Bank dubbed co-conspirator

December 5, 2008


Estate Financial Inc. (EFI) creditor Ron Cooper said he plans to identify Heritage Oaks Bank as a co-conspirator with EFI principals Karen Guth and Joshua Yaguda in a lawsuit to be filed later this month.

Heritage Oaks Bank allegedly lent Guth approximately $20 million in unsecured loans. Following reports by this Web site that EFI was in serious financial distress, HOB placed liens on Guth and Yaguda’s Pasolivio ranch, their service stations, and a commercial property on Ninth Street in Paso Robles that once housed the failed lender.

“My theory is that Heritage Oaks Bank conspired with Karen [Guth] and Joshua [Yaguda] to encumber their assets and keep creditors from collecting on any judgments they may get against Karen and Joshua,” Cooper said.

Heritage Oaks Bank officials have declined to discuss specific loan arrangements and deny allegations of co-conspiracy.

“That’s not true,” said bank Senior Vice President William Raver.

Last month, Cooper’s daughter, Jodi Cooper, won a default judgment against Guth and Yaguda for more than $700,000 for management fees on a construction project Guth funded through EFI.

Guth, 65, and Yaguda, 40, were arrested October 16 by a multi-agency task force at their Pasolivo olive ranch. They face 26 fraud charges, and both remain in San Luis Obispo County Jail pending $5 million bail each.

Following the arrest, officials from the district attorney’s office informed investors they had seized assets of Guth and Yaguda, including the EFI building, the olive oil ranch, and their service stations, all under Heritage Oaks Bank loans.

“An investor could make the argument that the loans were made with unclean hands,” said Deputy Disrict Attorney Steve von Dohlen, explaining why authorities had seized assets already over-encumbered by Heritage Oaks Bank.

Guth disclosed in court during her bitter divorce from ex-EFI principle Charles Applebaum that she agreed to place the lien on her portion of Templeton Products (the service stations) following a request from Heritage Oaks Bank to secure an already funded personal loan, according to court documents.

The Guth court papers put the spotlight on a practice of many local banks; loaning millions of dollars to local hard money lenders without securing the debts with borrowers’ assets. As the sky began to fall, Guth used her service stations, also partially owned by Applebaum, to secure her Heritage Oaks Bank debts.

“Incredibly… she mortgaged both properties to the hilt,” Applebaum reported in sworn testimony. “By placing these liens against the service stations, the stations are now grossly over encumbered.”

Applebaum claims officials at Heritage Oaks Bank authorized the loaning of millions of dollars to his ex-wife on property he owns without his knowledge or consent.

“The transaction came as a complete shock to me as I was in direct communication with Heritage Oaks Bank,” Applebaum asserted in sworn testimony.

Banks have a fiduciary duty to report fraud. In the past, courts have found banks liable for damages due to their failure to report fraud.

“Given the benefit of the doubt that they didn’t know, with hundreds of thousands of dollars flowing through the bank, they should have had some oversight,” Cooper added.


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Member Opinions:

By: AuntMillie on 12/29/08

Check out Sundays front page of the Tribune: "Luxury living mother and son now share underwear…" Ha ha ha.

By: nosedatruth on 12/25/08

Superior reporting? My ass. A real reporter would double-check his/her "facts" before publishing, and avoid innuendo and speculation. A real reporter would reveal that she has an axe to grind against the Porter famiy because she was fired from a previous position with their newspaper. A real reporter wouldn't have to pimp his own web site with anonymous back-pats trumpeting that the reader is so impressed he is going to donate through Pay-Pal. A real reporter wouldn't block this post – we'll see if you do.

By: shingh on 12/21/08

HOB has filed a multi million default notice on Hertel and Fowler via there SLO-HAAS,LLC in addition I saw Friday at the SMR hearing Fowler and Rossi taling about how to squeeze more money from the phony LLC's lenders to avoid the creditors. Two parcels of SMR are going to auction in days and Fowler and Rossi told there Lawyer Paul Metchik to make a new fake LLC to maybe buy back the parcels at a reduced figure since they have already bilked the lenders out of millions and now could do it again under an assumed name and LLC.

By: Jordan on 12/19/08

This site is a service to the citizens of SLO County. This is information that would never appear in local print or on the news. I've noticed that what little does end up in the established press doesn't appear until long after these stories are reported on this site.

HOB is going to have some explaining to do. Unfortunately the wheels of justice move slowly.

By: CarolAnnRiley on 12/16/08

To Wiseguy:

Weyrich's name has been starting to pop up in circles around town. Actually it's been coming up for the last couple of years and the talk is that he's in serious financial trouble and over extended. What have you heard about his connections with HOB?

