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Regarding the Matt Burgess Case
Letter to the Editor

Regarding the Matt Burgess Case

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Editor,

I would like to express my gratitude to the Daily Journal in printing the articles of the case against Matt Burgess for Financial Exploitation of the Elderly. It certainly was a community service and informative. I would also like to take this opportunity to clarify some facts and add some facts to this case since I was denied my day in court and the privilege of a jury trial. I was never contacted by the current Prosecuting Attorney for any potential testimony, witnesses, or current facts or contacted at all until I contacted their office approximately a couple of weeks before trial. They had documents from Elder Abuse and I was told by Courtney Goodwin she had talked with Matt Burgess’s attorney for 45 minutes.

I contacted Courtney Goodwin when I saw in MO Casenet (Plea) in the docket entry. She returned my call and we talked not more than 5 minutes. She advised me she planned to offer Matt a plea of making payments of what he owed me. I told her that was a bad offer for me because of his pay record. At the end of our conversation she agreed to offering his attorney a settlement of lump sum 50,000 (actual theft 64,495.94) or go to jury trial. I was preparing for jury trial that was set for March 3, 2020. I received a call from Courtney Goodwin on March 2, 2020, stating she had accepted a settlement of 12,000 from Matt to be paid in ($)1,000 payments over 12 months. I told her how unfair that was to myself and my brother. She told me she had determined she did not have the evidence to win a jury trial and even if we got a win it could be overturned in Appellate. She said because I have the house it would be hard to prove I was damaged and Matt did not intend to permanently deprive me of the house or money. She further said I had no say in the matter it was their decision, she was not my attorney, and I was lucky to get the 12,000 and there was an unlikelihood of collecting restitution. I stated my dissatisfaction. I was called the next day that I could pick up a check for $12,000.

The evidence clearly states in New Era Bank records MB Land Co. had a balance of $5,043.79 when my check for $218,547 was deposited on 4/20/16 with a previous 3,000 deposit. Matt spent the money on himself in 8 days, leaving a balance in his main business account of $538.88 on 4/28/16. Burgess and Govreau had called on a conference call 2 weeks prior wanting to know when the money would be paid. Zach Govreau, who was also charged in the case apologized to me in April 2017. At the end of July in 2017 Zach, in a long conversation told me Matt had stolen more money from Verizon than he had stolen from me. I researched this later and found records that in October 2016 Matt had received 439,000 from Dubuque Retailer putting up a building and not paying subcontractors. Their civil judgment in this case was for a little over $800,000. Zach had told me the building was not finished, Matt hadn’t paid subs, and liens were on it. Similar to my case. Zach Govreau further told me the only thing he felt guilty about was that he had lied to me through the whole process because he knew Matt had spent the money and he was not spending anything to complete it.

I have records that show receipts to finish the house and items I had paid for and not received totaling 70,708.77 and I also found in records obtained through court other items in the cost of the house I did not receive bringing the total amount to 80,770.77. I was able to keep a 16,274.83 garnishment which left a balance of 64,495.94 stolen from me and spent by Matt Burgess on himself. Matt furnished by court order 44,239.55 lien releases he had paid. Many subs were not paid. The substantial amount is what Matt walked away with.

I told Courtney of Matt’s plan to permanently deprive me of my house in the Fall of 2017 with no reply from Courtney to this ... they had already made their decision. Matt and his attorney entered into an agreement with my attorney for me to keep the garnishment, Matt was to pay for the land the house sits on (20,000) and clear all liens and rights to be paid. We accepted the agreement and were to sit and wait until completed by Matt’s attorney. Matt failed to disclose he was on an extension from the bank, he made no payments and knew the subdivision would go into foreclose and my house would go in foreclosure as improved land and I would lose everything. I found out about the extension and foreclosure from a contractor in January 2018 and immediately contacted the bank who agreed to work with me to save my house. I paid the 20,000. In February 2018 Matt’s attorney contacted my attorney and the first thing he said was “did her house go into foreclosure?” “NO.” Only then did Matt sign a Quit Claim deed for the house. Everything I have entered into this letter is the truth either backed up by documents or witnesses. If I were reading this I would read it as a juror and also refer to MO Revised Statute 570.145, mainly focusing on the definition of Financial Exploitation, (1) Deception, Promising to perform which the offender does not intend to perform or knows will not be performed, or who has made a good faith effort but, through no fault of his own was unable to provide assistance. No, there was no good faith effort. This was a Class A Felony which is 10-30 years in prison. When I mentioned this to Courtney she said: There is nothing to say we would have asked for jail time. I imagine a lot of victims think the criminal is treated better than them but, in this case it could have been avoided.

Emma Wessel

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