BULL STREET - The art of the Con

Dr. Noe I Presume

The great majority of white collar criminals never get much attention because they don’t last that long in the dog eat dog world of theft. Those that can endure the trials and tribulations of fleecing and shaking down innocent victims for decades and still manage to walk around as free men are folk heroes of a sort. Such a man is Dr. Noe, or Clif Goldstein as he was christened has done more than his share and still seems for the most part unscathed by the experience.

Washington, DC, February 14, 2002 — The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday filed fraud charges against career swindler Clif Goldstein — long known to criminal law authorities as "Dr. Noe" — for bilking at least 20 investors out of nearly $1.1 million in an elaborate fraud known as a prime bank scheme. The lawsuit also names Goldstein's older brother, Paul Howe Noe, and two Boca Raton, Fla. companies run by the brothers, Great American Trust Co. and Great American Trust Corp.”

"Dr. Noe," whose multi-million dollar swindles have been widely chronicled in U.S. newspapers and abroad for decades, is a high school dropout from Texas who has sometimes claimed to be highly educated in order to gain the confidence of his victims. Goldstein, 71, formerly Clifford Dixon Noe, has a criminal record as a con man that dates back to the 1970s that includes multiple convictions and prison sentences for wire fraud, mail fraud and forgery. Goldstein's brother, Paul Noe, 74, also has an extensive criminal record, including convictions and prison sentences for embezzlement, larceny and wire fraud.”

The SEC complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court in Columbia, S.C., alleges that Goldstein, Noe and their companies sold wholly fictitious securities that they described as "stand-by letters of credit" sold by "top ten European banks." Four other defendants named in the complaint—Carolyn Kaplan, Noel Alelov, Russell B. Gerstein and Nuell W. Paschal—served as "finders" who were paid for locating and luring potential victims.

The prime bank schemes were promoted through in-person solicitations and over the Internet, according to the complaint. Victims who were targeted typically included individuals associated with cash-strapped companies in urgent need of financing and sophisticated investors looking for high returns in short periods of time. In some instances, the defendants promised to double investors' money in 13 weeks. Instead, the complaint charges, they pocketed the money for their own personal use.

This recent press release doesn’t begin to tell you the story. Goldstein had already become so famous that when the first of the Ian Fleming books were turned into motion pictures it leading character was Dr. No, a ruthless criminal who operated from an isolated but magnificent Caribbean Island. While there is little connection between the two other than the name, obviously Fleming himself had become obsessed with the man’s life.

He was born in 1930 in Seminole Oklahoma and attended public schools in Denison, Texas. However, in spite of no one every having seen him in school after puberty, he holds degrees from such auspicious non existent religiously affiliated universities as Methodist University, Florida Christian University and Texas Baptist University. Probably, while attending these institutions in his dreams he became the possessor of numerous alphabetical abbreviations; B.B.A., Ph.D., L.L.D., J.D.S., and C.L.U. One would conclude from this list that he was trying to pass himself of as a Christian Lawyer with advanced scholastic education. However, while these degrees are all fictions and the schools only existed in the mind of Noe and in the elegant stationary, he had printed at great cost, he was unequalled in his knowledge of insurance and banking.

Noe also came with a pedigree. It seems that his grandfather was a Van der Noe and had Americanized it when he immigrated here from either the Netherlands, France or Germany over a century ago. It seems that Dr. Noe was in the process of acquiring an investment bank in London and needed to establish his bonifides. Along with this background came the public relations release, which explained the matter in no uncertain terms?

“…is the “Financial Consultant to Franchise Fund International S. A., and the Insurance Company of the Americas Ltd. Dr. Noe is also Financial Consultant to the International Mission Services Inc., which holds a controlling interest in Franchise Fund International S.A. and, in addition, is Financial Consultant to Trans Oceanic Investments Ltd., which is a company registered in the Grand Cayman Islands; Central Capital Corporation of Louisiana, and the First National Bank of the Americas Ltd., which has recently been registered in British Honduras. He is a former Professor of Estate Law at the Southern Methodist University of Dallas, Texas, and is currently Professor of finance at Florida Christian University at Fort Lauderdale, where he normally resides… Dr. Noe is the former owner of ten banks and twenty-two insurance companies operating in different parts of the world.”

