I formed CORE Advisory Group a month prior to entering to a nightmarish business relationship with the owner of “Colleagues in Law” (CIL), Devin Benter, back in April of 2015. Prior to the creation of CORE Advisory Group, I met with Devin Benter at his office, which was located at 151 Kalmus Drive, in the city of Costa Mesa, California and this was back in March of 2015
Our initial meeting together, was intended to discuss with Devin to explain about my tax business and to see whether or not, if he would benefit from my tax services. It was a great way to increase my tax business by providing work for his existing client base while at the same time, prepare to launch CORE Advisory Group and I heard he was doing his own mail marketing advertisement campaign so that also drew my interest in wanting to work with him, and learn more on how I can benefit from him to help me generate sales calls from his marketing techniques.
Prior to my meeting with him, I had very little knowledge of the type of business he was running but knew it was related to helping people with their mortgage problems and the goal to start CORE Advisory Group was for the same purpose.
Upon my arrival at his Costa Mesa office, I was welcomed by his receptionist and at that point waited for Devin in the hallway of the reception area to meet with him. I have to admit, I was impressed, seeing his office was lively and fully functional, with 15+ staff/employees present, gave me a sense of assurance that I was meeting up with an established businessman.
Our meeting ended, with additional over phone conversations and as time went on, the prospect of acquiring new tax business from him seemed long stretch, so I geared my focus towards the newly formed business that I had just created, CORE, and decided to go ahead and utilize his marketing company “Deevo, LLC” to handle all my mail advertisement needs as well as using his exact business model.
The sole function of my newly formed company CORE, would act as a telemarketing company to acquire new businesses and once acquired, would send these clients over to his company CIL to process as a back end provider to perform the Advocacy & Dispute Resolution Program (A&DR), which was known at the time before changing to Lender Dispute Resolution Program (LDR) at a later time.
My first business transaction with Devin was when I had first purchase a list of 10,000 mail pieces from him, which he had told me should generate anywhere from 1.5% to 2% response rate, meaning out of 10,000 mailers, expect anywhere from 150 to 200 telephone calls from potential prospects calling to inquire about the program.
After the 3rd week of running a mail campaign through Devin, he had reached out to me to inform me that one of his affiliate partner JD United owned by Denny Lake was under heavy FTC investigation and his company Colleagues in Law was caught in the middle of this heat so he expressed concerns it might affect our operations.
At this point, I had already paid Devin well over $16,000 for three weeks worth of mail marketing campaign and this kind of news was nerve wracking and unsettling since I have relied on him solely to not only generate sales calls for me but also, once these prospects became clients, I would need him to provide the services and if anything were to happen, game over at that point.
While I awaited for more information from Devin to see what turn of events should I be expecting, I can’t fathom the thought of disgrace & embarrassment to have to tell my investors, staff/employees at the time, that I just set everyone up for a failure and the affiliate group I decided to do business with, was on a verge of an FTC crackdown.
We are now in the fourth week, and another mail marketing campaign had just been executed and no word from Devin so I had no choice but to inform my investors of the pending issues but held back from informing my staff, not wanting to alarm them.
Finally the call arrived from Devin and this time he asked to meet me in person so we met up and he had explained to me that the good news is that, the FTC reviewed his company and claim he is not in the wrong however he wanted to play safe and lay low and gave me a proposal stating that what he is about to offer me is a gold mine, and the only reason why I am getting this offer is the fact that I am already offering the same program to my clients that he has created, so it only make sense to offer me this partnership to combine our companies and merge as one but under my company brand until the investigation is over is when he can be on the books again just to be safe.
He assured me that FTC cleared him from any wrong doings, but he doesn’t feel comfortable continuing on as Colleagues in Law because it was linked to JD United and if news gets out that they are linked, it will be hard to obtain new businesses in the future.
Before he finished making his proposal, he had explained to me that he was already netting over $100,000 each month, so by me coming on board with this merger, I would acquire 20% net right out of the gate, on one contingent, I would allow him full control of the company as if it was his. He would provide all of the financial aspect of the operations and all he ask for is my help with the small tasks around the office and build a strong team for him.
In my mind, this offer wasn’t bad at all and plus, if he was already netting $100,000 each month, that means my income would be $20,000 right out of the gate, on top of that, I can spare the shame of having to face my staff to tell them that the business isn’t working out and we will have to close shop, so I accepted his offer and immediately began moving my staff over to his office in Costa Mesa. Thankfully for my investors, they were understandable and agreed for me to repay back the investments over time and wish me the best of luck with my venture together with Devin.
May 5th, 2015, CORE Advisory Group, LLC was established in the state of Utah and formed as a Limited Liability Company as me the sole member/officer and Devin Benter will remain off records until the JD United investigation was over.
Now, I am not going to get into the details of the problems and issues between me and Devin. Just know, my business relationship ended and I separated from the company CORE Advisory Group, LLC. on March 31st, 2016.
I am sure everyone would agree with me, that any disputes, disagreements between business partners should be dealt with privately and if things can’t be resolved in a civilized matter, than seeking the help of a mediator would be a better choice to help isolate the unnecessary tensions that was already brewing.
So why almost 6 months after my separation from the company, I am now bringing this to a public forum with full of venom and negative spew about my former partner and CORE Advisory Group? What am I expecting out of this, by sharing all these personal details of our dysfunctional business relationship and why not just handle this offline and in the court room instead?
Having a business relationship with another partner(s) is very similar to a married couple. When a married couple ends up having issues and gets to a point where the relationship is just not salvageable and a divorce is imminent, prior to filing for a divorce, is it okay for one of the spouses to do the following;
- The unhappy spouse, change locks on the house, and threatens the other spouse to not lay foot on the property or that spouse will call the police? (this is reasonable if your life is at risk)
- Your spouse, empties your bank account and opens up a separate account diverting all funds that was earned together into the new account?
Now let’s circle back to the final week of March of 2016. In the midst of a dispute, I had asked Devin to provide me with all the profit & loss statement so I can verify the discrepancies that triggered our disputes.
Now remember, CORE Advisory Group, LLC, is solely under my name ONLY, which means, the CORE name, bank accounts etc… is also under my name. The only thing that was not under CORE Advisory Group, LLC was the office space which was leased under Devin Benter and Colleagues in Law.
On March 30th, 2016, Devin went to the Orange County Clerk Recorders Office and created a new fictitious business name of Core Advisory Group Svcs. Just one day prior to me attempting to tell everyone at the office, I am suspending CORE so I can work towards a dissolution with Devin Benter but instead, he had already planned ahead to continue the business by creating a replica of CORE. He then tells me that I am no longer welcome to the office and if I lay foot, he will contact the police.
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If this doesn’t sound like a shady maneuver, I don’t know what is, but this is the least of my worries at this point. There are bigger problems at stake ahead of me, since my name is on the company and I have a former business partner that has gone rogue. – Source
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