By Lindsay Toler
By Chad Garrison
By Brett Koshkin
By RFT Staff
By Lindsay Toler
By Riverfront Times
By Danny Wicentowski
By Pete Kotz
Vogel says he only authorized his former friend from the Racquet Club to circulate his due diligence report under two conditions: that Sigillito inform the clients that they needed to do their own research and that Vogel was not their attorney.
"Sigillito gave that memo out to people exactly contrary to Paul's direction," says McCarter.
Vogel was asked, when deposed, if he took any steps while in England to verify if Derek Smith actually owned the land he was claimed to.
"Other than visiting the properties," he responded, "no."
But how could he not notice that Little Farm Nursery was abandoned? McCarter suspects the executive was shown a distant corner of the ten-acre property, far from the vacant structures. Sigillito and Smith also provided papers indicating the rezoning had come through.
"A lot of people who know Paul Vogel believe in him, and they don't think he would intentionally do something like this," says Rucci.
He continues: "I would tend to agree. But you gotta ask yourself: What was he doing over in England? It's possible he was misled. But he obviously wasn't asking the right questions."
Bill Gaylor of Ohio is having trouble sleeping. The 84-year-old former manufacturing representative stopped getting his monthly interest checks last winter. Now, he fears he's lost the $250,000 — the bulk of his retirement — he handed over to Sigillito.
"'Devastating' is a pretty good word," says Gaylor, a World War II veteran. "It's got me pretty nervous."
Leonard Roman, also of Ohio, was a supervisor at a rubber plant when he broke his back on the job two years ago. He had to resign on disability. He took his life savings and invested with Sigillito. Last December, he tried to pull out some of the principal. Since then, he's gotten nowhere.
"I can hobble around a little; I use a cane," says the 57-year-old. "But if something else happens to me, I'll be in bad shape."
Stan Kuhlo of St. Charles inherited money when his parents died. He invested it with Sigillito. That, he now realizes, was a mistake. "Your parents work all their life, and you give it to somebody, and they steal it from you," he says. "That hurts. The guy really doesn't know how he affects a family."
Martin T. Sigillito is now facing three separate lawsuits. It's unclear from the documents available to the RFT where the millions transferred to Sigillito have gone.
Both the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office refused to comment for this story.
"What irritates me is that Marty's out there walking the streets," says Phil Rosemann, who may have been Sigillito's biggest investor. "Of course, it's hard for me to feel anything but stupid."
Correction published 5/1/12: In the original version of this story, we erroneously stated that R.C. Baer is a member of the family that co-founded the Stix, Baer and Fuller department store chain (acquired by Dillard's in 1984). Baer, who declined to comment for this story in 2010, acknowledges that there may some distant connection but says neither his family nor the department-store heirs consider themselves to be related.