True Crimes of California's Divorce Attorneys
Did divorce attorney Mark Erickson kill his wife?
Did Judge Beth McGowen file false domestic violence claims to hang on to the family home in Morgan Hill?
Did a group of divorce lawyes rig Judge Grilli's divorce to shut her up and bury their secrets or dead spouses' bodies?
Did Judge Yew suffer from domestic violence, or was she lying to help more of Women SV's " clients in wealthy Silicon Valley's affluent communities pay Hoover Krepelka's law firm?
These are the questions circling around the Santa Clara family courthouses, according to Sharon Roper, an attorney working for the courts who also appears to act as a private judge at taxpayer expense for Judge Grilli's and several government employees during their divorce cases. This is what is really happening in family court in an area where Apple, Google, Paypal and Facebook executives control the flow of money to attorneys involved in local divorce cases, even in a pandemic.
What Happens When a family court judge gets a Divorce ?
Mark Erickson's wife reportedly stuggled with depression, addiction and hormones as a new mom. In the early 1990s, shortly after the holidays, his 29- year-old bride was found dead in the family home. Local lawyers suspected foul play. Judge Mary Ann Grilli had heard the rumors, yet continued to rewarded attorneys fees and court appointments even when she knew the attorneys she was rewarding were heavy drinkers, pot smokers and suspected of killing their own spouse,
Judge Beth McGowen was rumored to be flirting with a relationship with attorney Rebehak Frey when her divorce case was filed in 2017 , the same year Judge Mary Ann Grilli retired as a family court judge and entered the courthouse for her divorce.
In 2017, Mary Ann Grilli, the judge responsible for more divorce attorney profits in Silicon Valley than any other, found herself in her own divorce, facing private judge Sharon Roper and attorney Walter Hammon, who knew all Grilli's secrets. Walter Hammon, represented those in Silicon Valley who operate businesses in Cannabis, tech and real estate with dark secrets and plenty of crimes they are motivated to hide.
For divorce attorneys in Silicon Valley profits come in the form of Cannabis cash, BitCoin and stock optinions.
Every morning for over twenty years, Mary Ann Grilli left her modest San Jose home on the edge of the upscale Willow Glen neighborhood and drove to the courthouse in Sunnyvale, California where she was protected by a small group of family law attorneys, court reporters and a court clerk, Jaretta Resser, who watched over her to prevent her incompence from being exposed.
Decade after decade wealthy and middle-class families from Silicon Valley's most affluent communities; Los Altos, Palo Alto, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Campbell, and Santa Clara involved in divorce or probate matters eventually found their way to Grilli's courtroom. Little did these litigants know that when they got there, they would battle for their children, lose their family home and leave without their dignity if their cases involved core groups of lawyers terrorizing families fueld with funds created as money poured into Silicon Valley busiensses and real estate.
Divorce lawyers knew Grilli's modest home and personal struggles made her the perfect prey. For years, they invited Grilli to their office parties, but left her out when it came to those back yard parties that judges living in San Jose's Rosen Garden area or in the upscale towns and villages that harbored the families who started Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, Paypal, HP, Oracle Seagate and the popular streaming entertainment giant Netflix.
Judges who live in the area where they serve attend church, farmers markets, charity fundraisers, schools and other community events where the lawyers living around them slowly influence them to rule in favor of their clients and fee requests that line their pockets. Judge Grilli didn't golf, wasn't connected to the more affluent communites and was otherwise socially awkward. She made the perfect mark for the area lawyers to manipulate and corrupt.
In the late 1990s, parents rose up and protested Grilli using court orders to take their children and family wealth. Lawyers entrenched in the area, protected Grilli from the state's judicial watchdog, the Commission on Judicial Performance. Local politicans who felt threatened by voters facing Grilli in their personal divorce or angry parents who protested outside the county offices and small Sunnyvale courthouse, doubled down on protecting what they knew to be corruption in local courts. Today those local polticians, Santa Clara County Supervisors Cindy Chavez, Susan Ellenberg, Mike Wasserman and Joe Simitian, and the courts protect them as well. Continuing to advance his political career on the bodies and finances of those who voted for him. former Supervisor Dave Cotese has become a California Senator, and remains silent on the state and federal money misused by the courts when he was elected to office.
