At one time Damian Kutzner was living the debt relief high life. He had participated or even concocted the mass joinder mortgage elimination scheme at the height of the real estate meltdown. A large number of good people believed the sales hype. The end result was a couple of attorneys who are suspended, a couple of people in jail, and a couple of people still fighting the government to avoid terrible fates.
Well, Damian Kutzer eventually received a sentencing hearing and was given 70 months in federal prison in Sheridan, Oregon. He is also ordered to repay total restitution of $587,864.22.
All of these crash and burn situations end poorly most of the time. The Perpetrators wind up folding and resurrecting themselves using a similar scheme but with a different product. The consumers that believed the sales hype lose money and more. Workers and affiliated companies lose jobs and income.
But the saddest outcome of the case has to be the picture painted by Kutzner’s own words. They may have been just for show but the picture it paints is a tragedy wrapped in a scam, wrapped in financial misfortunate all around.
So here are Damian’s own words to describe his actions and the current state of life. Let’s just hope this marks a turning point where he can begin to use his cleverness to help people after he gets out.
Damian Kutzner Statement
Dear Judge: Josephine L. Stanton
My name is Damian Kutzner and I write because I’m tormented with shame and grief. I’m deeply remorseful for the crimes that I committed. Introspection leaves me no choice but to acknowledge that I’ve been a man of poor character, a man who failed to live up to his fullest potential. My actions have victimized others and I’m sorry. I’ll spend the rest of my life working to atone or to reconcile with society—to the best of my ability.
Prior to pleading guilty, I failed to appreciate the severity of my crimes. Yet over the past three and a half years, while waiting for my judicial proceedings to unfold, I’ve not had a single day without suffering from a guilty conscience. Rest isn’t possible without my being heavily medicated. Even though I take medication for anxiety and other disorders, I don’t know how to stop the mental anguish that comes from accepting the colossal disappointment I’ve been and the bad decisions that I’ve made throughout my life.
For decades I’ve been a party to civil judicial proceedings relating to various businesses decisions I’ve made. I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t learn from those actions. Proceedings in the federal criminal courts have given me an entirely new perspective. As a criminal defendant, and now as a convicted felon, I’ve been forced to look at decisions I’ve made throughout my life. I’m humiliated and embarrassed because I know how I must look to others who will be judging me from this point of my life going forward. I am determined to do better. Moving forward requires that I reflect on my past and figure out how I put myself in this position. Then I must create a plan to reconcile with the victims I have harmed.
My lawyer explained what to expect. The crimes I committed will result in a probation officer scheduling an interview with me. The probation officer will prepare a report and offer a recommendation for sentencing. My lawyer said he will prepare a sentencing memorandum and the prosecutor will also submit documents for you to consider at sentencing.
Besides those official documents, I feel compelled to offer this personal narrative for you and all the people who will judge me in the future. When deliberating over the appropriate punishment, I’m hopeful that you will consider the totality of my life, and not just the criminal charge. And I am hopeful that you find it possible to extend mercy. To ask for mercy, however, I need to express the influences that led me to this bad spot in my life.
I’m now 42 years old and bankrupt, trying to rebuild. When I write that I’m “bankrupt,” I don’t only mean from a financial perspective. Contrary to appearances and what I’ve led others to believe, I’ve always had money problems. Since my teenage years, I’ve had a pattern of living for immediate gratification and beyond my means—trying to impress others with my outward possessions rather than with my inner character. Results of decisions I’ve made have led me into bankruptcy, with my home in foreclosure and without financial resources. Yet I acknowledge that my deficiencies go far deeper than money problems I’ve created.
Where I’m really bankrupt is in my spirit, in my character. I want to become a better person and I’m determined to become a better person. Becoming better, however, begins with a commitment to change. I’d like to begin with a clean slate. Pursuit of a clean slate begins with introspection and opening up about my painful past. For the first time in my life, I’m opening up with this letter.
I come from a dysfunctional background. When my parents married they were very young. My father was a student at USC and my mother was only 18, the daughter of Mexican immigrants. I have an older brother and we were quite poor, living in public housing while my dad tried to finish his education. We had to relocate several times during my childhood. I lived in Southern California or Central Valley neighborhoods until I was 12, when my father graduated from medical school.
As the child of a young physician, one might assume that I grew up in a house of high moral standards. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Although I love my father very much, like all of us, he had his flaws. After my father transitioned from poor and struggling student to board-certified anesthesiologist, his social and financial status changed. He went through a personal crisis as he transitioned from welfare to affluence. Rather than building a great family life, my dad started cheating on my mom and abusing drugs.
Our house was very volatile, with my dad becoming violent and threatening, even threatening to kill my mom. They divorced when I was 12 and the court made me choose to live with either my dad or my mom. I didn’t really understand how I was supposed to choose, and I didn’t know how. My older brother went to live with my mom and I stayed with my dad. He became a huge influence on my life.
