YOU ARE THE JURY
 
This weeks current case: Shelton vs. Burnett

In the case of Maureen Shelton vs. Larry Burnett, Ms. Shelton, age 46, testifies that Larry Burnett, age 53, seduced her, manipulated her and in effect conspired to deplete her financial resources and abused her psychologically. The end result left her penniless and suffering financially enough to take a second job to pay for debts incurred by Mr. Shelton. All this after a short affair that only lasted five months.

In this presentation the statements will be separated by different background colors to distinguish their origins. Color key as follows:

Maureen Shelton
Larry Burnett
Producers Notes

I have worked in medical billing for eleven years. I met Larry Burnett at a medical billing conference in June 14, 2001. He represented himself as a doctor who had several medical offices up and down the West Coast. He was very charming, convincing and invited me to have lunch with him. I live in the same geological area where the conference was held, and Mr. Burnett represented that he had flown there to attend from his office in San Francisco.

He was the nicest man I have ever met. He was very complimentary and exhibited a wonderful vocabulary. He was well-groomed and had a loving personality. As we visited over lunch, we discovered that we had suffered a poor selection of companions in the past. He was staying at a nice hotel, gave me his business card, room number, hotel room phone and cell phone number, then asked me for a dinner date.

On the dinner date, he displayed only the best manners. I noticed that he was very well kept. Although he may not have been the best looking man I had ever met, he was kind, had a generous personality, high-quality clothing and an attractive appearance. Not one hair was out of place and even his fingernails appeared to be professionally groomed.

He picked up the bill for an expensive dinner and left a $100 tip for the waitress. We then went out for drinks and continued to show that he was a more-than-generous tipper. He was a perfect gentleman.

He valued my opinions about the medical industry and mentioned that he was considering opening an office in my hometown. He said that he would like to take care of me. I would have no further financial worries if I would consider being his office manager. He offered me a starting salary of $150,000 a year to run his local office.

Ms. Shelton's testimony and supposed 'proof,' is all very amusing, but I think that all of America can see right through her desperate attempt to victimize me. Yes, I did meet her at a conference and we did date a few times. She was the one that tried to get me to invest in her cockamamie idea to open a new-age alternative treatment center in ------ (her home town).

Her idea was destined for failure, but I humored her as she pursued her futile dream. I never once suggested being her partner in anything and certainly not marriage. I never did engage in sexual intercourse with Ms. Shelton, and I think that is one of the reasons that she has targeted me in some sort of 'Fatal Attraction' scenario. I think what is needed here, is that Ms. Shelton seek some kind of professional psychological evaluation before she does harm to herself or someone else. She's obviously a very disturbed individual and I truly feel sorry for her.

I do admit to stretching-the-truth a bit. I did tell her I was a doctor, but I never told her what kind of 'Doctor' I am, I have a PhD in Philosophy.

I do have three offices on the West Coast, one in California, one in Oregon and one in Washington, as well as several other businesses that I operate and/or am associated with across the United States.

There is no crime against being a big tipper. I'm not sure why she would be concerned about the tip, unless she were a prostitute, maybe, or needed the money for herself.

I never said that I would take care of her, and offering her a salary to be a manager is ludicrous. Never happened.

We spent the next week looking at offices. I drove him in my car, so that we didn't have to use taxis, and it gave us more time to get to know each other better. He said that he was very picky about the type of office that he would practice out of because, 'image is everything.' He said that he would rather buy a building outright, paying cash because he could take full advantage the tax deductions.

We finally settled on a location, although it was not available for sale, only for lease. He showed me pictures of his other offices and said that this would fit in nicely, so he began pushing for the owners to sell and offered to cash them out.

As we began to spend more and more time together, I learned more and more about him. He had told me of his ex-wife's affair with one of his partners which forced him to dissolve the partnership and become sole owner. Not long thereafter he incorporated in Delaware to avoid attachment of his personal finances. He also mentioned that after his divorce that he generously takes care of his wife and children financially regardless of her indiscretions 'for the sake of the children.' They had relocated and were currently living in Arizona.

I never showed her any pictures of my 'offices' nor do I remember ever telling her about their locations. I do remember telling her that if she were to pursue her alternative treatment center, to be careful about location and perception, but that's just common sense.

