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Ex-husband of missing LA accountant suspects her disappearance may be linked to employer


The ex-husband of Heidi Planck says he suspects the missing 39-year-old Los Angeles accountant’s disappearance is linked to her job as he revealed that federal investigators called him to ask questions about her boss.

The Jim Wayne met Planck on October 17 to watch their 10-year-old son play football. He said she seemed ‘antsy’ and ‘edgy’ when they met.

After the game, Planck vanished. Police have released home surveillance footage of Heidi leaving her home with her dog, Seven, in the Reynier Village district of Los Angeles on October 17. 

She has not been seen since.

According to Wayne, he received a phone call from an official with the Securities and Exchange Commission on October 21 asking about Jason Sugarman, the managing partner at Camden Capital Partners LLC, the company that employs Planck.

Jim Wayne, the ex-husband of Heidi Planck, says he suspect’s the missing 39-year-old Los Angeles accountant’s disappearance is linked to her job as he revealed that federal investigators called him to ask questions about her boss. Jim Wayne is seen right with his then-wife in 2008

Jim Wayne met Planck on October 17 to watch their 10-year-old son play football. He said she seemed 'antsy' and 'edgy' when they met. After the game, Planck vanished

Jim Wayne met Planck on October 17 to watch their 10-year-old son play football. He said she seemed ‘antsy’ and ‘edgy’ when they met. After the game, Planck vanished

Home surveillance footage shows Planck leaving her home in the Reynier Village district of Los Angeles, with her dog Seven on October 17. She climbs into the Range Rover and drives off

Home surveillance footage shows Planck leaving her home in the Reynier Village district of Los Angeles, with her dog Seven on October 17. She climbs into the Range Rover and drives off

She vanished later that day after leaving her son's football game looking 'antsy' and the alarm was raised when she failed to pick him up from school three days later, on October 20

She vanished later that day after leaving her son’s football game looking ‘antsy’ and the alarm was raised when she failed to pick him up from school three days later, on October 20

Jason Sugarman, Planck's boss, has been charged by the SEC with participating in a $43 million fraud scheme

Jason Sugarman, Elizabeth Guber-Sugarman and their son are seen in May 2014. Sugarman is the managing partner of Camden Capital, where Planck works

According to Wayne, he received a phone call from an official with the Securities and Exchange Commission asking about Jason Sugarman (left), the managing partner at Camden Capital Partners LLC, the company that employs Planck. Pictured right: Jason with his wife Elizabeth Guber-Sugarman and their son in May 2014

‘I don’t know how she got my name and I don’t know how she got my number, but she called me and started asking me questions about Sugarman,’ Wayne told Fox Digital.

‘Something’s dirty here.’

Phone calls to Sugarman’s mobile went unanswered.

In 2019, Sugarman was charged by the SEC with hatching a fraudulent scheme that swindled $43million out of pension funds and left a Native American tribe $60million in debt.

Planck’s LinkedIn says she works as a controller at Camden Capital – a role which sees her overseeing all employees involved in the accounting process, including accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, inventory and compliance.

Sugarman is a minority owner of Los Angeles Football Club and son-in-law of Hollywood mogul Peter Guber, CEO of Mandalay Entertainment and owner of the Golden State Warriors NBA team.

Heidi Planck, 39, (pictured) was last seen at her 10-year-old son's football game in Los Angeles, on October 17. She was reported missing on October 20 when she failed to pick him up from school

Heidi Planck, 39, (pictured) was last seen at her 10-year-old son’s football game in Los Angeles, on October 17. She was reported missing on October 20 when she failed to pick him up from school

Jim Wayne, Planck's ex-husband, said that he knew something was deeply wrong when she failed to collect their son from school and filed a missing person report

Jim Wayne, Planck’s ex-husband, said that he knew something was deeply wrong when she failed to collect their son from school and filed a missing person report

Wayne, who has 50/50 custody of their son, said that last time her saw her, at their son's game, she had been 'a little bit edgy' but he didn't know why

Wayne, who has 50/50 custody of their son, said that last time her saw her, at their son’s game, she had been ‘a little bit edgy’ but he didn’t know why

He said that she wasn't due to pick up their son until October 20, but unusually, he didn't receive any calls or texts from her after she left the game

He said that she wasn’t due to pick up their son until October 20, but unusually, he didn’t receive any calls or texts from her after she left the game

In 2020, Sugarman’s business partner, Jason Galanis, was sentenced to 189 months in prison for his participation in multiple fraudulent schemes including the tribal bond scheme.