With a background such as that, you would certainly want Dr. Noe to be helping you with your own affairs. However, the only institution listed above that is real is the Southern Methodist University of Dallas and they never heard of him. No matter, the man has a good resume and you can knock but he still has it and that makes him something. Special from where I sit. Goldstein or Noe had a brother that was three years older by the name of Paul and the two began serious criminal activity by being arrested but later acquitted of burglary in Sherman, Texas.

The two brothers soon went their separate ways with Clifford going to work for Connecticut General Insurance while Paul became a small time thief. However, Clif soon tired of legitimate work and joined his brother in his chosen profession. While Clif was always known as a doctor of something or other, brother Paul opted for a pseudo career as a Mormon bishop. While over the years, they made their mark by acquiring numerous businesses such as savings and loan associations, insurance companies and banks. Once they had gotten control of the Great Southern Savings and Loan Association along with the Washington-Insured Savings and Loan in Jackson, Mississippi, they were ready to spread their wings.

The association’s favorite client became C. D. Dixon who really had a lot of imaginary money. The money came from the Noe brothers’ intricate accounting system, which was able temporarily to transfer funds into and out of the illusionary Mr. Dixon’s account whenever there was someone waiting to be fleeced. Dixon’s loaded passbooks were used regularly to get loans from nave bankers against his guarantee. Phony numbers were given the bankers as to where they could check the accounts and partner’s in crime of the Noe’s would always assure the lamb waiting to fleeced that Dixon was good as gold. However, the banks that were on the receiving end of the thefts became very unhappy with getting screwed in this way and the brothers were indicated for their efforts. However, they had already made their mark in the world as a national bank in Texas had already been declared insolvent because of their actions.

The Noe’s were moving up in the world and their next score came when the purchased the First National Bank of Levelland. This was done simply be pledging the banks shares along with substantial fictional collateral in non existent companies and borrowing the money from several non affiliated banks. In this transaction, one of the banks lending the money to the Noe's was Brighton National, which was already controlled by criminal elements affiliated with the brothers. Once in control they hurriedly transferred $500,000 back to the Brighton National in an account guaranteeing their loan. In this way, the Noe family would not have to worry about defaulting to the Mafia, something that could have been fatal.

Dr. Noe and his brother continued playing it fast and loose transferring money between their institutions at will and drawing whatever they needed for their own needs. Loans literally were only made to companies under their own control. However, they had not thought the matter through as carefully as they should have and a young president of the Levelland Bank made the disastrous mistake of asking the Brighton National for its deposit back. Among other unseemly events brought about this oversight was another visit from the feds. They had been in and out of the deal in only four weeks and had yet to make a big score. Concerned that they would be jailed without even getting the benefit of the bank’s money, the brothers transferred nearly $2 million of its money to their account in a bank in Coral Gables, Florida and from their it was wired to Lords Bank and Trust Company in Nassau.

Lords was naturally controlled by criminals from Chicago and had the transfer really occurred, they would have been home free, but it didn’t as Government Officials stopped the transfer in its tracks. Brighton also collapsed in the process so when the smoke had cleared the Noe’s had taken down, Brighton, Levelland and Lords while leaving other lending banks mortally wounded and they hadn’t yet made a penny in the deal. Sounds a tad like the gang that couldn’t shoot straight. However, they were learning the ropes and we ready for even bigger game. Dr. Noe had a brilliant idea, The Brighton Bank National’s financing had been done with phony paper and when it collapsed, the 17th Street National Bank in Denver was stuck for big money. The good Dr. approached the bank and offered to buy the shares of Brighton owned by 17th Street. He was rejected on the spot, possibly because the banker did not like his looks. At least that was what Noe thought and he went outside, changed clothes and put one of his arms in black sling, changed his name and proposed the same plan to another officer. He was not any nicer and intimated that he would call the police if he saw either Noe or whatever he called his alter ego again. Noe got out of the as fast as he could, but for sheer chutzpah, this probably is an award winner.

By this time, the Noe’s had climbed the criminal ladder and were in cahoots with a large group of white collar thugs. They did business on a regular basis with folks from the Teamsters Union as well as some criminally dominated insurance companies. Fees were transferred freely out of the coffers places and called retainer and finders fees. No one ever suspected that it was a form of looting that paid handsomely and was really never checked. However, within all of this morass, the Noe’s were now big time as the a Congressional Committee, the McClellan Committee had been formed just to investigate them and their associates. It was said that all of those failures in Texas were giving then President Johnson a bad name and one or two of the brother’s associates were sent to the “big house” for short periods of time supposedly based on Johnson’s insistence.

