the Church staff simply gave him the unopened statements that had been mailed to the Church."
The church's accounts were involved in the purchase of 3 of Mr. Windle's 5 boats: a 41' Tiara yacht for $162,624, a 41' Albemarle for $680,681, and a 31' Albemarle for $274,203.
Cambium Learning, Inc. , after discovering that Mr. Windle seemed to be implicated in the disappearance of large amounts of money from its accounts, retained the services of two forensic accounting and fraud investigating firms, FTI Consulting and Stroz Friedberg, LLC. The purpose in hiring the firms was to find as many tangible assets as possible which were purchased with Cambium's money and then establish the paper trail from the company's accounts to the assets, in order to prove in a court of law that Cambium should take possession of these assets. Their detailed findings are contained in the recent complaint. The complaint has numerous images of cancelled checks and wire transfer receipts, and recaps Jeffrey's past criminal offenses as well as giving some personal details about his life.
After love, marriage, and a baby: 4 bankruptcies, 3 criminal convictions, and 15 months in federal prison
Born in Worcester, Jeffrey Windle graduated from Wachusett High School in 1985 and from Bentley College in 1989 with a degree in finance (big surprise.)
He has been married to Jeannine Windle since 1994, and they have two children, ages 11 and 8.
In 1993, Jeffrey obtained a $55,000 bank loan after providing false information and forging his parents' signatures as co-signers. He pled guilty to these charges in 1996, a year in which he also pled guilty to other charges of larceny, forgery and stealing two blank checks from his employer and using one as a deposit on a boat.
In 1997, Jeffrey pled guilty to filing false claims for federal income tax refunds and was sentenced to 15 months in a "boot camp" -style federal prison. He was released from federal prison on June 19, 1998, (nearly ten years ago).
Contrary to what I reported previously in this blog, this complaint says that Jeffrey filed for bankruptcy 4 times in 6 years, (not twice, as I had originally reported --sorry, two of them weren't on the report I looked at. ) The dates for the bankruptcy filings are:
6/27/97 Chapter 13
10/7/99 Chapter 7
5/15/02 Chapter 13
2/7/03 Chapter 13
Jeffrey Windle began working for Cambium Learning as a temp in January 2004 and was named Director of Budget and Finance in June 2004. He was authorized to make transfers of money between various company accounts, but not authorized to make wire transfers to outside parties without the approval of his supervisor. Allegedly, he did the transfers anyway and concealed his activities by having the bank statements for the accounts mailed to his address in Harwich Port and making fake spreadsheets showing what was in the accounts to show to his employee, Nancy Young, senior staff accountant at Cambium Learning.
The complaint contains details about the Windle's cars and real estate purchases. Since Jeannine Windle is named as co-owner of the boats, she is a party to the complaint, as is her mother, who is a sucessor trustee.
Jeffrey's case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. District Attorney Carmen Ortiz, of the Economic Crimes Division. She specializes in prosecuting white-collar crime. The FBI agent responsible for the Windle case is Special Agent Sheila Magoon, and the Magistrate Judge who ordered his arrest and also denied him bail is Judith Dein. Jeffrey, you may finally have met your match due to the hard work of these lovely ladies, as well as other law enforcement and court employees.
Dying to read the juicy details of the report? Just email me with "Windle report" in the subject and I'll email the whole thing to you. It's a nearly 5 MB Adobe PDF file that's too big to have on our company's servers. It's mostly NOT dense legalese and is pretty readable; there are also a lot of fluff pages so it's not really a huge chore to read it.
I have received many emails and calls with tips about this case. All are appreciated.
Call or email me: Julie Brooks --508-385-0003 x 106
Past postings related to the Windle case:
Jeffrey Windle was supposed to sign off on final project on May 16th
Accused Harwich Port embezzler Jeffrey Windle purchased two adjacent homes in Placida, Florida (an exclusive community in the Sarasota area of Florida) and did extensive renovations, transforming the two stand-alone properties into a luxurious compound, including two indoor pools, docks and boats on a canal connecting to the Intracoastal waterway. E & S Family LLC, is a limited liability corporation formed by Jeffrey and Jeannine Windle in 2006, listing its address as 652 Main Street in Harwich Port.