Camden Capital is an investment advisory firm that handles wealth management and legacy planning for prominent high net worth individuals.

Wayne said that Planck told friends and family that the company had ‘some tax filings that were due’ and had complained that ‘her boss has her name on so much of their corporate paperwork.’

He said that Planck’s apartment was raided by law enforcement officials last week, though it is unclear if it was a local or federal agency that conducted the raid.

The LAPD told DailyMail.com on Tuesday that it would not comment on any aspect of the investigation into Planck’s disappearance.

Wayne also said that investigators have taken possession of all of Planck’s electronic devices as well as those belonging to their 10-year-old son.

The dog, Seven, was found alone on the 28th floor of an apartment building in the Hope + Flower luxury residential tower in downtown Los Angeles – some 12 miles from her home.

Residents of the apartment complex cared for Seven until Wayne contacted the microchip company and tracked down its location.

According to Wayne, Planck had no connection to the building. He said he checked the parking garage a few days later and did not see her car there.

Wayne confirmed an earlier CBS 2 report which said that the owners of the building refused to cooperate with law enforcement when they were asked to hand over security footage. 

But after police served the owners with a warrant, they did, in fact, begin cooperating. 

Seven, Planck's dog (pictured together), was found alone wandering the corridors of an apartment building in downtown Los Angeles on October 17 and was traced to her via its microchip

Seven, Planck’s dog (pictured together), was found alone wandering the corridors of an apartment building in downtown Los Angeles on October 17 and was traced to her via its microchip

A couple who lived in the apartment block looked after the dog for a week as they were unable to get in touch with the owner, before Planck's ex-husband eventually tracked it down

A couple who lived in the apartment block looked after the dog for a week as they were unable to get in touch with the owner, before Planck’s ex-husband eventually tracked it down

Onni Group, a real estate development company, is the owner of the building, the Hope + Flower luxury residential complex in downtown Los Angeles.

DailyMail.com has reached out to Onni Group seeking comment. 

‘It’s an enormous building,’ Wayne said. 

‘So, I’m just, I’m totally bewildered by this. This is completely puzzling why we haven’t found out anything.’  

Wayne, who has 50/50 custody of their son, said that last time her saw her, at their son’s game, she had been ‘a little bit edgy’ but he didn’t know why.

‘The poor kid, man,’ Wayne said. 

‘He just needs to know what the hell happened to his mom. And he’s going to have to have some kind of closure somewhere.’ 

He said that she wasn’t due to pick up their son until October 20, but unusually, he didn’t receive any calls or texts from her after she left the game.

‘She doesn’t let a day go by without either a text message or a phone call, even if she was really busy,’ Wayne said. 

When she failed to pick up the boy from his school in Westwood, near Beverly Hills, on October 20, he knew something was deeply wrong.

‘She’s a devoted mother who would never, ever leave her son,’ Wayne told DateLine. 

‘She wouldn’t let a day go by without talking to her son, there’s no way.

The owners of the apartment building (pictured) in downtown LA where Planck's dog was found initially refused to cooperate with investigators and hand over footage without a warrant. According to Wayne, they started to cooperate after a warrant was issued

The owners of the apartment building (pictured) in downtown LA where Planck’s dog was found initially refused to cooperate with investigators and hand over footage without a warrant. According to Wayne, they started to cooperate after a warrant was issued

Planck's dog was found in an apartment inside the Hope + Flower luxury residential complex in downtown Los Angeles. DailyMail.com has reached out to the building's owner, the Onni Group, a real estate development firm, seeking comment

Planck’s dog was found in an apartment inside the Hope + Flower luxury residential complex in downtown Los Angeles. DailyMail.com has reached out to the building’s owner, the Onni Group, a real estate development firm, seeking comment 

‘We have a 10-year-old boy at home that’s looking for his mom and we just need to find her.’

That’s when he filed a missing persons report with the LAPD who found her home empty.

However, Wayne said they did find a text on her phone, which had been left behind, from a woman who had found her dog Seven and traced her via its microchip. 

