Veteran Con Man Back to Swindling Elderly Veterans

Fleshy, dark-haired, stuttering Paul Noe II sits at a document-laden table with an elderly veteran. Noe asks the man about his military years, about what life has been like since, and offers a patient, sympathetic ear.

Noe is doing what he has long done best: persuading a senior to enter into a financial transaction he doesn't fully understand, one that stretches what the law allows, and one that stands to benefit Noe or his business associates in ways his new friend isn't fully aware of.

Noe is a convicted con man who has been investigated and sanctioned by the California Department of Insurance and sued by the California Attorney General. Yet he is still involved in business dealings that at the very least seem to invite greater scrutiny. Indeed, Noe's career reads to me like a road map through ways in which state regulatory and law enforcement agencies have failed to protect seniors from becoming financial prey.

In 1989, Noe was convicted of five felony counts of aiding and abetting wire fraud in connection with an insurance scam involving his uncle Clifford. (During the 1960s and '70s, Clifford and the father of Paul Noe were among the world's most famous con men.)

In the early 2000s, Paul Noe was in a type of business known as "trust mills," setting up living trusts ["Son of Super Swindler," Matt Smith, Feature, 9/10/03]. When I reminded him last week of this history, he boasted: "You talk about a scheme. People were indicted in the living trust business. But when I was in the living trust business, I was never indicted for anything."

Two years ago, then-state Attorney General Jerry Brown sued Noe and his business partner, Mitchell Roth, for operating what Brown called an "elaborate foreclosure rescue fraud scheme." The state settled for $1 million from Roth. ["Facing Foreclosure? Con Man Paul Noe II Has a Deal for You," Matt Smith, Column, 9/24/08]. "They dropped the suit against me," Noe bragged.

Now, Noe is back in action. His new venture, which he says he works on with his brother Sinclair, is called NSA Educational Academy. It involves helping veterans present themselves as more disabled and impoverished than they really are to qualify for federal "aid and attendance" pensions. A sister company, run by Sinclair, is called Financial Review Insurance Services. NSA Educational Academy's website, www.nsaea.org, is registered in the name of Paul Noe. It says the Academy is part of the "National Strategic Alliance of companies," which also offers "investment options."

The evidence suggests that Noe has entered yet another line of business rife with shady operators. In fact, the California Senate just unanimously passed a bill that would prevent such consultants from charging unreasonable fees.

"This has to do with financial predators," says Andrew Lamar, spokesman for state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro), who sponsored the bill. "They target veterans who have plenty of wealth but want to qualify for pensions and other programs that stipulate a certain low wealth standard to qualify."

According to San Francisco elder rights attorney Prescott Cole, the payoff comes when veterans, grateful for this service, are induced to buy insurance-based products they may not need.

The problem with such wholesale diversion of benefits is that when federal money runs out, truly poor and disabled veterans lose.


After a few minutes chatting with a potential veteran recruit, Noe directs the subject to health. He markets himself as an expert in the Veterans Administration's "aid and attendance" benefit, federal cash intended in part to help elderly ex-soldiers make up for nonreimbursed medical expenses, such as having a personal attendant help bathe or feed them.

According to a source who declined to be identified, a veteran insisted to Noe over and over again that he had no trouble bathing, grooming, or cleaning under his nails. But Noe instructed the man that the mere fact he'd visited a podiatrist was evidence that he couldn't take care of himself.

Another key to Noe's helping healthy veterans qualify for this benefit program is what he calls a "loophole" he discovered that allows veterans to seemingly conjure unreimbursed medical expenses from thin air. It works like this: Noe advises clients to set up a contract with a close relative to be a "caregiver" for, say, $900 per month, thus creating the appearance, on paper at least, of poverty.

But Noe tells clients they should set this up as deferred compensation so they don't actually have to make monthly payments. This way the caregiver relative "doesn't have to declare it on his taxes," Noe told one veteran.

Noe advises veterans to buy a template caregiver agreement form — stationery worth a few dollars — from www.discountlegaldoc.com, a domain registered by Noe. The price: a whopping $399. "That thing gets rid of the income," Noe told another veteran.

The end game comes once the veteran receives his first check, which can include retroactive benefits of $15,000 or more. Around that time, the veteran might get a call from an insurance sales rep associated with the National Strategic Alliance, offering high-dollar annuities and other financial products.

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6 comments
jamesgordonrealty
jamesgordonrealty

My Dad needs help and he is a vet. How do I get in touch with these people. If all it costs is $399 to get $15,000 that seems OK with me. My guess is the attorneys you quoted charge a lot more.

Betsy Jamison
Betsy Jamison

Once again Matt Smith attacks the wrong people. His paper the SF Weekly lost a law suit and had to pay a $15.6 million judgment to the San Francisco Bay Guardian for fraud and deceptive trade and he attacked the verdict. He apparently is attacking this guy who had lawsuits dropped and was not charged with doing anything wrong. Matt Smith is against legal verdicts in our courts and against helping Vets. Maybe Smith is guilty of treason!!

Bellagio1221
Bellagio1221

Bank of America income tax paid in 2009 and 2010 = zero. Exxon Mobil income tax paid in 2010 = zero. General Electic income tax paid in 2009 = zero.

Veterans applying for some help from VA = tax cheaters. I see where you stand.

John Strongate
John Strongate

NSA got me $1949 a month after the VA kicked my application because I couldn't respond in 30 days (I was in the hospital). They didn't charge me anything. It's Independence Day and I have my independence because of them. What the f--k have you done for Vets? They are helping 4 of my friends too.

Caustic_Commoner
Caustic_Commoner

Why isn't the AG smart enough to send in a few veterans who are wired up to catch this clown?

Betsy Jamison
Betsy Jamison

It sounds like the AG should investigate Matt Smith. Why don't you show your real name or is this more fraud by Mr. Smith.

 
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