I did tell her I was divorced and had children, just in conversation and she's just making up stories about what I said, though I never said those things.

He was on the phone a lot and noted that we should get a cell phone for him to use for this new office. He said that I was so helpful that he would like me to be a partner in the new office and we would form a new corporation and that I would be the vice-president. Now I would be earning even more money and would have the financial strength to buy a new, more luxurious home. I must admit that is when I began to fall for him and one night, while my daughter was at my mother's home for the weekend, we did seek each other for physical comfort. I was falling in love with the man.

Although I look back in retrospect and feel like a fool, I was rather caught up in the moment and somewhat mesmerized, as I invited him to consider co-habitating with me. He refused at first, but did allow me to talk him into it. I can see, now, that he was controlling me and my thoughts and taking every opportunity to take advantage of me.

She hints that there was some lurid sexual affair, but I never had sex with this woman. I did stay a couple of nights at her home, while I was in town on other business - and that was probably against my better judgment - but I was trying to offer her some kind of emotional support, although I don't know why.

He moved in -- which my daughter was somewhat reluctant about -- until he showed up with a two-year-old mustang convertible that he was going to buy her as a graduation present. In private, he suggested that I go ahead and finance the car temporarily and he would have the cash transferred from his account to mine, then I could pay off the financing in full before the first payment was due. We went to the dealer to make the arrangements, and we also picked up a new truck for him to drive, locally, which he would also pay for.

We signed partnership papers, which he said was merely a formality, that he kept in his briefcase. He also formerly proposed and we set a wedding date for June 22, 2002, although he never did give me an engagement ring.

I did help her pick out a vehicle for her daughter's graduation, and she did lease - at least I was under the impression that she had leased - a truck for her company, and I did drive it around town for a couple days, but I was unaware of any other details about any car-deals.

He had to fly out to San Francisco to take care of business while I followed up on some of the details locally. While he was gone, I had to put a non-returnable deposit on the business property, which he said he would reimburse to me. Around this time, the first payments were due on the automobiles. When I talked to him on the phone that night, he said not to worry, that he had made certain to have the cash electronically transferred to my account. I could simply right checks from my personal account to pay off the vehicles in full. He said that the cash was already in my account to pay for the vehicles and the deposit on the property.

After he returned from San Francisco he was somewhat disturbed that I had not written a check for the vehicles in his absence but said that we would take care of it the following day. Later that same afternoon, I received a call from my bank, that I was overdrawn.

How could that be? He quickly got on the phone with the person from the bank that had called and asked to talk to the bank manager. After a long discourse with the bank manager (which I only observed Larry's side of the conversation) it was determined that something was amiss with the electronic transfer. The bank agreed to extend me credit for 48 hours in order to give Larry enough time to correct the problem.

Like I said, this is just another example of good story-telling. This probably IS the story that she told her bank, financial consultants and family, because, as many people suffering from depression do, she worked herself into a financial situation that she couldn't deal with.

It turns out, according to Larry, that one of the patients of one of his doctors had died and the family had filed a malpractice suit against his practice. I know how money-hungry some of these people are who would want to take advantage of the system, I hated the fact that they would go maliciously after my Larry, but I was certain that we would come out of this fine, as it would be up to his insurance carrier to ultimately work out the details and financial award to the 'victim.' In the meantime, his assets were temporarily frozen.

Because of this, Larry began to spend more and more time away from me, on the road, 'putting out fires.' There were times that I felt abandoned but realized that he would take care of everything. In the meantime, the bills were mounting up, I had quit my job, my home was put up for sale and I was becoming more and more anxious each day.

On one phone call, I expressed my desire to go ask for my old job back, and he was adamant that I not do so. He still insisted that he would work everything out, all he wanted was a couple more days.

Then, one night, Larry showed up at my home in the middle of the night. He was somewhat frantic, stating that someone that he had put behind bars as a Drug Enforcement Officer had gotten out of prison and was going to retaliate. He said that he didn't want to put me, or my daughter, at risk. He collected his things and left abruptly. He kissed me, told me that he loved me, and said that he would be back and everything would be okay by week's end.