In 2006, E & S Family LLC purchased a 2100 square f0ot house at 270 Capstan Drive in Placida, FL for $1.28 million. (Many thanks to a fellow sleuthing mom in the real estate business, whom I have never met, who dug up this address and passed it along to me, which gave me a base to find out all the details on the Windles in Florida.)
Then, in June 2007, E & S Family LLC, purchased the 2,334 square foot property next door for $1,265,000. Jeffrey Windle then began fairly extensive renovations, as shown in the two before-and-after aerial aerial photographs (accessible to anyone at MSN Live,) including building an addition on to one property, changing the roofs to match, and redesigning all the landscaping to make the properties have an adjoining driveway. A Google search of Jeffrey Windle Florida shows his phone number for this property:
|Jeffrey Windle||(941) 697-8478||270 Capstan Dr, Placida, FL 33946|
I dialed it and the message said that "This person cannot take this call." That's because he's in jail ;) All the permitting documents, referred to as "Notice of Commencement" or NOC's, are easily viewable online by visting the Charlotte County website and typing in Windle. As of Friday, May 16, neither of the two daily newspapers in the area had reported anything about Jeffrey Windle's arrest. I have called 3 of the subcontractors who filed NOC's and told them about Jeffey's arrest. None of them had heard anything about it and in fact were wondering why they hadn't heard anything from Jeffrey in awhile (he was arrested May 2). Two of the other subcontractors had filed liens prior to Friday (also accessible on the same website); maybe or maybe not because they knew of Jeffrey's arrest.
A source I spoke to stated that Jeffrey, who rarely visited the properties, in fact was expected to arrive on Friday, May 16 to sign off on all the paperwork for the completion of all the work on the compound. Needless to say, Jeffrey did not show up that day, being that he was in federal custody and being held without bail. Jeffrey told this source that he was planning to spend only 2 t o 3 weeks per year at this place. Jeffrey had "at least 3 boats" at this compound according to the source. I alerted the local daily newspaper of Jeffrey's arrest and they are going to report it. I'm glad to hear this so that the subcontractors who did work on his compound can be informed and file the necessary liens. The person acting as general contractor for the project is in fact the person who used to own the second house that Jeffrey bought, and has been supervising the project for the last 4 months. The project has been only very recently completed and is ""quite impressive" according to a source. Jeannine Windle and the children have reportedly been to the houses for brief periods of time.
Above: Photos of one of the Windles' Florida houses.
I have stated the facts. The photographs speak for themselves. My question is, why did Jeffrey buy these houses and do this renovation? Was he planning to leave his job in Natick and move his family to the Florida compound? Was he planning to sell the Florida compound to make a profit (my husband says no, if you wanted to flip the houses you'd never combine two houses, you'd sell them separately--he's right, I think.) Did he think that Cambium Learning, Inc. (the company he is accused of stealing from) would simply fail to notice the missing millions and that he, Jeannine, and the kids would enjoy a peaceful early retirement in Florida?
Personally, this whole Florida thing takes my breath away and I find it quite unbelievable. Yet the facts and the photos are there for anyone to see. This whole case just gets weirder and weirder. I can't believe he bought two houses in Florida for a combined $2.5 million with allegedly stolen money. I can't believe he spent another half million (according to one estimate I heard) making it into a compound with two houses, two pools, and docks for three or four boats. I can't believe no one down there knew about it until I told them, and I can't believe someone would supposedly steal all this money and then not leave the country before getting caught. Truth is truly stranger than fiction.
Anyone with any information or pictures re: the Windles , please email me.
Scroll down to read my three previous blog postings about Jeffrey Windle.