By: WiseGuy on 12/7/08

Tip: Trace David Weyrich's connection to Heritage Oaks Bank.

By: shingh on 12/6/08

My friend had a meeting with two officials from HOB yesterday, concerning the liquidation of property on Santa Margarita Ranch area, from what i have learned thus far Private Investigator Stevan Roselind of LOOKOUT PI of Cambria and SLO who is actively searching for Robert Fowler to serve him with legal papers over a massive financial fraud, as we have been told, Affinty Bank, Cathy Bank, HOB, Bank of America and many many more are all going after this Hertel & Fowler. The problem is out of Texas for some odd reason a Criminal Investigation is unwinding with these guys for some very and I stress VERY serious charges all to do with there dealing of wrong doing in SLO. One judge has been named as a target of this probe for being to cozy with Fowler and Ron Hertel apparently Victoria Henely of the State Judicial Commission she is spear heading a removal notice on this SLO judge, my bet is this will all come down next year once Hertel and Fowler file Bankruptcy and the Federal Investigations can focus on the fraud element. I do hope you guys start digging sooner rather than later AEGON of Iowa is out over $7 Million Dollars on the Santa Margarita Ranch with Rossi, Wittstrom, Filliponi and many more, Paul Metchik and Robin Rossi hold the cards and files located at 750 Pismo St in SLO. Agent Boden of USG is well aware and has interviewed many of my friends on this very case it is a Hughe fraud and investors and Stock holders are being told to di-vest from several of these banks.

By: beaucoup on 12/6/08

oh, how it hurts to

hold on-sadly, i had to

learn this from a thief

By: Nameless on 12/6/08


You could be right. When Ron Cooper proves HOB's foreknowledge of EFI finacial troubles, possibly knowing the ongoing PONZY operation, sell all your stocks in the bank. Better yet, start shorting it agressively. There are examples for similar lawsuits and the bank paid up dearly.

By: Booty_Juice on 12/6/08

Cooper is realizing that a judgement against a crook = no payment, so he is simply thrashing around for someone who can pay. The people who gave their money to the various north county inbred, pikey mongs will soon be doing the same – looking for someone, anyone, with a checkbook to bail them out.

I would put his chances of prevailing against HOB at right around zero.

The lesson: Stupid hurts!

Of the tens of millions of dollars (hundreds of millions) that the various North County Citizens Of The Year have stolen from their brilliant friends and neighbors, how much do you think will eventually be recovered?

The lesson: White collar crime pays for the conscienceless and forgiven Christians.

By: missy on 12/5/08

Wasn't HOB involved in shady dealings with the old Block and Bauer mess in the North County 20 plus years ago.

By: drumsrlrl on 12/5/08

I have lived in this county for about 25 years and have worked for SLO County for over 20 years. I must say the news you report is rather boring.

I continue to check your web site to see if you have something of interest – but you don't. Maybe I am wrong, but I can't see this site lasting much longer.

Sorry for the negative feedback.

By: Obama on 12/5/08

Sorry, but you guys are in WAY over your head. And Cooper needs to get another lawyer — but then, I'm guessing he's telling his lawyer what to do.

Liens, encumbered… the service stations are going concerns — not homes. Just one distinction y'all should think about.

Once I get to D.C. I'll straighten this mess out.

By: Newsome on 12/5/08


You guys kick *ss. I am paypalling my donation now.

By: shingh on 12/5/08

Superior Investigative Reporting, keeping us informed is paramount to Justice, our Local DA and others have failed over and over as have The Tribune. I remember some months ago your site had good solid information on HOB trying to scare you into revealing sources. Now the Criminal Investigations are going on and since the Federal Gov't is involved that is good, I have NO trust in the DA's office. Recently a local PI and former Investigative Reporter who says he owns LOOKOUT Investigations has been asking lots of questions and looking to serve legal papers on the Hertel & Fowler Group. Some of my friends have in fact been contacted by several Federal Agencies and Banking Officials on Criminal Investigations on Fraudulent Loans, Money Laundering, Banking Fraud, Loan Application Fraud, Insider Fraud, Tax Fraud and Tax Evasion. HOB was mentioned as one of the many banks in this probe, including those involved in the Santa Margartia Ranch and it's many partners. So stay on these people, and hopefully THE TRIBUNE will wake up !

By: Joe on 12/5/08

"their service stations" Is this why so many Chevron stations in Morro, Templeton est have yellow ribbons around the old pump tree?