Former Oaseas colleagues are now adversaries [The News Herald, Panama City, Fla.]
(News Herald (Panama City, FL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Aug. 24--PANAMA CITY BEACH -- The entanglements involving Oaseas Resorts LLC and the ongoing police investigation into fraud allegations has resulted in a rift between the two men who once ran the company.
Thomas J. Duggan, the man at the center of the Oaseas controversy, has hired a forensic accountant to help sift through the financials to try and learn what happened to the money, including $2.2 million Duggan has charged that his former colleague, Marty McDaniel, took before exiting the company in March, according to a Panama City Beach Police report filed last week.
Duggan has hired Glen Gillyard of the Destin-based accounting firm of Carr, Riggs and Ingram to review the Oaseas books.
"We are going to find out what happened one way or the other," Gillyard said.
The hiring of Gillyard comes after the latest allegation that McDaniel ran off with as much as $2.2 million.
McDaniel has denied the allegations.
"There have been false allegations made and I'd have to refer all questions to [my attorney] Rusty Shepard," McDaniel said.
According to Shepard, McDaniel is not under investigation by authorities regarding fraud at the company. Shepard said his client is working with authorities.
"He is being viewed as a witness and not a suspect," Shepard said.
Oaseas allegedly defrauded as many as 300 of the company's customers.
Calls to Duggan regarding this article were not returned.
Meanwhile, State Attorney Glenn Hess said the probe into the business dealings at Oaseas investigation likely will include his office and other state agencies.
"This is an economic crime; it isn't like [a] 'somebody hit me' kind of thing," Hess said. "It's a bit more difficult."
Oaseas and Duggan have been under scrutiny for more than two weeks now as customers continue to complain he defrauded them of money owed in a real estate deal.
The company, which closed earlier this month, was hired to manage more than 800 real estate properties in Panama City Beach and South Walton and collect funds the property owners say were never paid.
Late last week, former employees went to the offices to get their last checks.
Some received their checks and some did not, according to Katherine Castro, who worked inside the Oaseas business offices at 415 Richard Jackson Blvd.
According to Castro, Oaseas made the employees sign a confidentiality agreement to get their checks. Some employees had a regular payroll check plus a reimbursement check due to them, Castro said.
Only the payroll checks were released, she said.
"The reimbursement checks, we were told, were in a frozen account, and they were not sure if the funds would ever be released," Castro said.
The Panama City Beach Owners Alliance, formed by those who claim they have been defrauded by Oaseas, has retained an attorney.
(c)2013 The News Herald (Panama City, Fla.)
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