That was the last time I saw him, since he left, I lost my home and now live in an apartment. I was able to get my old job back, I've had to cash-out my retirement in order to make good on some of the debts that he had not made good on and have had to take a second job just to barely get-by.

More clever story-telling trying to explain why her lover, who supposedly created all this financial burden, disappeared leaving her unexpectedly with all these bills yet owing.

The cars went back to the dealer and I am responsible for the difference between the amount they were able to auction them for and the total amount of my notes, plus interest, and my daughter now tells me that she felt 'creepy' around him because he was always trying to teach her martial arts and touching her inappropriately while doing so, which she failed to mention to me at the time because she knew that I was in love with him and she wanted me to be happy.

I did talk to an attorney and did some investigating to find out the truth, that I had been taken to the cleaners by an experienced con-artist. The lawyer told me that there was little that I could do to pursue the man legally because he was very cunning and made certain to exploit all available legal loopholes.

I am a fifth-degree black belt, but I never did any tutoring with Maureen's daughter. That's just an attempt get your viewers to side with her in an attempt to further discredit me.

I also discovered that his ex-wife her husband and new family live 2 hours away from me in the same state that I live in. He does not support them financially, except to drop in occasionally to shower them with gifts, but has never paid a cent in child support. Larry's mother lives about 40 minutes from me, was born and raised near here and raised her family as Catholics.

He never did have any medical practice, was never a Doctor or instructor at Dartmouth University, has no degree of any kind, has never had a paying job in his life, has never filed an IRS form or paid taxes and has left a long line of victims just like me. His life of crime started when he was seventeen and he has only gotten progressively better since then. He has done a few years of prison time and les than one percent of his victims even attempt to file any legal action against him. Most, like me, are just terribly embarrassed that they would let something like this happen to them.

I never told her where my family lived, or was from. Nor did I tell her about my religious background. Never came upů Except, now that I think about it, I think I did mention that I had attended a Jewish wedding. She must have extrapolated the rest of the story on her own.

Financial Losses:

Non-refundable deposit for retail property: $2,500.00
Long distance telephone bill 3,687.12
Business cell phone service & charges 2,917.60
Business credit card charges 7,492.77
Balance of auto transactions 18,908.35
  ------------
Total 35,505.84

This is the best part. One thing that I've learned from Ms. Shelton is this: You can make up anything about anyone, tell it to people, then tell people that the other person lied, and what can you say? Nothing, because if you're testifying that someone was lying and you have no proof, then what's the point? You can't prove it. There is nothing to prove.

I think that she's looking for a financial scapegoat. The fact that she pursued this public venue rather than a real court, is somewhat proof of that? If she had a leg to stand on, don't you think that this would have been presented in a real courtroom in front of a real judge?

Don't' get me wrong, I think what you're trying to do here is a good thing. I think that letting Ms. Shelton weave her fictictious story before a leering audience is akin to someone telling a parable or fairy tale. This story obviously has a moral to it, that is why I decided to humor her and participate.

If nothing else it is a good story with an excellent moral. If a situation, like this were ever to happen to a real woman, definitely don't go there without checking your facts first.

A secondary (but less effective) sub-moral, is that if you can't take responsibility for your own actions, just make up some story about being scammed by a one-night-stand and then you don't have to worry your conscious about it. If you can sleep at night after telling such a story, hey, that's a separate issue.

Ms. Shelton did provide us with full financial documentation of losses. Her testimony appears to be credible. She never did receive a copy of the partnership agreement that she testifies that she signed and gave to Mr. Burnett.

Mr. Burnett did not have any evidence to submit because he says these things never took place at all. He was very convincing and seemed to be as charming as Ms. Shelton had reported him as being.

Follow up:

Ms. Shelton provided us with additional information and copies of credit card receipts with Mr. Burnett's signature that she claims substantiates her claims.

When confronted with the receipts, Mr. Burnett stated that they were not his actual signature but forgeries signed by Ms. Shelton. He refused to supply us with any further documentation or examples of his signature to compare.

Now, it is up you, the jury to decide:

YOU ARE THE JURY

Your ruling in favor of  
Maureen Shelton
Larry Burnett
Niether Shelton or Burnett

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