Michelle Seward truth
THE "REAL BACK STORY"
"WHO" is really behind this tragedy?
Michelle Seward , CEO and owner of Protégé Financial & Ins Services and Saxe Coburg Insurance did something that is unheard of in Hollywood and in the financial world, she has committed to pay for her clients’ losses because she feels it is the right thing to do.
August 1, 2013 an $8.75 million Seward Recovery Settlement Trust was created by Seward. An assignment of all the business assets of Protégé Financial and Saxe Coburg, the majority of Seward's large personal assets and also 35% of her future earnings were transferred to the trust. A trustee, retired Judge, has been assigned to liquidate the assets and distribute funds to the creditors, which the trustee is currently in the process of liquidating the assets.
Seward has had to stay quiet for quite some time, due to existing litigation and fear of retaliation from the Church of Scientology.
Seward's involvement with the Church of Scientology and her departure in 2009, are a big part of this case and the tragedy that has occurred with her clients, family and friends.
Seward has been a successful insurance agent for over 20 years. Relying on the guidance of mentors and her own initiative, Seward has built a career for herself within the insurance world, carving out a niche where she worked with her clients to help them purchase life insurance policies and other insurance products. Seward built a multimillion dollar producing agency by the time she was 33 years old.
Seward was and still is heavily involved in a number of charities. For example, Seward was involved with Youth for Human Rights International, which is a nonprofit organization that promotes human rights in the developing world. Seward has long been passionate about human rights and children and adopted a baby from her work in the Los Angeles area.
Unfortunately, Seward’s involvement with Youth for Human Rights International
(which is an affiliate of the Church of Scientology) led to the introduction Soref. Looking back now, Seward can see that she was targeted by Soref, who began attending the same human rights events as Seward and ingratiating himself into her inner circle.
Seward immediately let her guard down with Soref and trusted him because they were both Scientologists. Seward was raised in the Church of Scientology and her mother was at one point a Director of Marketing for the Church. Seward has since broken with the Church of Scientology and regrets placing her trust in Soref. Seward felt that she had a connection with Soref and his wife, through their common belief in Scientology and therefore placed a great degree of trust in him. Seward was also the "God Mother" to their daughter.
Starting in late 2006, Soref began pitching a movie venture to Seward as a “no fail” way to make money because the movie was backed by a bond from Film Finance and had already been sold for international distribution, had an executive producer who owned over 1200 theaters, and the film had "A list" actors.
Most people would think, "how can you trust Hollywood?"
As a Scientologist, you do not question another Scientologist that is in "good standing".
Seward eventually agreed to introduce her clients and family to Soref's film investment.
Not only Seward's best friends and father contribute 100's of thousands to Not Forgotten , but so did her clients.
This was Seward’s first foray into the movie business and while she was experienced at selling insurance, Seward realizes in hindsight that she was out of her depth in the area of film projects.
Soref set up Not Forgotten, LLC to raise money for the film project, titled "Not Forgotten". Soref was the sole managing member and also the only signer on the bank accounts. Soref also set up Windsor Pictures, LLC to be a production company. The retainer agreement with the attorney, also a Scientologist, was signed only by Soref. The Los angeles based attorney was responsible for providing the correct paperwork to Soref for Seward's clients.
Soref has provided government agencies with emails of Seward communicating to the attorney to make it look as if Seward was in control, yet Seward's communication was based on making sure that Soref was held responsible as the managing member.
Seward has declarations from employees and insurance agents as to Soref's control.
Seward had separated from her spouse at this point and would go through a difficult divorce process while pregnant with twins who were born premature, in addition to caring for her other two young children, with little help or support.
Also during this time, Seward started questioning Scientology's constant "reissue" of new technical data as purely a scheme to get parishioners to donate more money. Additionally, the church's anti-gay views were no longer acceptable to Seward.
Soref was well aware of this and became Seward's confidant while he was also covertly taking control of Seward's staff and other life insurance agents to fulfill his funding needs.
Seward's mother informed her that the Office of Special Affairs at the Church of Scientology had launched an internal investigation on Seward and her Life insurance business.
(Seward's mother has recently left the Church after 24 years when she became aware of the covert actions that the Church was taking against her daughter.) Seward believes it was during this period when the international distributor for Not Forgotten backed out. Soref kept this crucial fact a secret from everyone involved – including Seward -- and continued to state that international distribution was in place. Because of Soref’s deception, Seward still does not know exactly what happened to the international distribution. She only knows that at some point the international distribution fell through and the consequences for the potential profitability of the film were impacted significantly.