After my parents divorced, my dad told me that he wanted me to consider him a friend rather than a strict parent. He said that he knew I would likely experiment with drugs and alcohol in school. Rather than using drugs, drinking, and getting high with other kids, my dad said that I should get high and party with him. I smoked my first joint with my dad when I was 12. We started smoking crack together when I was 13. As a young teenager, my dad and I got matching tattoos to show our independence and allegiance against authority.
My father may have been a physician, but after he divorced from my mom, he went wild with substance abuse. He introduced me to every type of drug, including methamphetamines, cocaine, acid, and weed. As a result of being high all of the time, I was a horrible student and had some troubles with the juvenile justice system.
While on a break from my father, I moved in with my mom for a while in San Diego. Besides getting high on every type of drug imaginable, I had a knack for breaking into cars. Police officers eventually caught me. A judge sentenced me to probation when I was 15. When my dad heard that the sanction required me to wear an ankle bracelet, he instructed me to cut it off and move with him to Alaska. We were rebels, he said, and I wanted to believe him. As a child, I wanted to be like him. At 15, he gave me the guidance I wanted rather than the guidance I needed. Following his instructions, I cut off the ankle bracelet and absconded from probation to join my dad in Alaska, not realizing that I was making things worse.
Moving from city to city, state to state, was a pattern with my dad. His substance abuse problems frequently raised suspicions from his colleagues in the medical profession. To avoid disciplinary problems with the medical board, whenever my dad’s peers asked questions about his erratic behavior, he would pack up and move to another state. Those frequent moves left me without a sense of stability. I never knew where we would settle. My father would relocate us from various neighborhoods in Southern California to the Central Valley, to Alaska, to Indiana, and to Georgia. Over the course of my adolescence, I attended 13 high schools and required six years before I earned my high school equivalency.
By the time I turned 18, I saw law-enforcement officers raid my dad’s house. They suspected that he was involved in some type of drug ring in Indiana. After the officers left, we packed up and moved to Georgia, where he opened a pain management clinic. Fighting with authorities has been a part of my life since I was a child, and I considered it normal.
In Georgia, my dad was abusing heroin badly. On several occasions he threatened to kill himself. I saw him play Russian roulette, putting a pistol to his mouth twice. I saw him slamming heroin into his veins, proudly saying the dosage was strong enough to kill a horse. I realized that I had to get away, or else I would likely be on the same path—with no way to earn a living.
Trying to Change:
After I turned 18, I decided to leave my dad in Georgia and return to California. I realized that I was on a downward spiral, using drugs and partying way too much. If I didn’t change, I knew that I wouldn’t go anywhere in life. Trying to make a fresh start, I settled in Orange County, where I met an accomplished businessman who mentored me and inspired me to make something of my life. He was very serious about business and I aspired to follow in his footsteps. Unfortunately, I lacked the inner strength to do everything in the right way. I was too much like my dad.
Around the same time, authorities arrested my dad and he pleaded guilty to several felonies. My dad went to prison for five years. Seeing him in prison let me know that I did the right thing by moving to California to start a new life. Despite those aspirations of following the steps of my mentor, I didn’t have the good character or discipline that would be necessary. I guess the apple didn’t fall far from the tree, and family patterns tended to repeat. Since going through this introspection, I’ve learned that sins of the father carry on for several generations. I’m determined to stop that pattern with my children, which is one of the reasons I’m writing this painful narrative. I’m ashamed to admit that I turned out to be much more like my father than my mentor. I was incapable of staying the course of living a clean life.
At first, I returned to school so that I could earn my realtor’s license. While attending school I simultaneously worked for Union Home Loans. My job was to cold call brokers who represented clients that couldn’t qualify for conventional loans. I worked at Union Home Loans for a year, learning the ropes of the lending business. Once the state issued my real estate license, I went to work for Alpha America Mortgage, in the mid 1990s.
Although I only had a minimal education, I succeeded as a mortgage broker because I had good communication skills and I could speak well with people over the phone. I became a top performer in the company in the mid 1990s.
When I started working as a mortgage broker, the Internet and email era were becoming mainstream. I saw those tools as being immensely valuable in helping to reach potential customers. At the time, laws didn’t exist to limit mass email systems. I teamed up with some programmers who wrote computer scripts that allowed me to gather email addresses. Once I had a systematic way of gathering those email addresses, I could begin trying to reach people by the thousands.
By repeating that process daily, I built a strong business. Then I opened my own mortgage company. The thought never occurred to me that anyone would consider my marketing actions as being bad, or crossing any lines. In fact, I thought of them as being entrepreneurial, creating jobs. I just never followed through to learn about how I could build this business responsibly.