EVOLUTION OF FAMILY COURT CORRUPTION
By 2009 divorce lawyers appearing in Judge Grilli's court learned they could shove any order under her nose, and she would sign it. Slowly she became indifferent to the lawyers who vioalted the law, clients who lied in court and "experts" who were virtual nobodies writing reports with junk science and false facts designed to get the lawyers and experts paid.
In 2010 these lawyers mastered the art of telling frightening stories to justify Grilli's cruel and evil orders. Children were in danger and it was up to Grilli to save them with her orders.. Or so the former sole practicioner thought.
By 2011, Grilli showed outward signs she was stuggling. As she separated children from their parents in her court, her own son was in crisis and her marriage was falling apart. Her modest home was never the site of the lavish legal parties attended by judges and the lawyers Grilli had so handsomely rewarded with attorneys fees. Afterall, fancy parties were reserved for judges who lived in San Jose's upscale Rose Garden near Walter Hammon and other B list attorneys who used their relationships more than the law when it came to divorce cases. In Los Gatos, Judge Roberta Hayashi leads lawyers to busienss by rubbing shoulders with familes of the founders of Silicon Valley's tech and social media busiensses from her posh Los Gatos neighborhood and coastal properties in Santa Cruz County. These lawyers all knew 25% of the these tech and social media giants would be ripe to increase their fees and prime to get into private judging by assuring to keep their secrets safe and out of a public courtroom during a divorce. .
Judge Grilli EXCLUDED- Silicon Valley's Fancy Parties, Sporting Events and Social Clubs
Lawyers Know Judge Is Incompetent
By 2013 Grilli was known by area lawyers to be so loaded on percription drugs, she fell off the bench on a number of occassions. Her clerk, Jaretta Reser, had to proper up just to finish a hearing. Court reporters Stephanie Estate and Kris Tresidder changed or delayed transcripts to conceal Grilli's incompetence from being revealed. Presiging Judge Julie Emede deflected the media and shifted attention from divorcing couples to the LGBQT community where Gay Marriage would lead to increasing business for divorce lawyers and bugets for family courts.
Grilli came to depend on lawyers as vicitms of intimate partner violence depend on their abusers. These lawyers were courtroom witnesses, they could be questioned by the authorities or brought in as witnesses during Grilli's personal divorce. So the lawyers protected Grilli, and Grilli protected the lawyers. Guarding Grilli's secrets , these attorneys told clients not to worry; "she just fainted due to the heat". They assureed other lawyers were appointed as minor's counsel and private judges so their cases slipped out of Grilli's court when they did not need to rely on her certain incompetence. And by 2011 private judging was raging out of control and the lawyers told Judge Grilli not to worry her pretty little head about all that, she afterall had to keep her own marriage together.
By 2014 attorney David Patton had informally taken charge of getting Grilli to appoint lawyers to act as private judges in his divorce cases. He and his partner, Michael Lonich, made secret deals with other lawyers to take over Grilli's job by acting as de facto judges where the rule of law was just absent. Patton and his buddies had private judges Micheal Smith and JAMS retired judge Catherine Gallagher in most of their cases. Secretly Patton convinced Grilli that when she retired, her appointments would assure that lawyers would refer her busienss as a private judge,
JUDGES WANT TO GROW UP TO BE PRIVATE JUDGES FOR JAMS
From San Deigo and Organge County to Santa Clara and Contra Costa, the job judges want most is working as arbitrators, mediators and private judges for the busienss known as JAMs. As a contractor with JAMs retired judges, and court commissioners, get all judical authority , only they are privately paid. With pensions safely secured these judges leave behind jobs where they are paid $200,000 a year, and get millions in fees as private contractors, and that income,. and the lawyers who assure it with a steady stream of busienss, don't have to disclose it. Lawyers who never were judges, get the B list of cases from lawyers bringing in middle class divorces that nobody will watch. Once spouses are in private judging, lawyers can drag out the cases 5-10 years, while working to cover up the misinformation they used on clients to get them into private judging by claiming it will be good for their case, and will be cheaper and faster too.