Wayne said he’s desperate to get Planck back for the sake of their son, who turns 11 this week and doesn’t want to celebrate without his mom.

‘He was doing OK until he saw a photo of them the other day – and then he just broke down,’ he said. ‘He told me that he just wanted one more time to talk to her. That hurt. That was really painful.’

‘We’re just hoping for a miracle and that she comes home.’   

Law enforcement officials said that the abandoned dog raised red flags in the minds of investigators. 

‘People are very, very attached to their pets, and their pets do not just go missing,’ said Jarrod Burguan, a retired San Bernardino police chief. ‘There clearly is something out of place here.’

On Friday, federal agents and robbery homicide detectives from the LAPD entered her home with their guns drawn. 

Sources told CBS that officers believed they could be walking into a crime scene. 

Photographers for LAPD were present at the house, as well as nearly a dozen other agents, who CBS reported went through every room, the garbage and planters around the home.

Investigators are probing whether Planck's disappearance could be connected to her job, as her employer's managing partner is under a federal securities investigation for a $43 million fraud

Investigators are probing whether Planck’s disappearance could be connected to her job, as her employer’s managing partner is under a federal securities investigation for a $43 million fraud

The mother-of-one left her home on October 17 Reynier Village district was last seen at her son's football game in Downey. Her dog was found later that day in downtown LA. The alarm was raised when Planck failed to pick her son up from school in Westwood, on October 20

The mother-of-one left her home on October 17 Reynier Village district was last seen at her son’s football game in Downey. Her dog was found later that day in downtown LA. The alarm was raised when Planck failed to pick her son up from school in Westwood, on October 20

Investigators are probing whether Planck’s disappearance could be connected to her job, as her employer is under a federal securities investigation for possible fraud charges, CBS 2 reported.  

Sugarman, a managing partner at Camden Capital, was charged in June 2019 by the  SEC for his role in a scheme to steal $43 million of client funds they purported to invest in Native American tribal bonds.  

Meanwhile, Planck’s family and friends are deeply concerned that foul play was involved in her disappearance and say they are hopeful she can return home to them, and her son.  

Peter Guber

Sugarman is the son-in-law of Peter Guber, the Hollywood mogul and co-owner of the NBA's Golden State Warriors. Guber is seen left alongside Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban at Chase Center in San Francisco in January 2020

Sugarman is the son-in-law of Peter Guber (left), the Hollywood mogul and co-owner of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. Guber is seen (right) alongside Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban at Chase Center in San Francisco in January 2020

On friday evening, federal agents and robbery homicide detectives raided Planck's home (pictured) in Reynier Village, Mid-City, LA, believing they could be walking into a crime scene

On friday evening, federal agents and robbery homicide detectives raided Planck’s home (pictured) in Reynier Village, Mid-City, LA, believing they could be walking into a crime scene

Suzanne Smeader, Heidi’s mother, said she spoke to her daughter two days before she went missing. She said it was unusual for Heidi to disappear without any explanation.

‘It’s bizarre, it’s so unlike her…People don’t just go missing like that, you know,’ she said from her home in Cheektowaga, New York, which is located some 10 miles east of Buffalo.

‘I just can’t imagine. I just feel for her son and I just can’t imagine what that poor little kid is going through being without his mom,’ Smeader said.

‘She was so attentive to him.’

Smeader told DailyMail.com that Heidi was making plans to return home to the Buffalo, New York, area to spend Thanksgiving with her.

When asked if she had any idea what could possibly be behind her daughter’s disappearance, Smeader said: ‘I have no idea…I Google her name and I’m in touch with her ex-husband and I’m in touch with a detective out there [in Los Angeles].’

Smeader, who still lives in the Buffalo area, said her daughter moved out to the West Coast in 2001 to attend college.

According to Heidi’s Facebook page, she attended California State University, Los Angeles.

Smeader said her daughter completed a certification course in real estate and other business-related classes.

Planck's house was raided on Friday night and evidence removed from the property

Planck’s house was raided on Friday night and evidence removed from the property

When asked if her daughter gave any indication that something was amiss, Smeader told DailyMail.com: ‘No, none whatsoever.’

‘She was going to be coming home for Thanksgiving,’ Smeader said.