Cambium Learning, Inc., accused embezzler's former employer, files attachments for $14 million on Windle properties in 3 counties
Earlier this week, Cambium Learning, Inc., the company in which accused embezzler Jeffrey Windle of Harwich Port formerly worked as Director of Budget and Finance, filed attachments on properties in 3 counties where Jeffrey Windle owned property--Barnstable and Plymouth Counties in Massachusetts, and Charlotte County in Florida. Jeffrey Windle was arrested in Harwich Port on May 2 on charges that he allegedly embezzled between $5 - $12 million from his company, as well as between $200,000 and $400,00 from the South Dennis Congregational Church, where he was volunteer treasurer. With the alleged embezzled funds, he purchased 6 cars, 6 boats, a $1.9 million house in Harwich Port, a house in Duxbury, and two houses in Florida. See links to recent stories about Jeffey Windle at the bottom of this article.
When an entity files an attachment on a property, it basically means that the entities named as defendants cannot sell the assets named in the attachment without satisfaction up to the amount claimed by the filing entity. The attachment is granted by a judge on behalf of creditors.
Barnstable County Registry of Deeds and can be accessed by searching for "E & S Realty Trust" lists houses, bank accounts, and vehicles belonging to Jeffrey and/or his wife Jeannine Windle. In order to see this document, you have to download a separate program. And you can't print it out (without joining, which is a snail mail, not online, procedure. ) And you can't take a screen shot. But, nothing prevents you (or me) from taking a digital photo of your computer screen, which I have done. The pages worth looking at are the ones here, here, and here which list the properties, bank accounts, and cars.The attachment, which is accessible online at the
A total of 4 houses purchased
I ran across a couple of new names in my digging today: Carol Hanson and Kevin Hanson. My sources tell me that Carol Hanson is Jeannine Windle's mother, and Kevin Hanson is her stepbrother.
Through online Registry of Deeds research I have found that various trusts and family members of both Jeffrey and Jeannine Windle were involved in the purchase of 4 properties since 2004.
There is E & S Realty Trust, registered in Massachusetts. The trustees include William Windle & Jeffrey Windle , with Carol Hanson being assigned as successor trustee on July 21, 2007, which means she is named as a defendant in the attachment along with her daughter. E & S are the initals of Jeffrey and Jeannine's two children.
E & S Realty Trust, along with William Windle (purportedly Jeffrey's brother), purchased the home ( named Wychview) on 652 Main Street, Harwich Port for$1.9 million in 2004 and a house for $520,000 at 621 Cresecent Street in Duxbury, MA on Feb. 7, 2007. Assessor's records say that the Duxbury house is in care of Kevin Hanson, believed to be Jeannine Windle's stepfather.
Most recently, the same two entities (E & S Realty Trust and William Windle) became the holders of the mortgage for $470,000 for a property at 528 Route 6A in Dennis. The mortgagor is Marjorie Ulrich of Cape Cod Associates Real Estate and the building currently houses one of that company's offices. Michael Ulrich of the same company was the owner of the house at 652 Main Street, Harwich Port before Jeffrey Windle bought it.
Will the Florida oasis dry up?
E & S Family LLC, incorporated in Florida, purchased two adjacent houses in 2006 and 2007 at 270 Capstan Drive in Placida, Florida for more than $2.5 million combined, and then began extensive renovations and landscaping .
Two subcontractors working on the renovations on the Florida property have filed liens. One is by Hazeltine Landscaping, which claims it is owed $145,491, another is by Leo Pfliger Construction, claiming $125,991. Very extensive landscaping only recently put in is now at risk of rapidily deteriorating. Area residents have emailed me concerned about the property; with all Jeffrey's bank accounts frozen and no one to maintain and water the property, the Florida heat will soon turn this oasis into a brown, unsightly mess with vermin as a bonus.
Above: Boats and newly finished landscaping on a canal connecting to the Intracoastal Waterway behind Jeffrey Windle's property in Placida, FL.
See end of article for two new pictures of his Florida property.
