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Neill victim acquires Lake Summit property

Lake Summit property owned by Sam Neill, now serving federal prison time for income tax evasion, has been acquired by one of the estates he was convicted of stealing from.


Neill was convicted in federal court of income tax evasion and in state court of taking more than $3 million from clients or their heirs after entering guilty pleas in both jurisdictions.
One of the victims was the Ruth D. Danis estate. Neill admitted to stealing $850,000 from the estate and had signed promissory notes to the estate for $250,000 in July 2008, $250,000 in September 2008, $300,000 in October 2008, $100,000 in December 2008 and $75,000 in September 2011. The notes were secured by a deed of trust for three Lake Summit lots and other parcels that Neill and his wife, Nancy K. Hayes, owned next to their home on Camp Windy Wood Road above the lake.
After Clerk of Superior Court Kim Gasperson-Justice ordered the foreclosure in June, attorney Phillip R. Feagan, the administrator of the estate, bought the property in a foreclosure sale for $750,000, a transaction more than covered by the total of $1.12 million Neill owed the estate through the promissory notes plus $116 a day interest. Feagan's bid on behalf of the Danis estate was subject to an upset bid of at least $787,500. The deadline for an upset passed on July 22 with no other bid, meaning the property is now owned by the estate. The undeveloped property is assessed for tax purposes at $310,600.
If the estate could sell the land, the proceeds would become the first restitution the disbarred lawyer had actually made to one of his victims. When he pleaded guilty to the charges in state court Neill promised to make full restitution to all the victims. He has signed over deeds of trust to support that promise but so far nothing has been liquidated to pay victims. The properties are either mortgaged beyond their appraised value, owned jointly with other investors, or, in the case of his former Flight restaurant property, already sold with no money left for the estate he had named in promissory note.
The old Joy Drive-In property, which Neill owns with his brother, Roy, is on the market for $1.95 million. If the property sold, Sam Neill's share of the proceeds would go to the Community Foundation and Four Seasons hospice, the beneficiaries of the Barry Clemo estate, one of the attorney's victims.