To date, Soref claims no responsibility for the investors. He claims he was unaware of anything financial and has handpicked a small amount of specific emails that he has provided to
government agencies to try and prove Seward's control. He has contacted "other Scientoogists", such as people who made commissions off of Seward donations to help him go against Seward.
Yet, Seward has many binders of emails showing a completely different picture and a copy of a report that Soref sent to many terminals in the Church of Scientology and affiliates, dated 2/27/2010 ,where Soref states:
"After sitting in on countless presentations on this, I have yet to hear that [fraud theory] from Michelle. As a matter of fact, I am surprised that the "informal investigation' of Michelle Seward has not been summarily dropped."
"I am the person assigned to legal. I make sure that all legal rudiments of our organization are in. I know EVERY legal detail. I routinely talk with ALL of our lawyers, who specialize with insurance and other related legal fields."
"If there is anyone who can attest to this is yours truly."
At the end of the day, the most important facts are :
Seward has committed to pay for her clients’ losses
Soref denies responsibility for the clients' losses
Soref has more than twenty-five years of experience in the film industry and is, in our view, the real perpetrator here.
This 62-year old film producer has filed bankruptcy three times (See Soref BK info tab), including recently to try to escape liability in the Department of Corporations case and in relation to the various investors and lenders that he took advantage of through his entities.
Soref continues to start many production companies (search through google) and states in his BK testimony that he has raised more capital.
As Seward learned the hard way, Soref uses other people’s money to fund his films, pays himself an exorbitant salary in the process, and then walks away unscathed when the project fails.
Soref exercised control over Skyline Pictures, Not Forgotten, and Windsor Pictures. He directed the agenda for meetings, hired support staff, supervised the website design teams, approved scripts, prepared budgets, provided financials, directed and/or produced the film, was in charge of seeking to secure distribution for the film, managed the operations, and had the full view into the flow of money in his bank accounts. Soref controlled the bank accounts of his companies, Skyline Pictures, Not Forgotten, and Windsor Pictures.
He is far from an innocent party here –indeed, he is the chief architect of the plan to set up these three companies.
Seward speaks out against the Church and an internal investigation is launched in 2010.
Seward leaves the church and finds herself and her companies being investigated by the CA Department of Corporations by early 2011 and Soref then walks away from the companies and files bankruptcy. At this time, the CA Department of Insurance starts an investigation on Seward and uses Soref's statements as "evidence" against Seward.
September 2012, the CA Department of Corporations filed suit against Seward, her entities, Soref, his entities and another life insurance agent Scott Foulk.
Due to the expense of further litigation, all parties agreed to settle.
The suit was settled on Dec 22, 2013 and approved by the court in January of 2014.
It was a neither admit nor deny settlement.
The parties agreed to not sell securities without a license, but may apply for one if they choose. They agree to not act as an investment advisor and agree not to misrepresent a security.
Additionally, the parties agreed to pay back the balance of the funds owed to clients, as restitution totaling $16.8 million.
Seward was creating the Creditor Settlement Trust well before the Department of Corporations filed suit.
93% of creditors signed on to the Seward Settlement Trust by August 2013.
Unlike Soref, Seward has never walked away and has never stopped trying to help her clients, friends and family and also repair her own reputation and career.
The lenders / investors oppose further action by any agency against Seward and would instead like to see Soref held accountable.
See client statements in the Client Declaration page of this website.
These declarations show a different view of the facts than portrayed in the Department of Corporation suit.
Seward recognizes her role in this situation and is taking responsibility for her introductions by committing to repay her clients through the trust that she set up, in an effort to lessen the burden.
Seward was deceived by Soref and relied on the involvement of attorneys to make sure that all legal requirements were met. The involvement of counsel also explains why those involved thought the offering was exempt and why there is little likelihood of anything like this repeating with Seward. This experience has been costly and traumatic for Seward, her clients, friends and family. Seward believed in the Not Forgotten venture, perhaps naively in retrospect, but she believed in it nonetheless.
There is MUCH more to this story that eventually will make its way out, but it needs to be known that Seward will work non stop to help her clients, friends and family and she will NEVER associate herself with the Church of Scientology or its members again.
Seward is grateful beyond words for the support of her legal team and all others who have believed in her and she is focused on rebuilding her business to help her clients and raise her four young children.