Houses, bank accounts, and cars listed in attachment; but not boats
Here is a list of the cars named in the attachment:
2007 GMC Sierra
2004 Mercedes E320
2005 Jeep Wrangler
2005 Mercedes CLK500 convertible (license WYCH2)]
1974 VW convertible
2007 Mercedes GL450 (license WYCHVU)
I was immediately curious as to why Jeffreys' 6 boats were not included in the attachment. A spokesperson from Cambium Learning informed me that the boats had already been "arrested" or frozen, prior to the issuance of this attachment by the U.S. District Attorney, due to the direct evidence linking them to the allegedly embezzled money, so there was no need to include them in the recent attachment.
Windle's attorney files Joint Motion to Exclude Time
John Moscardelli, the attorney representing Jeffrey Windle, recently filed a Joint Motion to Exclude Time on May 20, 2008. You can read the full three pages here. Basically, his attorney is requesting that 30 days be added to the time before which Jeffrey needs to charged by indictment or information, in order to give both parties time to work out a potential plea agreement. The document states that "the parties agreed to set up a meeting in which the defendent will make a proffer in an effort to coooperate and assist the government in locating assets and fraud proceeds, in the interest of making restitution to the victim." The meeting is set for May 27.
Almost bought a $4.9 million home; backed out the night before closing
Also named in the attachment is a property located very close to the Windles' Harwich Port home. The property does not belong to the Windles or any of their associated trusts. It is a stone's throw from the beautiful Wychmere Harbor Club and consists of three buildings overlooking Wychmere Harbor. (The picture on the right is the view of Wychmere Harbor from the house.) It is owned by NIC Limited Partnership c/o GTI Properties Inc., located in Boston. It is currently listed for sale by Kinlin Grover for $4.9 million. GTI lawyers tell me that it is a mistake that the property was put on the attachment; Jeffrey signed a purchase and sale agreement for this property late last summer and then backed out. The property is legally unencumbered and the reference to it on the attachment is going to be removed.
Above: View of canal connecting to the Intracoastal Waterway behind Jeffrey's house, with boat lift.
Above: View of canal connecting to the Intracoastal Waterway behind Jeffrey's house, plus two of Jeffrey's boats..
I have received many emails and calls with tips about this case. All are appreciated.
Call or email me: Julie Brooks --508-385-0003 x 106
Past postings related to the Windle case:
The Windles do Dennis--Plaques, rocks--Always with a touch of class
Harwich Port resident Jeffrey Windle, who was recently arrested on suspicion of stealing millions of dollars from the Natick company he worked for, as well as $200 - $400,000 from the South Dennis Congregational Church, lived in Dennis for years with his wife and children prior to moving to a $1.9 million house in Harwich Port.
Following up on a previous post regarding the Mid-Cape's latest scuttlebutt, I have spoken with a couple of local moms regarding Jeannine Windle and her husband Jeffrey Windle, Cape Cod's alleged embezzler du jour.
Jeannine Windle, the alleged embezzler's wife, has been described to me as "short, with curly hair and glasses" and as being "no trophy wife." When she was president of the Ezra Baker Parent-Teacher Activity Council, one of the projects they did was to build a new playground for the school. The council had been raising money for years for the playground. "Out of the blue" (as it was described to me) there was a supposedly a large donation of about $100,000 which the school principal allegedly said came from an anonymous source. This allowed the playground to be built. Jeannine's name is emblazoned on a plaque at the playground, for posterity. Jeannine's Facebook page is here. Any logged-in member can see her full profile and 7 friends. *
In posts later on this week, I will explore the Windle family's transition down Route 28 from Dennis to upscale Harwichport, in which Jeannine's sense of style (or lack thereof) proves the old adage: You can take the girl out of Dennis, but you can't take Dennis out of the girl.
No offense intended toward the lovely moms of Dennis; it was Jeannine who supposedly snubbed her Dennis friends after her husband's newfound wealth allowed her to move down the street to a premier property overlooking Wychmere Harbor.
A source I spoke with told me about some rather shocking incidents related to Jeffrey's alleged sticky fingers and penchant for forgery, which go back more than 10 years. Jeffrey was employed as a landscaper for one or more local landscaping companies. (More later on this week regarding Jeffrey's short-lived career in retail. Care to guess why it ended so soon?)