David Patton exhanged cases with other law firms, where those firms would agree to be the losers before a private judge . Law firms such as Dok, Baugh & Tarvin & Amini, or Hoge Fenton, or Hoover Krepelka and McManis Faulkner were the main players in the private judge scam run on Silicon Valley families for decades. Smaller offices didn't stand a chance when it came to this corruption machine.
FAKE CHARITIES FEED DIVORCE LAWYERS BUSINESS
By 2016, Women SV founder Ruth Partick, who had used private Judge Catherine Gallagher in a 2009 divorce case where she was represented by Jim Towery and Phil Hammer of the Hoge Fenton law firm, started to run a scam on wealthy women in Silicon Valley's most affluent residents. She took in public and private funds, acting as if she would help vicitms of domestic violence. Instead she became the champion referer to Hoover Krepelka, ADZ law firm. and for solo practicioners including BJ Fadem, Nicole Ford, Sean Onderick , Hector Moreno and Jim Hoover, where WomenSV "clients" brought in millions more in attorney fees and clients who could be duped into private judging.
Ruth Patrick Darlene had mastered the flase domestic violence claims, doing it in her own marriage , and now teching lawyers how to get away with in in court and private judge cases. In 2019 Patrick Darlene moved her scheme to Orange County , where she began to work with the Orange County Sheriff , the local DA and court CEO David Yamasaki in ramping up private judge schemes in that area, the second wealthiest in the state.
DIRTY JUDGES SUBJECTED TO DISCOVERY IN THEIR DIVORCE CASES
Like Guido Grilli , Beth McGowen's husband knows the dirty tricks lawyers and judges in Santa Clara County play,. he went to Monterey County to get his divorce lawyer and is prepared to push back after his case was forced into the same court where his wife is employed. After her divorce was filed, Judge Beth McGowen is rumored to have been working closely with Nicole Ford and Ruth Patirick Darlene by attending secret AA meetings to set up her ex husband on false claims of domestic violence. Additionally, Beth McGowen has reportedly been working with county lawyer Ward Penfold and code enforcer Tyson Green to assure she gets all the equity from the sale of the family home by Morgan Hill Intero Real Estate agents who will be appointed in her own rigged divorce case. McGowen is being investigated for kickbacks she has gotten from private judge cases and Intero Real Estate who is regualry appointed to sell off the family home during a divorce. Judge McGowen's former husband is well aware that should McGowen be criminally or civility prosecuted for kickbacks , tax fraud or her invovlment in a real estate scheme that steals family homes and children, his divorce case issues will be open for public view and for the taing authorities to address if the conduct occured while they were married.
STEALING TRUST - RETAINERS - AND REAL ESTATE
Divorce attorney Walter Hammon had been caught stealing client funds from his trust acocunt. Funds sitting in attorney trust accounts shall contain nominal amounts of money for short periods of time. In reality the bar does not audit these acocunts, the DA does not prosecute lawyers who steal from their trust accounts and clients have a hard time getting their money back or their bills properly reported. After Walter Hammon taught lawyers how to steal those funds and get away with it,. attorneys started increasing retainers to $50,000 and asking judges to dump proceeds from family home sales into these attorney trust accounts, where interest is not paid to the families. That interest is being paid to the state bar , a state watchdog that has done nothing about lawyers committing crimes and acting unethcially when those lawyers are big fee earners for the legal community.
Grilli's orders got lawyers appointed to represent children. Once appointed, these lawyers then became the spies for what has become an enterprise operated by men in suits and women in heels who claim to be " officers of the court". Lawyers appointed to represent children are drug addicts sex fiends and alcoholics. Rebekha Frye used one court appointment to score free pot to pass pass out to kids in her other cases, She was also known to claim those kids had bad parents who needed a minor's counsel appointment.
Frye is known for getitng sued for colluding with attorneys in private judge cases and for overbilling parents when she was appointed as minor's counsel. Frye is perhaps most netorious for represented a young mother in a divorce case where Frye lost the mother cusotdy of her children, the mother committed suicide and Frye , along with Brad Baugh collected $800,000 in fees in the probate case that had been touched by Judge Grilli.
For 20 years Frye has claimed local divorce lawyers :" own the Los Gatos police ". Meaning once they are in a case, these lawyers they can manipulate , or pay off , cops into writing false reports that assist in proseucting false domestic violence claims while ignoring serious claims of real estate fruad, money laundering and tax evasion.