Heidi was also planning to attend a class reunion, according to her mom.

Smeader said that Heidi was due to travel back East with a girlfriend.

‘Everything was happy times,’ Smeader said.

When asked if Heidi mentioned whether she was dating someone, Smeader replied: ‘She mentioned she had dated somebody off and on [and] that she didn’t really know that she could call him her boyfriend or not.

‘That was about it on that.’

Smeader said that Heidi’s father, Kevin Smeader, passed away in 1990, when Heidi was around eight years old.

‘She was just a little girl,’ Smeader said.

When asked how she was coping with the news of her daughter’s disappearance, Smeader told DailyMail.com: ‘I’m a wreck, I am a total wreck.

‘I can’t imagine what’s going on out there.’

She then said that she was ‘leaning towards her employment’ as the possible link that could explain her disappearance.

When asked what was going through her mind, Smeader said: ‘I’m naturally thinking the worst. I feel like I have to prepare myself for the worst.’

‘I hope that’s not the case. I’m hoping they find her and she’s fine, but that’s about where I stand.’

Smeader added: ‘I’m in prayer. I’m a Christian woman and I’ve been in constant prayer and I have a lot of people praying for her – all my family and friends – and that’s about where I stand.

‘I’m leaving it in the Lord’s hands. I know he’ll carry me through no matter what happens.’ 

Planck is described as having blond hair and blue eyes, standing five feet, three inches tall and weighing about 120 pounds. 

When she was last seen, she was wearing jeans and a gray sweater and was driving a gray 2017 Range Rover with California license plate U840X0. 

Anyone with information is asked to call the Los Angeles Police Department’s Missing Persons Unit at 213-996-1800. 

During non-business hours or on weekends, tipsters can call 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). 

Heidi Planck’s boss was sued by SEC for ‘pocketing $9million in cash as part of a scheme hatched with ‘Porn’s New King’ to swindle pension funds out of $43million, leaving a Native American tribe with a $60million debt’ 

Jason Galanis, who was once dubbed 'Porn's New King', is serving 11 years in prison for hatching a scheme to steal $60million from a Native American tribe. Sugarman was his alleged co-conspirator

Jason Galanis, who was once dubbed ‘Porn’s New King’, is serving 11 years in prison for hatching a scheme to steal $60million from a Native American tribe. Sugarman was his alleged co-conspirator

Heidi Planck, the missing Los Angeles woman, works at a company whose managing partner, Jason Sugarman, was alleged to have hatched a massive scheme to swindle pension funds out of $43million, which left a Native American tribe in debt for $60million. 

Sugarman’s alleged co-conspirator in the plot, Jason Galanis, was sentenced last year to 11 years in prison. 

The federal government declined to pursue criminal charges against Sugarman, instead opting to sue him in civil court in hopes of recouping the $9million that he is alleged to have pocketed from the scheme.

Galanis, the son of reputed white-collar criminal John Peter Galanis, was once dubbed ‘Porn’s New King’ in 2002 after his company purchased iBill, which at the time was the largest processor of credit card payments used to procure pornographic material online.

In 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission named Sugarman in a complaint alleging that he and his business partner, Jason Galanis, orchestrated a scheme in which they and others ‘stole $43million from unwitting pension funds’ to finance the acquisition of a conglomerate of European and Bermuda-based insurance companies.

Sugarman and Galanis are then alleged to have used the funds to pay off debt, buy real estate, shore up the operations of their existing businesses, compensate co-conspirators, and make other investments to enrich themselves.

In order to ‘cover their tracks,’ Sugarman and Galanis made several ‘complex’ transactions that involved ‘victimizing’ a Native American corporal tribal corporation, the Washington State-based Wakpamni Lake Community Corporation, according to the SEC.

Sugarman and Galanis were accused of ‘surreptitiously siphon[ing] millions of dollars in cash from the entities that they acquired,’ the complaint read.

The scheme destroyed the European insurance conglomerate, Liechtenstein-based Valorlife and Wealth-Assurance AG, which was placed in adminstrative receivership.

Administrative receivership is a procedure in which a creditor is legally empowered to take control over a companys assets, run the business, and then dispose of the assets, either piecemeal or as part of the sale of the business as a going concern, in order to satisfy the secured debt.