As my business became financially successful, I relapsed to a life of hard partying and substance abuse. Although it’s shameful to admit, I’ve always been insecure and needed to make an impression on the people around me. Instead of living like the mentor who inspired me, I reverted to substance abuse. My life was a nonstop party, with drugs fueling me over many days without sleep. I spent money recklessly because of my need to appear successful. To feed my ego and impress other people, I spent money on things that I couldn’t afford. The more business that came my way, the more reckless I became with my spending and partying. Each month I would have to spend tens of thousands just to keep up with all of the unnecessary waste that had become a part of my daily life. And the drugs contributed to my making business decisions that made me vulnerable to law suits.
Authorities raided businesses that I started twice before I turned 30 years old. Rather than learning from the mistakes I had made, I kept making more bad decisions in life and in business. I surrounded myself with people who were impressed with my profligate and flamboyant lifestyle. Despite the appearance of wealth, I was living from month to month—recklessly spending more money each month that most people earned in an entire year. I bankrolled a rock star lifestyle on revenues that mass marketing created. Sadly, I can now see that those revenues came at the expense of consumers who became clients of companies I either started or represented through marketing campaigns I created.
Your honor, the truth is, I’ve made a lot of very bad business and life decisions. I’ve been a drug addict since I was 13. Despite having a substandard formal education, I’ve had an instrumental role in building businesses or marketing for businesses that generated millions of dollars in revenues. But I never took the time to understand the “proper” way of doing things with regard to accounting and bookkeeping. That’s why I got into so much trouble.
Until I pleaded guilty to these charges, I lived a delusional life. I convinced myself that lawsuits against me meant that I was succeeding, as I was battling with corporations that were far more sophisticated than I could ever hope to become. In my mind, I was beating those big corporations.
My job was in finding customers. I convinced myself that by outworking others, I could outmaneuver my adversaries. And as long as I was taking drugs, I could outwork anyone. My life has been one long pattern of self-destruction. I didn’t realize how much trouble I was in until the prosecutors convinced me that I was guilty. Since pleading guilty, I’ve been forced to reflect on the troubles I’ve created.
There isn’t any excuse for the undisciplined way that I’ve lived my life. And my purpose in writing this narrative isn’t to make excuses. Rather, I want those who read this document to know that I’ve thought extensively about how I put myself in this position. I had bad role models while growing up and I lacked the strength of character to become a better person.
Since pleading guilty, I began taking solid steps that would show my commitment to change. Besides reflecting on my past, I’ve laid out plans and began taking action steps to show how badly I want to make things right.
As soon as I agreed to plead guilty, I made a commitment to sobriety. I’m not perfect, but I’m trying to do better. I’m the father of six children and I don’t want them to grow up with the same bad influences that I had as a child. Prior to pleading guilty, I had been taking 20 Vicodin pills a day, and 40 Soma pills a day. By taking a Vicodin and a Soma, I could get the energy I needed to work and also sleep at night. I was so up and down, I sometimes felt like a yoyo. Drug abuse had been a part of my life since I was a teenager, but I made a commitment to stop after I pleaded guilty. I’m working to control my substance abuse every day.
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Since I had debt problems, I knew that others had debt problems. I created marketing solutions that would help lawyers who built businesses to solve debt problems. Since I had problems with foreclosures, I knew that others were having problems with foreclosures. I built marketing solutions that would help lawyers who convinced me that they had solutions for people in foreclosure. Likewise, since I had problems with substance abuse, I knew that many others had problems with substance abuse. After getting in trouble with the law, I decided to use my marketing skills to people in need get the treatment they needed to overcome their substance abuse problems—even if they didn’t have access to insurance.
With my dad and my brother, I began working on a venture to provide treatment for substance abuse to recovery homes for addicts. Recovery homes were not willing to treat those addicts unless they had proper insurance. My father, who was able to restore his license to practice medicine, and who has been sober for longer than 15 years, provides the medical oversight to operate a clinic. I do a street outreach to help addicts get the treatment they need. I recently opened a relationship with the Lighthouse Church, a soup kitchen, so we can provide substance abuse treatment to the homeless. I’m also working with Breakaway Church to ensure more addicts are able to get the treatment they need, regardless of their ability to pay for treatment.
Plea for Mercy:
I know that I’m a man who has made many bad decisions. Those bad decisions began for me when I was still a young boy, growing up in a violent household. Influence led me into addiction before I could legally drive a car. And substance abuse resulted in my failing to advance through a proper education. I learned how to market, but I never learned much about building good character. Unfortunately, my actions resulted in victimizing the system of business.
For longer than two years now, I’ve been tormented by my conscience because of the problems I had a role in creating. By [XX] turning my life around, I’ve tried to atone. It’s my hope that you will see how much I’ve thought about what brought me to this bad stage in my life. Those introspections will ensure that I never cross the line again.
It’s my hope that those who read this open letter will have mercy when imposing the sanction. – Source
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