While working at the landscaping companies, he and Jeannine were living at their property (which they still own) at 346 Trotting Park Lane. Jeannine and Jeffrey purchased the property in 1996. In 1997, according to the Cape Cod Times, Jeffrey was convicted of filing false tax returns to receive $78,000 in tax refunds. He was allegedly sentenced to 12 - 15 months in prison. Two to three days before he was to go to jail, the Windles had a large party at their Trotting Park Road house.
The Windles' daughter was born in 1996
When Jeannine and her husband were first living in Dennis and their children were very small, Jeannine drove a Ford Taurus wagon (more about the fate of this car in a later post). At some point, she began driving a Mercedes (Jeannine's was a Mercedes GL450, which retails for $56,000). Jeffrey allegedly drove a BMW.
The Windles' house abuts the grounds of the Ezra Baker School where Jeannine voluteered. A short distance away is the South Dennis Congregational Church, where Jeffrey selflessly volunteered his services as treasurer. It's a beautiful old church in historic West Dennis, bordered by an ancient cemetery full of Nickersons and Crowells. It has been reported that Jeffrey is supected of pilfering $200,000 - $400,000 from the church. A search of Guidestar.org, an online source of financial documents filed by non-profits, does not have anything for this church. The non-profits submit their information voluntarily to this site. Other churches in Dennis and most non-profits in Dennis have their information on file with Guidestar, but not this church.
Naming the lawn jockey
Photographs taken today of the Windles' house on Trotting Park Road, which according to sources, is now rented , show a house much more spruced-up than the photo attached to their property record on file at the town hall. It has been painted and landscaped extensively. Still, the cheerful lawn jockey remains, although now he's flanked by a rock bearing the Windle's name. What should we name him, readers? Jeffrey Jr.? Make your suggestions in the comments below. A plaque and a rock, each with a Windle's name on them, less than a quarter mile from each other.
Perhaps the funniest thing I've found so far is Jeffrey's middle initial: S. Here is how his name appears on numerous official documents I have looked at while investigating the Windles:
Jeffrey S. Windle. Swindle. Get it?
Later on this week, look for more posts about the Windles in Harwichport, other interesting members of the Windle family, and another house.
Anyone who wishes to contact me with information about the Windles or this case, or pictures of the Windles (not the children), please email me at [email protected] or call me at (508)385-0003 x 106.
*I declined to make a friend request to Jeannine on Facebook, for obvious reasons.
Photos, top to bottom: The plaque by the playground at Ezra Baker Elementary School; the playground; the playset on the Trotting Park Road house with the new Ezra Baker playground in the distance; the South Dennis Congregational Church; the lawn jockey in front of the Windles' former house at Trotting Park Road; cars parked at the same property today.
See previous post on The Windles here.
All photographs by Julie Brooks, copyright eCape, Inc. / CapeCodToday.com
Couple rode a financial roller coaster; Harwich Port's own Carmela Soprano
Court records reveal that accused Harwich Port embezzler Jeffrey S. Windle and his wife Jeannine Windle have filed for both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies in the past. Harwich Port resident Jeffrey Windle, who was recently arrested onsuspicion of stealing millions of dollars from Cambium Learning, the Natick company heworked for, as well as $200,000 - $400,000 from the South DennisCongregational Church, lived in Dennis for years with his wife andchildren prior to moving to a $1.9 million house in Harwich Port. After moving, the Windles began extensive renovations on their house and Jeffrey began his collection of six boats. In the 90's Jeffrey Windle was convicted of filing false tax returns, larceny, forgery, and uttering (See the list of crimes in this Cape Cod Chronicle article. )
The Windles hired Cape Cod's most respectable bankruptcy attorney
The Windle's Chapter 13 bankruptcy was handled by Attorney Robert J. Daly. But Jeffrey and Jeannine couldn't have foreseen the handcuffs in Jeff's future when they hired Shaun Ellis, a Sagamore-based bankruptcy attorney who represented them for the Chapter 7 filing. Attorney Ellis (pictured at right, getting arrested wearing a Peter Tosh T-Shirt) was arrested in Harwich in July 2007 for threatening a CVS clerk with a handgun. Police found a cache of deadly weapons in the trunk of his car. Click here for CCToday coverage of this story and more pictures. Aside from his and Jeannine's love of legible casual wear (see below), I'm guessing it was sheer coincidence that they hired him, and it was before Ellis' arrest, obviously.