Court orders assure lawyers appointed as private judges, or minor's counsel. in a divorce case, get paid , no matter what. The lawyers get liens put on real property, bank acocunts and wages. If they can't get it there, county lawyers assure taxpayers will pay it. Frye earns millions a year in these appointment fees, yet her tax records give an appearance she is laundering money through her own real estate.
DISTRICT ATTORNEYS PROTECT DIVORCE LAWYERS OVER CRIME VICTIM
Allegations of domestic violence, child abuse, money laundering , identity theft and real estate fraud that is made in and around a divorce will be completely ignored by the local district attorney who is endorsed and financially supported by divorce lawyers profiting by keeping these crimes secret in private judge cases, or in public court where judges such as Beth McGowen and Mary Ann Grilli were willing to look away until the statue of limitations has passed.
Walter Hammon used his connections to the prosecutors office and Silicon Valley money based on his prior representation of Drew Perkins, the man who founded the dial up to the Internet. Walter also acted as the invisiable ring leader for divorce cases involving Apple , Facebook and Google executives who stalk, survielle and harrass former spouses to silence them. Less risky than having them killed and diovrce lawyers, and local DAs are happy to help.
Complaints to the DA about public corruption connected to private judges, crooked lawyers and court staff, are routinely ignored, and often those complaining find themselves proseucted for bogus claims designed to shut them up.
DIVORCE LAWYER INSIDE CHAT AND SECRET DEALS
Jim Hoover and Donelle Morgan were known to tell clients they could get any order they wanted from Judge Grilli, or a private judge they regualrly gave free office space to in order to hold bogus and rigged court hearings. Mark Erickson's staff reports he secretly records his divorce clients on his computer. John Hannon works to bury malpracitce claims against divorce lawyers. Marilyn Moreno secretly records court hearings and sends those illegal recordings to judges and other lawyers where they are edited and used to spy on litigants. Attorney Elise Mitchell pays off supervised vistiation professionals to spy on parents and Heather Allan schemes with Sean Onderick, and custody evaluators Michael Kerner, Matthew Sullivan. John Orlando and Richard Ferry to plant secret cameras in the homes of parents during home visits they claim are necessary to make their reports to the court.
By 2015 attorneys Sean Onderick, Elise Mitchell, Valerie Houghton, Annie Fortino, Natalie Daprile, Heather Allan , BJ Fadem, and Nicole Ford began to manage expansions for attorney appointments for lawyers acting in the " best interest of the child" . In those cases Judge Grilli rubberstamped orders for supervised visiation, reunification camps and minor's counsel appointments. These orders made millions for local divorce lawyers and the corrupt private busiensses who benefited from their relationships with Grilli and the dirty divorce lawyers who protected her. These lawyers were creating a blueprint for counties such as Monterey, Orange, Napa, Sacramento , San Deigo, LA, and Conta Costa.
SHOULD YOU TRUST YOUR LAWYER ?
They met at bar associations gatherings, conspire during their edcuational MCLE meetings and talk about cases with judges at the courthouse, all exactly as prohibited by law. Divorce lawyers compare notes and information abourt clirent assets and calcuate how long they can drag a case out to get every cent. The collude to determine what lawyer will " win" and they scheme to get cases int private judging where they are pulled from the public docket and managed in secret private offices that feel to many like rape dungeons.
They ask for retainers that are not very shocking , but once they get you in, they will bill for doing no work and you won't be able to stop them. They bill for emails and letters with other lawyers, they rarely bill for work that needs to be done.
Thet delay and cover up discovery, they never request fees and they decide early on which spouse will be protected, and won't even ask a protected spouse to pay their legally mandated support, as it gets in the way of what they can pay in legal fees.
They don't listen to client's instructions. They never provide information or stragegy and when their bills get too high, they demand to substitute out. This is how the losers lawyers act. Winner lawyers stay in the case til the death. They are paid and allowed to put money in their trust acocunts, where it all goes to pay lawyers before families collect money they are rightfully due.