The Bermudan insurance holding company, VL Assurance, was delisted from the Bermuda Stock Exchange, according to the SEC filing.

Sugarman and Galanis victimized a Native American corporal tribal corporation, the Washington State-based Wakpamni Lake Community Corporation, according to the SEC

Sugarman and Galanis victimized a Native American corporal tribal corporation, the Washington State-based Wakpamni Lake Community Corporation, according to the SEC

The SEC claims that in March 2014, Galanis and his father, John Galanis, convinced the Wakpamni Lake Community Corporation, which is said to have been owned by the federally recognized Oglala Sioux Tribe, to become the issuer of limited recourse bonds that the father and his son had already structured

The SEC claims that in March 2014, Galanis and his father, John Galanis, convinced the Wakpamni Lake Community Corporation, which is said to have been owned by the federally recognized Oglala Sioux Tribe, to become the issuer of limited recourse bonds that the father and his son had already structured

The Native American tribe was left indebted for $60million.

According to the SEC, Sugarman ‘was the biggest winner from the fraud.’

He’ended up with voting control over corporate assets that were acquired with bond proceeds, and from which he ultimately siphoned almost $9million in cash for his direct and personal benefit,’ according to federal investigators.

The SEC claims that in March 2014, Galanis and his father, John Galanis, convinced the Wakpamni Lake Community Corporation, which is said to have been owned by the federally recognized Oglala Sioux Tribe, to become the issuer of limited recourse bonds that the father and his son had already structured.

The plan was for the tribal corporation to use the proceeds from the bond sales to buy an annuity as an investment that could generate income, which would then pay interest to bondholders.

The sale of the bonds was also supposed to have generated funds that were to be used for tribal economic development purposes.

But the SEC alleges that Jason Galanis and Sugarman instead used the proceeds from the bonds for their own benefit.

They allegedly hatched a scheme to identify investors who would then buy the tribal bonds. 

In order to do that, they ‘devised a plan to obtain control over investors’ funds by acquiring investment advisers who would use their investment authority to purchase the bonds for their clients,’ according to the complaint.

After acquiring the adviser firms, Sugarman and Galanis installed Michelle Morton at the helm, the SEC said. Morton then ‘used client funds to purchase the tribal bonds in client accounts,’ the complaint read.

Morton assumed the role of CEO of Hughes Capital Management LLC, a company that oversaw some $900million for various pension funds, according to the government.

The acquisition of Hughes Capital Management was allegedly financed by Sugarman.

The SEC alleges that Sugarman also engineered the acquisition of Atlantic Asset Management LLC. Morton was once again installed as CEO of that firm after the purchase, according to the SEC.

The plan was for the tribal corporation to use the proceeds from the bond sales to buy an annuity as an investment that could generate income, which would then pay interest to bondholders. The sale of the bonds was also supposed to have generated funds that were to be used for tribal economic development purposes

The plan was for the tribal corporation to use the proceeds from the bond sales to buy an annuity as an investment that could generate income, which would then pay interest to bondholders. The sale of the bonds was also supposed to have generated funds that were to be used for tribal economic development purposes

Without those companies’ knowledge, ‘Sugarman and Galanis exercised undisclosed control over both Hughes and AAM,’ according to the SEC.

In August 2014, Hughes clients were told to buy $27million worth of tribal bonds, the SEC said.

Instead of using the proceeds to purchase an annuity, as per the terms of the bond’s issuing documents, most of the profits would instead be used to personally benefit Sugarman, Galanis, and the entities they controlled, according to the SEC.

In April of 2015, Sugarman and Galanis directed Morton to buy another $16.2milion in tribal bonds with funds from AAM clients, according to the complaint.

‘Again, none of the proceeds was ever invested in a legitimate annuity,’ the SEC said.

Wealth-Assurance was the company that provided financing for the purchase of Hughes, according to the complaint.

Sugarman and Galanis arranged for Wealth-Assurance to buy Valorlife with $11million in tribal bond proceeds, according to the SEC.

The two are also alleged to have arranged for VGL in Bermuda to buy VL Assurance using a tribal bond. VL Assurance is then alleged to have funneled over $8million to Sugarman as purported loans to him or his affiliated entity. 



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