I'm telling you, you just can't make this stuff up ;)
Jeannine's unique sense of style
I have received emails and phone calls from various people who knew Jeannine both before and after she moved down the road from her 3- bedroom house in Dennis to her 7-bedroom house in Harwich. One person described how she dressed while living in Dennis: "...she wore her husband's big button-down shirts, capri sweats, and carried a Vera Bradley bag." Sometime before her move to Harwich, she began wearing a 6-karat diamond ring "the size of the rock of Gibraltor" and upgraded her purse to a "Coach bag and accessories worth at least $1000."
Jeannine retained her love of comfort clothes, though, and after moving to tony Harwich Port, could be frequently be seen wearing a sweatshirt which said "Harwich Port." One caller described her as having "money but no taste" and was clearly not the "daughter of a doctor as people thought she was." She has been described as "a loudmouth" and as "always yelling at her kids at soccer games."
"She's the Carmela Soprano of Harwich Port"
Although Jeannine allegedly knew her husband had been convicted of numerous crimes prior to their move to the Cape in in mid-90's, and although he was convicted of filing fake tax returns after their move here and the birth of their daughter, it is stated that she had no knowledge of his most recent and most spectacular alleged embezzling activities and supposedly believed her husband, a former landscaper, was receiving bonuses from his employer.
A wife turning a blind eye to the source of her husband's income while spending it as fast as she could? Sounds like Carmela Soprano of HBO's excellent series The Sopranos, about a mob boss, Tony Soprano, his wife Carmela (pictured left), and their family. I'm not at all implying that Jeffrey had mob ties, but at least he can say he had more boats than Tony's lone Stugots. I must credit a fabulous eCape staffer for making the Carmela/Jeannine connection.
No lawn jockeys at the new Harwich Port digs
The deed for their house at 652 Main Street in Harwich Port was recorded on December 3, 2004. The house was purchased for $1,905,000 from Michael Ulrich, trustee of Seashore Properties Realty Trust, and legally purchased by William Windle (Jeffrey's brother) and E & S Realty Trust, which was owned by Jeffrey and Jeannine. E & S are the initials of their two children's names (how touching) which I know but will not record here.
The house sits across the street from Wychmere Harbor; the views from the 2nd floor of the house are no doubt breathtaking. The Windles did a lot of work on the house, putting in a fence, granite floors, detailed landscaping, a tennis court, and a playground for their kids. The house has 7 bedrooms and 6.5 baths according to the assessor's report.
The Windles, Harwich Port's newest Power Couple, were known to give lavish, catered parties and purportedly owned a margarita machine. They became benefactors and hosts for the Harwich Mariners. Jeffrey could be seen driving around town in a brand-new pickup truck with the name of their house Wychview Estate, on the side. (I may not have the name or spelling of the house correct--please let me know if I'm wrong. ) Jeannine's car has this vanity plate: WYCHVU. Moms in Jeannine's circle in both towns were under the impression thatJeffrey "came from money" , which explained their lavish lifestyle.
Please enjoy these pictures of Chez Windle at 652 Main Street, (Route 28) in Harwich Port (there are actually three buildings on the property.)
The Windles had a large letter "W" inlaid in stone at the head of theirdriveway. (Pictured above)
Does the "W "stand for Windle,or We're F***ed?
The house as seen from Route 28
The kids' playground behind the tennis court
The view of Wychmere Harbor
The clay tennis court
The main house and deck, as seen through the tennis court
Anyone who wishes to contact me withinformation about the Windles or this case, or pictures of the Windles(not the children), please email me at [email protected] or call me at (508)385-0003 x 106.
I did not seen any lawn jockeys on this property ;)
(See my previous post if you don't get this reference.)