April 20, 2000
Willis and Elisabeth Carto, and their attorney Joe Izen, have been served to appear in court on Friday, April 28 to face charges of civil and criminal contempt of court. These charges were filed March 18, 2000. Also served was long-time Carto conspirator LaVonne Furr, of Arkansas.
The charges arise from the Cartos' diversion of approximately $18,000 left to the IHR by supporter Jack Graham in 1994. Without informing anyone at IHR about the existence of the bequest, the Cartos had the checks sent directly to them. They then opened a bank account in the name of the IHR in another state, illegally using the IHR’s federal tax identification number on the account. Willis and Elisabeth then proceeded to deposit bequest and other checks made out to IHR into this bogus account until 1998.
Ordinarily, the Cartos' actions would be a simple case of suing to recover the monies. However, in November 1996, Judge Maino ruled that the Cartos had also diverted a multi-million dollar bequest from IHR supporter Jean Farrel. As part of his judgment against Carto, Maino ordered that the Cartos cease holding themselves out to others (such as banks) as representing the IHR, and that they turn over all IHR assets and records.
Rather than comply, the Cartos continued diverting funds from the Graham estate to the bogus bank account even after Maino’s explicit orders to the contrary. Carto attorney Joe Izen, who was hired to appeal the Maino judgment, allowed statements for the bogus account to be mailed to his office in Texas.
Fortunately, IHR found out about the Graham bequest from another source, although by that time all assets from the bequest had been dispersed. Thus far, the Cartos and Izen have refused legal demands for an accounting of the monies, and have not returned any of the remaining monies.
It is expected that the Cartos will return whatever monies remain in the bogus account before April 28, in an effort to mitigate the civil contempt charges against Izen and Furr. Even if this happens, however, Judge Maino will hear arguments regarding criminal contempt of a court order against all four charged parties.