In 1965 grand jury indictments came down against Clifford and Paul and seeing that the could possibly go to prison the health of both of the brothers, still in their 30s at this point, deteriorated inordinately. Not only had these men become instantaneously, medical basket cases but unbelievably, their lawyer was suddenly bedridden with a slipped disk. However, justice was not to be dissuaded and the trial went on. However, the lawyer for the brothers was a miracle worker of sorts and in a deal with the government he was able to have numerous charges telescoped by agreeing to have them plead guilty to others. Now having had the scores of charges reduced to a working number, he could do his magic. First, he pointed out that no one had ever been injured due to anything either Clifford or Paul had ever done. Furthermore, he pointed to the fact that the brothers were only trying to create a small estate for their families and had become overzealous. In addition, Paul had just become married in an era of broken homes and was seriously ill having had his colon removed and suffered from unenviable medical problems that he would possibly inflect upon other inmates should he be incarcerated.

However, the lawyer was only gearing up and went on to extol virtues unheard of regarding the character of the two men. The entire courtroom was in tears when he had finished and Noe brothers got off with five-year suspended sentences and three years of probation. The lawyer had won an unwinable case and the Noe brothers pulled up stakes and moved to New Orleans. From that outpost the soon took over and raided the Central Capital Corporation of Denham Springs, American Physicians Life Insurance Company, Central Capital, American Empire Insurance Company, Pioneer Mortgage Company, Old Commonwealth Life Insurance and Glas-Foam Corporation a public company. They used the stock in these companies to continue their roll but Glas-Foam would be their first experience in the arena of public companies and it happened in 1969.

Glas-Foam was public but not an operating company when they gained control but they soon but substantial phony assets into it. The stock soared and they used the rising stock to make acquisitions by the score. They stocked the board of directors with a group of well known but unsuspecting dups. This helped create the necessary credibility to acquire what they wanted. However, the brothers saw that being a public company brought a transparency to their business, which was unacceptable. The didn’t take long to walk away from Glas-Foam, but when they did they left a bankrupt company with thousands of angry shareholders and numerous creditors and lawsuits. However, Dr. Noe was now the business of dealing in Certificates of Deposit.

Through a set of intricate maneuvers, Dr. Noe came into possession of a number of CDs that had nebulous value. However, he was able to get the National Bank of Miami to endorse the fact that it had value. Noe then deposited the CDs into the London branch of First National City Bank. While it seemed to have been well laundered and was now resting in a prestigious location, the fact that the maker of the CD, one Benjamin Blount Jr. had died sometime before he had endorsed it. That created a temporary logistical problem but while reflecting on this detail another equally problematic event occurred. It now turned out that the bank that had written the CDs, Societe Anonyme de Refinancement Toutes Operations Financieres had been having a rather troublesome time with countless forgeries bouncing back on them.

The fact that the CDs began bouncing around like rubber balls didn’t seem to bother the Doctor in the least, although his con seemed to be falling apart because, one of his associates in crime, Herman Brann, the head of Societe and a New York consultant of sorts began making waves about all of the paper written on his bank that was floating around. Eventually, some of the folks in the British Government listened to what Brann was saying and pressed charges against Noe in a London Court. Being in London anyway, Noe meet with a nascent English Banker by the name of Major Edwin Henry Marley. Noe dropped names to Marley as though they were going out of style. However, after rattling off one senior official of various government that he was associated with, Noe climaxed the introduction telling the Major that he was administering the funds for the Eastern Orthodox Church. While there is no organization that bears this name, the Major didn’t know that at the time and was duly impressed.

Dr. Noe proposed to somewhat more than $2 million into the Major’s bank and in turn, Noe would get a controlling interest. The parities agreed to terms and to seal the deal, Noe put the $5 million CD with the phony Ben Blount up as collateral. A press conference was held with all of the parties and the deal was announced. Furthermore, Noe presented his list of directors for the bank, which knocked the sock off of all concerned. They all had impeccable resumes that stretched for yards. It was an impressive start and was covered by the press in some depth. However, the agreement would not activate until the Bank of England agreed to Noe’s CD because it had come from the U.S.

In England, there was a rule that in if a new Certificate of Deposit were printed, the printer doing the engraving was obligated to report the matter to Bank of England. However, the deed was done on Christmas eve and there was no one to report the event too. Knowing that fact, the Dr. had gone to one printer to do the front of the certificate and another to do the back. The people that were doing the front appropriately reported the incident but as Noe has suspected, no one was in to take the call. The second printer assumed that his competition had already made the report; the end result was 100 brand new counterfeited certificates of deposit that Dr. Noe could use for his nefarious operation. Moreover, the deal closed on time and there would soon be serious consequences.

