Only on 12: Bankruptcy fraud inquiry opened on "black widow"

By: Lynnsey Gardner Email
By: Lynnsey Gardner Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock, July 17, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga -- The black widow is in even more hot water now after News 12 uncovers some possible red flags in her financial past.

Richmond County investigators say this could be a case of bankruptcy fraud and now they are looking into it.

Betty and John Neumar filed for bankruptcy in 2000 saying they were broke. However, they had come into money, a lot of money, just four years before.

News 12 took what we found to Richmond County fraud investigators and spoke one on one with investigator Shane McDaniel.

Gardner, "How many red flags is this throwing up at you?"

Inv. McDaniel, " At least a half a dozen."

It starts with Betty and John's bankruptcy filing in 2000. In it, the Neumar's listed their assets at $14,000 with more than $200,000 dollars worth of credit card debt.

News 12 did a little digging into where their assets went.

"Just by looking at the documentation, it was a planned thing. They planned to sell the house." says Inv. McDaniel.

Gardner, "You think that's what we have here?"

Inv. McDaniel, "It's a large possibility."

John and Betty sold John's Aiken County home in 1995 through
Betty's daughter Kelie Bulcak, who they signed over limited power of attorney rights. Another family bought the home for $75,000.

The very next year, Betty sold her Augusta Cambridge Court home to her daughter, Kelie Gentry Bulcak and her husband, Richard Bulcak for $135,000. Two sales that should have netted the couple more than $200,000.

"It raises a good six or seven very important questions. It is indicating suspicious activity that could lead to bankruptcy fraud." explains Inv. McDaniel.

And fraud is nothing new for Betty Neumar. In the 1990's, Betty Gentry Neumar owned and operated a beauty salon called 'Standing Ovations' in North Augusta. It's where she met her fifth husband, John Neumar. It's also where victims say she met and conned more than 200 people out of thousands of dollars in a get rich quick scheme that proved to be a fraud.

"Betty was good." Mary Miller bought into Betty's scam, giving her five hundred dollars. "I renewed my passport, my friends got passports because she told us we had to be ready to go to Switzerland on a moment's notice to claim our money."

The "Rafter Lafter" scheme as it was called, later netted seven arrests across the country but Betty was never charged.

After her arrest this May, North Carolina investigators uncovered at least 16 known alias' for the black widow, multiple passports and overseas bank accounts.

And with $200,000 in credit card debt and no assets to show for it,
investigators say now they want to know where the money went.

Inv. McDaniel says they'll question Betty, Kelie Bulcak, and Richard Bulcak who is also a Richmond County Deputy currently serving overseas.

Investigators will also question the couple's Bankruptcy Attorney William O. Key Jr. He also represented Betty Neumar in the sale of her home in 1996 to her son-in-law. William O. Key Jr. is currently in federal prison where he's serving a 14 month sentence after pleading guilty in federal court in 2007 to a felony conspiracy charge in connection with real estate closing fraud.

Richmond County Sheriff's Office says the plan now is to draw up more records such as the credit card accounts to see when they were opened and what the Neumar's purchased on them. Inv. McDaniel says it's possible the couple may have taken out cash advances.

If there is enough evidence to warrant a bankruptcy fraud investigation after this inquiry, the Sheriff's Office will turn the case over to the IRS and the Department of Justice.


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