By Erin Sherbert
By Erin Sherbert
By Leif Haven
By Erin Sherbert
By Chris Roberts
By Kate Conger
By Brian Rinker
By Rachel Swan
The final days of Yaeger's Silicon Valley party house and Internet company were desperate ones. Yaeger had convinced longtime friends like Hildreth as well as his own brother, John Pochop, to become business partners in a new venture that would resell Internet access to small service providers for a healthy profit. Yaeger was under pressure to raise nearly $100,000 to pay restitution in his previous fraud cases so he could strike a deal to avoid jail time. He was secretly making appearances in courtrooms in San Jose and Los Angeles, getting continuance after continuance. Hildreth and Pochop were aware that Yaeger had had some legal problems in the past, but he'd assured them everything had been resolved. No one knew the extent of Yaeger's troubles until one trophy boy thought to go to the courthouse and read Yaeger's file -- all 300 pages of it.
Martin Hickey also read through Yaeger's business contracts and made calls that led him to believe the numbers weren't adding up. He told Hildreth and Pochop that Yaeger had found a way to skim the profits while saddling them with the liability for hundreds of thousands of dollars of impending debt. They immediately shut the company down, foiling Yaeger's chances of getting the money he needed to avoid jail.
When the three men confronted Yaeger about what they had discovered, he went into a rage. "When Kevin gets pissed off, he looks like a charging bull," says Seguy, who hid in his room as the others tried to dismantle the company's computer network while wrestling with Yaeger.
"It was like World War III: Kevin threw a printer at us, but he missed and it smashed on the floor," Hildreth says. "He was in sheer panic."
Locked in his room, Seguy could hear screaming and sounds of equipment being thrown around. Yaeger's brother was especially incensed: "If it's true what they are saying, you've put the family in danger!" Pochop yelled. "What about Mom?"
At a scheduled court hearing in San Jose the next day, Yaeger had no more outs. He was taken into immediate custody.
When Yaeger didn't come home and word spread he had been jailed, the goodies on Old Adobe Road were up for grabs. "All these people showed up and they were like cockroaches, scurrying off with clothes, food, TVs, stereos, furniture, everything," Sugiyama says.
In the aftermath, Seguy and Sugiyama were the only ones left in the near-empty house. They faced eviction, since Yaeger had not been paying the rent. "When the illusion we were living was shattered in just 24 hours, it really hit us how alone we were without Kevin," Sugiyama says. "It creeped me out. I didn't realize how dependent I was on him until everything was taken away. That house was the glue to so many lives, and once Kevin was gone, it all unraveled."
Huddled around the fireplace, Seguy and Sugiyama were trying to remain at 116 Old Adobe Rd. as long as they could. The heat, power, and phone service had been cut off, but they had nowhere else to go. A January cold snap made the darkened rooms, the shell of Kevin Yaeger's imaginary dot-com empire, all the more uncomfortable. So the boys burned newspaper to keep warm, and smoked to keep their spirits up.
Seguy's cell phone rang. The battery was low and the connection unclear, but the voice was unmistakable.
"Hey guys, it's Kevin!"
He was calling from the Elmwood Correctional Facility in Milpitas. Collect. Seguy accepted the charges and listened as Yaeger reassured him.
"I miss you guys," he said. "Don't worry, I'll fix everything. When I get out of here, I've got big plans."