Noe got the Major to agree to starting the banking operation even before the Bank had approved it. Marley reluctantly agreed to do it and gave letters of introductions to two Canadian banks and a Toronto law firm to Noe and his brother. The Brothers arrived in Canada with a letter from Major Marley giving them full discretion on bank affairs and armed with the introductions, the letter and 100 brand spanking new blank certificates of deposit; Noe was soon in pig haven. However, one of the printers that had made up the CDs finally had gotten through to the Bank of England and Marley explained the situation away by saying they would not be used until permission had been granted. Noe for his part agreed to write specimen copy on the face of each one. He wrote it on one or two when suddenly his fingers became very tired. He never finished.

Noe was soon offered numerous opportunities literally to mint money. In one case, he was able to exchange three Certificates of Deposit amounting to $1.2 million for the same amount of silver. However, the silver was in drums and the ore couldn’t be separated from the other elements that made up the amalgam. However, the CDs weren’t worth paper that they were printed on in either case and at least Noe had a lot of silver maybe when he could figure out what to do with it. About this time, the Bank of England rejected the Noe - Marley deal because too many people that Noe had on the Board of Transcontinental Industries were untraceable. Noe was non plused, he began issuing silver certificates against the drums as quick as he could write them out. Moreover, Noe continued to live well in London on Marley’s expense account and ran up horrendous bills that the Major paid for a time and then blew his cork.

However, not knowing that he had been cut off from the golden goose, Noe ran up a gigantic bill and when the owner called the Major to confirm an audacious amount and Noe didn’t have the cash, the police were called and the Dr. went to jail. While there, the police ransacked his hotel apartment and found some of the blank certificates of deposit. This along with all of the rest of the tools of a counterfeiter’s trade were boxed up and put aboard a truck. Noe was not allowed out on bail and with good reason. He was trying to write his own bail bond on a company he controlled by the name of Ripley Investments. However, when presented with the bond they found that another den of thieves. This cinched the deal for a time.

However, Noe soon bounced when his brother started collecting on the CDs by selling them in Canada and the United States. Among other things, he was able to produce the original publicity when Chips had originally gone on the bank’s board. His wild wheeling and dealing in the CDs created an outbreak of phony collateral being used to purchase legitimate businesses never before seen in the United States or for that matter probably any where in the world. In order to facilitate the frauds, Paul Noe started opening branches of Marley’s bank all over the United States so that the lambs could be slaughtered in credibility and style. Naturally, neither the Bank of England nor Marley were aware of these branches. Everyone was now getting royally fleeced and Paul Noe was having a ball.

Simultaneously, a Noe owned company called Fincora started to get serious about their advanced fee lending operations. Fincora would agree to make a loan to someone, but required an extensive credit check of the particulars. They would ask for a substantial fee in front to both facilitate the loan and conduct the check. Moreover, they would tell borrowers that the loan would be approved in approximately seven days. If they had not heard otherwise by that time, they should go to office of the Wellington Bank Ltd, a Nassau bank with an office in New York City. Naturally, many showed up and no one received any money from the Wellington who had never heard of any of the.

As for the Noe Brothers, once the money was in their grubby little hands they proceeded to forget about who gave it to them and thus made numerous enemies. However, by this time the Noe’s were so jaded, nothing matters any more. They were in it for the excitement, money they already had. However, the Wellington Bank in New York, which had no office in Nassau officials, became so concerned that they called the FBI who had already heard of Fincora and of course, everyone had heard of Dr. Noe. However, by the time the agents raided the Fincora headquarters, the Noe’s were long gone and by this time were in the Southern United States merrily selling paper supposedly written by the Island and Overseas Bank on Alderney. Of course this stuff wasn’t any better than anything else the Noe’s peddled.

Clifford Noe was indicted along with seven others in 1972 for the Fincora swindles. His brother pleaded guilty in October of 1972, of three counts of forgery and received the lenient sentence of 7-years in the slammer for his troubles. However, England is relatively lenient and to the best of our knowledge, he was released earlier. You can see from the opening statement that Dr. Noe is still vital at the age of 72. His mind appears alert and it would appear that he will be having his meals served to him courtesy of Uncle Sam, for some time to come.

 

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