The Valparaiso man
who’s admitted conning a Californian woman out of her life savings--who’s
also admitted showing up at her home in the middle of the night with
peculiar tools under suspicious circumstances--wants out of jail.
William D. Cantrell Jr., through his attorney, Jennifer Soble, petitioned
the U.S. District Court in Hammond to re-open the detention hearing held on
Sept. 3, 2014, at which Cantrell was ordered held without bond at the Porter
County Jail, pending his trial on federal charges of mail fraud and
interstate stalking. Cantrell has been in custody ever since.
According to his
Soble, however, “Mr. Cantrell has suffered from numerous health problems
since being incarcerated, including neurological episodes.”
Soble does not
specify the nature either of those “health problems” or of the “neurological
The U.S. Attorney’s
Office has not objected to re-opening the detention hearing, Soble states in
On May 18, Cantrell
agreed to plead guilty to one count of mail fraud, after he admitted
persuading a California woman in 2010 to invest more than $800,000 in an
unregistered investment fund under his control, then--after apparently
diverting the money to his own use--for the next two years issuing the woman
false quarterly statements through the U.S. Postal Service showing purported
net increases in her investment of more than $40,000.
discovered the fraud in July 2013, after instructing Cantrell to make a
distribution to her of $120,000. Cantrell prevaricated for several weeks,
until finally telling her that “there was no money” anymore, that he’d lost
it within weeks of her investment, and that the quarterly statements were
At that point the
woman filed a civil suit against Cantrell in the U.S. District Court in
Hammond, to which Cantrell--according to the judge who later awarded the
woman default judgment--responded with a “minimum diligence,” except for one
particular filing deemed “impertinent and scandalous” and actually stricken
from the record.
Then, in the early
morning hours of March 19, 2014, the woman discovered Cantrell outside the
door of her home in California. Police officers who responded to the scene
subsequently found Cantrell unconscious on the woman’s front lawn in
possession of a drywall saw and a crowbar, items he’d purchased soon after
arriving in Californian from Indiana.
subsequently indicted on one count of mail fraud and one of interstate
In exchange for
Cantrell’s pleading guilty to mail fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has
agreed to dismiss the charge of interstate stalking and to recommend the
minimum applicable term of incarceration in federal prison. But three days
after Cantrell entered into the plea agreement, on May 21, a judge on a
different bench in the U.S. District Court ordered him to pay the woman a
total of $2,695,076.02 in damages, including the actual investment she lost
to him and three times that amount in treble damages.