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All The Makings Of A Hollywood Blockbuster
by Robert Franco | 2008/06/19 |

Fast boats, drug deals, vanished millionaires, and lots and lots of missing money .  Will they discover bodies or fugitives from justice?  And... where did the $2.5 million go? If some big-shot producer doesn't have a writer working on the script, they might be missing a golden opportunity.  Somebody... get my agent on the phone!

Source of Title Blog ::

The first sign that Flagler Title was unraveling came on May 22, when the company's vice president, Edward Bierce, abruptly resigned. He has not been seen or heard from since, according to an affidavit the insurance company's investigator filed in court.

Flagler Title, described as one of the country's largest title companies, has closed its doors and its founder, Roger Gamblin, has been missing since May 29.  Attorneys for three of the company's underwriters have placed the company in receivership after they determined that Gamblin had used at least $2.5 million of escrow funds as his "personal line of credit."

Employees were told earlier this month, via conference call, that the company had run out of money and they would not be getting their mid-month paychecks.  "There were some very disgruntled people on that call," said the employee, who asked to remain anonymous.  Some of them began looting furniture and electronic equipment from the offices, prompting the underwriters to post guards. 

But, there is much more to the story... and, it gets very movie-like.

A couple of months before he disappeared, Gamblin took out a $500,000 line of credit on his West Palm Beach home.  His cell phone was shut off, and friends said that he sold all of his cars for cash.

An article on relates the recent events to another missing person case from 2 years ago.

Trindade, an avid fisherman, outdoorsman and friend of Gamblin's for at least 30 years, disappeared Jan. 12, 2006, while boating home from a vacation to the Bahamas. His 38-foot Donzi, a go-fast boat that had been used in filming the recent remake of Miami Vice, was found doing circles in the ocean, its owner missing.

Gamblin immediately launched and paid for an extensive search effort for his friend.

Federal investigators believe Trindade had stumbled on a drug transaction at sea between the Bahamas and Palm Beach County, was killed and then was dumped in the ocean. They also believe Gamblin's son Chris, who was traveling in a boat near Trindade's that day, may have been involved. Gamblin has always insisted his son is innocent.

That really starts to make the disappearance of Gamblin look awfully suspicious.  Shortly after amassing as much cash as he could, he called his operations manager, Bill Machesney, and was never seen again. 

Mechesney received a phone call from Gamblin, who told him that he and his wife, Peggy, were finishing a business trip in New York and were getting ready to take a cruise. He didn't say where. He asked Mechesney to put together two letters of recommendation for his sons, both of whom had worked for Flagler Title.

Mechesney later learned Gamblin instead had chartered a private jet to fly from West Palm Beach to Houston on May 25.

According to reports, Flager still had a booming business, even in today's market.  One of the underwriter attorneys is wondering why someone with such a good business would just "walk away." 

According to ABC affiliate WPFB-TV 25:

The Office of Homeland Security said it has an open investigation into Trindade’s disappearance... Trindade’s brother, Patrick, said pressures were mounting against the Gamblins, including an upcoming investigation by "Dateline NBC."


A source exclusively told News 25 that Gamblin’s computer tech worker looked at his office computer since Gamblin and his wife’s disappearance two weeks ago and found Internet searches on the topic “How to Disappear.”

What went wrong?  There is certainly more to the story that we may never know.  But, I'm sure a Hollywood studio and a creative writer can fill in the gaps using a little creative license and we can all watch one of many speculative possibilities on the big screen. 

Robert A. Franco


Categories: Crime, Defalcations

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Source of Title Blog

Robert A. FrancoThe focus of this blog will be on sharing my thoughts and concerns related to the small title agents and abstractors. The industry has changed dramatically over the past ten years and I believe that we are just seeing the beginning. As the evolution continues, what will become of the many small independent title professionals who have long been the cornerstone of the industry?

Robert A. Franco



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