PREY OR PLAY - DIVORCE LAWYERS WILLING TO GET PAID IN SEX FAVORS
On his side hustle, Attorney Sean Onderick would get down and pray with clients, as he and Campbell based Hector Moreno sought to bring in the "churchgoer" divorce cases. Consistent with hypocrasy and lying, Onderick cheated on his first wife, with a client, but decided it was better to divorce her than kill her as Erickson had reportedly done. Once in his second marriage Onderick continued his infideilty showing an affinity for Asian clients who claimed to desperately need his help. Those clients, Onderick's staff quickly learned, would not be paying his regular fees. Onderick openly preyed on clients willing to put out more than money, and his staff knew to cover it up from his second wife, who had ins with Judge Towery and Morgan Hill attonreys Laura Perry and Annie Fortino, lawyers who brought in the money for appointments and fees from the Gilroy and Morgan Hill area.
Sean Onderick's role in the Dirty Divorce Lawyer mob , was to assure cases went to Heather Allan when there were children could be used for cash. The more money a couple had, the more experts Onderick and Allan could get their buddies appointed,. They used Micheal Kerner like a court clergy, where they pimped out court orders with his bogus reports. They used Richard Ferry as dragnetted from WomenSV and they brought in Bill Dresser to cover up any real estate fraud a spouse might uncover.
For the beenfit of the dirty lawyers who protected her, Grilli rubberstamped and approved reports issued by CPA James Butera. Butera's reports never had to be correct, but he had judges and crooked lawyers all over the county who benefited by how Butera said things added up. The dirtiest lawyers all wanted Butera in their high asset cases, when they were conflicted out, they had to settle for Sally White or Mike Thompson, neither of who got the orders Butera could bring in before Grilli and McGowan.
JOHN HANNON FAKE MALPRACTICE: COVERS UP FOR DIRTY DIVORCE LAWYERS
Dirty divorce lawyers weren't worried about malpracitce claims. Clients have a difficult time retaining malpractice lawyers once a divorce attorney has broken them financailly. When one is sued by John Hannon , they know the case will be settled out for a fraction of what a client lost in damages. Bruce MacLeod defends any dirty attorney , especially those from Hoover Krepelka who were openly committing fraud on the court where Judge Grilli and Judge Beth Mc Gowan were concerned.MacLeod is a leader in the local bar, connected to the local judges and parties in the Rose Garden, Los Gatos and Los Altos in a manner that assures no judge will rule against him and the dirty lawyers he represents.
For a time . the lawyers from Hoover Krepelka who appeared before McGowen, appeared especially protected after it became clear that she had a hard time undertsanding math and complex financial cases typical in Silicon Valley such that she quickly became known as the Blonde Bimbo of the Bench in Santa Clara County. Malpractice lawyers use the dumb judge defense and it works every time.
Grilli and McGowan made sure the lawyers were protected by never reporting them to the bar, nor sanctioning the ones who protected them from discipline or recall Lawyers appointed by Grilli gained traction with other judges including Hayashi, Weinstein , Towery, Cynthia Lee. and Staurt Scott , a former prosecutor who never saw a skirt in his court he didn;t talk about wanting to lift up . Judges Julie Emede and Lori Pegg, publically staked a claim in the LGBQT community, where Walter Hammon could help cover up the embarrassment tech executives faced when their personal lives and the gender preferences of their children were revealed in open court. It is costly to pay to not be embarrassed.
INTERO REAL ESTATE DIVORCE : JOHN THOMPSON STEALING FAMILY HOMES TO PAY HIS CHILD SUPPORT
Private judge James Cox set his sights on the divorce case of Intero Real estate founder John Thompson, which Cox was appointed to in 2015. As that case raged on , other private judges started appointing Intero Real Estate agents to sell family homes during divorce cases. connected to Gilroy, Morgan Hill, San Jose, Cupertino, Saratoga and Los Gatos, where equity of $1 milion was the target of lawyers and private judges as the source of their fees.Commissions for these sales went to Intero, often leaving our competitive agents from Coldwell Banker, Compass, Alan Pinel and Sereno.
Court appointments for private judges meansremoving the case from public court. These dockets are to remain public, but the lawyers have conspired to secret the docket so the public, and the press , is not able to see what was happening in cases that involve so many of Silicon Valley's secrets. Other judges began to follow Judge Griili's lead when it came to not following the law for private judges in divorce cases. Judge Mary Greenwood turned a blind eye as she, Judge Emede, Judge Pegg , Judge Stuart Scott, Judge McCracken and Judge Towery ramped up orders appointing private judges to sell off the family homes to get the lawyers who supported and protected them paid.
To protect their dirty deeds, lawyers in the area played various roles, but all worked to get money from the family home, rather than to protect it for the families who owned it., Annie Fortino used her husband's Edward Jones investment firm in Gilroy to get information for the lawyers. Jason Pintar and Constance Carpenter used the LDS church and real estate to funnel business to private judges. Brad Baugh, Richard Roggia , Jim Hoover , Heather Allan, Rhonda Edgar, and Marilyn Moreno joined forces with Sean Onderick through Hector Moreno's firm to handle real estate conversions by alleging or suppressing domestic violence claims to inflate attorney fees in a case. They also conspired with Bill Dresser on all things real estate to assure fees came out of hard assets found in family owned real estate.
CHARITY FRAUD- DUPED OUT OF DONATIONS AND DIVORCE ASSETS
By 2016 attorneys Valerie Houghton, Rory Coetzee , BJ Fadem, Mark Erickson, Elise Mitchell, David Patton, Jim Hoover , David Weinberg, and others began work with Women SV to bring more fees in cases where domestic violence could be claimed and family home equity would write the checks when signed by court orders. This scheme reached from Santa Clara and Monterey down to Orange County where Weinberg has wotked with Tom Tuttle and Keith Dolnick to explan the private judge- real estate scheme to divorce cases throughout the state. Local lawyers set their sights on equity in the family home that could be cashed out and laundered through attorney trust accounts. Valerie Houghton regularly consulted for lawyers connected to Hoge Fenton, and her Intero agent husband, Terry Houghton, who was known to get appointed to sell the family home after Judge Emede and Judge Grilli encouraged divoring spouses to use his " services". These lawyers engaged in criminal acts that were disguised as " busienss as usual".
GRILLI AND MCGOWEN DIVORCE
In 2017 rumors of Grilli's incomptence had become concerning enough that local lawyers could no longer keep Grilli propped up on the bench. It was then that Grilli's husband , Guido, hired Walter Hammon and filed for divorce. As Grilli fought a lawyer she had seen a million times in court, she faced the threat of what she had done to families being revealed by her own husband and lawyers from the same court where she thought her secrets had been safe.
Court managers had no idea what to do . Grilli knew the court's secrets. Her divorce could bring out her enemies. The Grilli home was pushed into sale by Intero Real Estate, and court attorney Sharon Roper was appointed to handle the divorce as a private judge, paid at taxpayer expense. Walter Hammon used the case to his advantage, he became a proxy extortionist. Judge Grilli knew she could lose her pension, and that the promises of David Patton, Brad Baugh, and Jim Hoover and so many others that she would work in private judging after her career on the bench, was just one more lie. She was de facto conserved, such that she lost her home. She now rents a small apartment while clinging to the pension that she was allowed to keep. She is now a shadow of a woman who spent nearly 30 years harming so many other men, women and children in her courtroom for the benefit of dirty divorce lawyers who never looked back when they left her behind. Judge Grilli has gone inactive at the state bar, meaning she can't be a private judge or even continue to practice law.
When Judge Beth McGowen's divorce hit the docket the same year as the Grilli divorce, McGowen remained on the bench in the same court where her divorce case was being heard. Kickbacks favroable to Judge McGowen in that courthouse are seen by the misuse of orders and fees she assures to local attorneys s including Nicole Ford, Jim Hoover and others who run the private judge and domestic violence scams in Santa Clara County.
McGowen's divorce case has now entered its 4th year,. McGowen appears to be doubling down on the fact that her husband had not spoken to others , hired an attorney out of Monterey and appears to be ignorant that Debra Crawford, and Katherine Dorest are working through Santa Clara County attorney John Hannon to make sure the secrets of private judging and family court corruption are not revealed in that divorce case. That would of course assume Judge McGowen's husband doesn't read Jane and John Q Public.
If you have a Judge Grilli or Judge McGowen story or supsect your lawyer may be illegally recording your calls, court hearings and meetings, please email us: CalJohnQPublic @Gmail.com