Mark Phillips is out of prison, and now he’s looking to clear his name. The 38-year-old former CEO of MOD Systems, who was sent to prison in July 2011 on fraud and money laundering charges, is back in court asking a federal judge for a new trial. He’s also filed a fresh lawsuit against a number of players in the MOD case, including the estate of the late Seattle angel investor Bob Arnold. That suit alleges fraud, conspiracy, breach of contract, among other charges.
Representing himself, Phillips submitted a lengthy motion on March 29th in which he claims that key government witnesses repeatedly lied about his role in the scheme.
The motion reads like a steamy crime novel, and the legal salvo marks the latest chapter in one of the more bizarre stories ever to emerge from the Seattle tech community. Phillips writes:
This is a complex, intricate case involving millions of pages of documents and testimony. It has every element of a suspense movie; alleged fraud, an illicit love affair, a con artist, tens of millions of dollars in contracts, and a young, somewhat naïve protagonist. But it is not a movie, it is Mr. Phillips’ life. When only part of the story is told, some of the acts or statements lack context and can be spun to fit any narrative. But Mr. Phillips believes that when all the facts are disclosed, the full context is understood and the “interests of justice” demand a new trial.
So much of the evidence was not introduced at trial, whether because of the sheer size of the documentation, negligence, or malfeasance; is not important. What matters is that the evidence not introduced tells a strikingly different story, one that would alter the outcome in this case. There are several striking reasons that should compel the court to grant a new trial.
Phillips goes on to write that the evidence suggests that “each and every key witness relied upon by the government lied about material facts.”
Much of Phillips’ argument revolves around the role of his former girlfriend and business consultant Jan Wallace, a Canadian resident who he calls an “accomplished con artist.” In his suit, Phillips notes that Wallace “made incalculable misrepresentations and misstatements of material facts.”
Legal documents submitted last month allege that Wallace, who was granted immunity in exchange for her testimony, lied about her father’s death and concocted a “rape for hire” scheme involving her teenage daughter in order to manipulate Phillips.
“Her entire life is a fabrication. No interaction between Ms. Wallace and plaintiff was honest. It is believed that Ms. Wallace, from the inception of their relationship, planned to steal from plaintiff anything of value that she could acquire either by herself or in concert with others.”
Phillips motion goes on to say that Wallace’s testimony “so tainted the trial, so prejudiced the jury, that the verdict cannot stand.”
It’s unclear whether Wallace has yet been served, and we’ve been unable to contact her or her attorneys for the story. Christopher Cavallar Mason, an attorney who is representing the estate of Bob Arnold, attorney Jeffrey Smyth and Arnold’s longtime CPA Julia De Haan, issued this statement to GeekWire.
“The latest allegations are baseless, and will be dismissed,” said Mason. “They are only the latest attempt by Mr. Phillips to blame others for his misconduct. It is unfortunate that he continues to refuse to take personal responsibility for his actions.”
Phillips was released from prison last week, earlier than expected in part because the tech executive successfully reversed the mail fraud charge that he was originally convicted on.
Nonetheless, at the time of his sentencing, U.S. District Judge John Coughenor said that Phillips’ conduct was “deficient, dishonest, imperfect and wrong,” though he also added that the entrepreneur was “no Bernie Madoff.”
MOD Systems, which is no longer in existence, developed digital media kiosk technology for the electronic distribution of movies and TV shows at airports and other retail locations. It was heavily funded, including backing to the tune of $40 million from the likes of Toshiba and NCR, and led by top technology executives in the Seattle area.
Here’s the document in which Phillips requests a new trial.
Here’s the suit that Phillips has filed against Bob Arnold, Jan Wallace and others:
The most recent legal salvo by Phillips was filed Tuesday: