The Hedgecock Friasko
Ponzi schemes are often the headlines in our daily newspapers. Sometimes those that are found guilty are just innocent players in a dangerous game. But, Stephen Foerster is caught in the middle of an illegal Ponzi scheme and dirty fracking operation created and engineered by his ex-boss. Guilt by association and this is not the half of it as Stephen is enlisted in an even more dangerous game as his world comes shattering down and his life takes a huge turn when framed using Ft. Lauderdale Florida as the scenery Stephen is about to fight for his life before someone takes him out. Using a false name, getting fake papers he goes across the country finding himself in Ft. Lauderdale. But, there are people that want him to take on another role and someone decides to try and end his life as he is running away from not only the law, his former employer but a private investigator hired to kidnap him and send him on a journey that send two detectives on his tale, asking questions that he skirts around the answers as someone shoots him, injures him as while running and his destination against his better will or judgment is the hospital. Taken in and evaluated he tries to figure out how to escape. When he does leave and the police come to question him they cannot understand why he’s missing and no one on the hospital reported it. With his body in bandages he makes his way out and out of nowhere comes a young man named Jason on a different quest who decides to offer him so help to create some excitement in his life and what he is about to do might endanger him as well.
Within the novel there is a young man who has been dealing in drugs. Killing the cartel’s major supplier and customer named Charlie puts Ronald in a bad position with the two brothers in charge. Threatening him and explaining that he will make up the losses did not make him happy but the end result would be even worse.
The police but an investigator named Johnny Petrocelli are guarding Stephen or Petrol as he is called is dangerous and threatened him in the hospital if he does not prepare himself to go with him and deal with the fallout from the Ponzi scheme.
An unknown assailant while crossing a bridge in Fort Lauderdale shoots a runner. The injury interrupts his flight from the scandal he exposed linking a ponzi scheme and a dirty fracking operation in California. The two detectives assigned to find the runner’s assailant are baffled by his refusal to cooperate, and their investigation is repeatedly waylaid by other bizarre crimes. A massive hurricane bears down on South Florida and impedes the runner’s efforts to escape opposing parties in the hedgecock friasko who want him dead or captured. The longer he remains, the more dangerous it becomes, and the more dilemmas he must solve.
The path to freedom will be long and hard but when drugs, gangs and money are involved the end result cannot be positive. Added in the author has created another difficulty in the form of a huge and deadly hurricane named Dexter that most so far have discounted but definitely will play a part in the outcome. Greed, power, revenge, drugs, money and more will come into play before the final showdown. What does Stephen have that someone wants so badly they shot him on the street and sent a thug named Petrol after him for it? Why won’t he give it up?
Confessions and truths are revealed in many ways as the author explains just how Sheldon created his on Ponzi scheme, siphoned off money that his bosses had and used the fact that his bosses offices were unlocked so that he was able to log on to their computers, steal files and records and take some of the profits and put it into his own fake accounts. Hedegcock, Costello and Sheldon are guilty. But, the two detectives assigned to the case find another link with Ricky a young drug dealer also caught up somehow in this scheme leading to a revelation that Sheldon had no idea about.
A corrupt cop that is in on the drug deals, a young guy named Ricky caught in the middle, a group of Cubans wanting to take everyone down as Jason, Sheldon and Ricky are taken captive. While Hedgecock plans to regroup and start up the fracking deals showing everyone that they are legitimate when in reality he created companies that do not exist and siphoned and laundered money for his own use. Or was it for his own use? Sheldon is clever and remembered the day when he realized what Hedgecock was up to. Asked to cover as the author relates a routine discovery motion in the firm’s defense of the company accused of poor fracking policies, Salton Oil Exploration against the Friends of East County. But, he did not have all of the information and files. He decided to enter the office of a senior partner and realized the file was not on his desk. Finding a key in a keyhole was the answer as he found 10,000 dollars in cash, the password for the computer files that convinced him that his boss had convinced investors he was a principal in the company and they had a dozen drilling sits going when Salton Oil in reality only had one. Setting up an LLC for each fictional or fake site and creating balance sheets and ledgers showing assets and oil and gas production that did not exist. This was just the tip of the iceberg. There were emails that suggested that he intended to use the reports findings to extort more money out of the oil company in exchange for presenting its release to the public. But, Hedgecock had Plan B, which called for him to point to the report as the reason for closing and shutting down the fracking operation and the cause of the loss for the investor’s money. Sheldon decided to advance or accelerate the scheme but first do some skimming of the money to fun his own escape to start over again. He managed to bolster his bonus and more to the amount of 275 thousand dollars. Things spiral out of control when all the parties come into play and Washburn the crooked cop goes after Ricky, Sheldon and Jason. It gets worse before Sheldon gets out of the hospital he has Ricky as a roommate but another young man named Jimmy goes off when his football team loses, he shoots and injures a young girl and then fires at Lucinda who shoots him in the butt.
When Gus and Lucinda think they have it figured out and try to take down Washburn, Jimmy and Ricky the end result is right out of an action movie with so many players, guns drawn, prisoners changing places with their captors and the final outcome will raise the body count. Jimmy is involved in drugs and ID theft, Ricky is accused of both too, and he has two out of control teenagers and a girlfriend named Pam. When Jimmy is captured and they can’t find Pam what happens next including Ricky, Jason and Sheldon gone will leave readers wondering what is next? Will Mike go back and honor the subpoena and testify to clear himself? Will Jason survive what the killers had planned for all of them? Added in the storm, the horrific hurricane battles the forces of nature and lives and businesses as well as homes are lost making it hard to the community to rebound and even more difficult for Lucinda and Gus to safe the captives. With both Gus and Mike wanting to date Lucinda, and Jason wanting to be a cop just what does author Rick Hussey have in store for us if Mike Sheldon/AKA Stephen Foerster? The ending leaves room for a definite sequel as who will pay for this Hedgecock Friasko: the major lawyers, Sheldon or the Oil company? Characters that are ripped right out of the headlines and two police detectives that seem to work well together and one man whose Ponzi scheme just might backfire in his face but that will be up to the courts and the judge to decide. Who gets the money? Who lives another day? Who will pay the final price for the drugs, gang’s warfare, ID theft and the HEDGECOCK FRIASKO?
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine