Ponzi Scheme Felon on Arizona Wing & National Staff

CAP Lt Col James L. Nova
CAP Lt Col James L. Nova

By Skip Munger | News of the Force

UPDATE: As of 2019, CAP Lt Col James L. Nova is an active CAP member on the National Legislative Staff as the state legislative coordinator in Washington, DC. He was appointed by Maj Gen Mark Smith.

Sources have told AuxBeacon that he was reinstated by CAP Maj Gen Charles Carr when he became the National Commander in August 2011 even though his membership was terminated by the MARP in 2010.

The July 2015 CAP Directory shows, Lt Col James L. Nova, a convicted felon, as an active CAP member on the National Legislative Staff as the state legislative coordinator in Washington, DC and serves on the Arizona Wing HQ staff as the state legislative liaison officer.]

James L. Nova James L. Nova

You’d think that more than a year after News of the Force reported that the then-commander of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP)’s Arizona Wing was a convicted felon, and he was removed from that office, that at least that wing would have learned a lesson.

Not so fast, though. Now, NOTF has learned that the current Vice Commander of the CAP’s Arizona Wing is also a convicted felon, having been convicted in a Federal court in Arizona in 2007 of a second-degree federal felony.

The charges had to do with conspiracy, money-laundering, and embezzlement. CAP Maj James L. Nova, the Wing Vice Commander, pleaded guilty to one felony charge and received probation. But now, in addition to his duties as the Wing Vice Commander, sources have told NOTF, has been given the additional duty – are you sitting down? – as the Arizona Wing Finance Officer!

Nova’s biography says that he attended the Concord Law School from 2001-2003. It does not indicate that he received a degree. According to its website, Concord Law School became a part of Kaplan University in 2007. Kaplan is apparently an accredited school, but the Concord Law School is not. Both are online universities, and Concord’s website does not make any claims that graduates of the law school can become members of the bar in any state. In fact, Concord’s own website states: “Increasingly, a law degree is the ticket into a host of rewarding careers – many of which don’t require taking a bar exam, joining a practice or engaging in any of those high-drama courtroom scenes you’ve seen on Law and Order or Boston Legal.”

And the Arizona Wing should have known that Nova had been charged by the federal government in the money-laundering scheme. A detailed story on the case, naming names, was published in the Arizona Republic newspaper in 2004.

On May 29, 2004, reported Dennis Wagner, “Angelo S. Tullo, 48 of Scottsdale, is charged with 29 counts of conspiracy, money laundering and wire fraud while at American Business Funding, Inc, and HVAC Depot, Inc” Also indicted were Gene Monteleone, 47 and James Nova, 65 both of Scottsdale; John R. “Rick” Wolfe, 51 of Glendale; Margaret Molter, 35 of Mesa; and Allan Guttentag, 53 of Agoura Hills, CA.

“Court records say the defendants also used ‘a classic Ponzi scheme,’ paying early investors with money from those who followed. Each felony count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, plus fines and asset forfeiture. Internal Revenue Service spokesman Jim McCormick said the four-year investigation was conducted by his agency and the FBI,” Wagner wrote. “Tullo and Monteleone headed ABF, of Scottsdale, before it filed for bankruptcy protection three years ago amid criminal investigations and lawsuits. Guttentag and Wolfe also worked at ABF. Before that, Tullo and Nova oversaw HVAC, which suffered a similar demise. Molter is Tullo’s personal assistant.”

“The indictments represented the first criminal prosecution in a network of white-collar enterprises tracked by enforcement agencies for years, as first published in the Arizona Republic in May 2004. Nova pled guilty in federal court to 1 count of conspiracy, after reaching a plea agreement,” a source who requested anonymity. “ Nova currently serves not only as the vice commander, but has also been appointed chairman of the organization’s finance committee. Additionally, Nova holds a title of “strategic partner,” a position designed to lure corporate donations to the organization,” the source said. “ Nova, together with CAP wing commander Col John M. Eggen, who appointed Nova to these powerful positions, lobbied closely with Arizona state legislators on House Bill 2482, allowing state and federal taxpayer funds to be used by the [state’s] CAP.”

News of the Force reported all of this information, and provided copies of the court documents obtained exclusively by NOTF, to the CAP’s National Headquarters at Maxwell AFB, AL, prior to running this story. Sources close to the National Headquarters told NOTF that a “major meeting” was held on this subject this morning at the organization’s national headquarters, and that a national inspector general’s investigation has been initiated.

And in an email to our editor today, Julie DeBardelaben, the deputy director of public affairs at the CAP’s National Headquarters, writes: “Mr. Munger, Just wanted to follow up to let you know that CAP is in receipt of your email. This information is under review and CAP regulations will be followed. Thanks, Julie.”

One of the reasons NOTF passed all of this information to the CAP prior to running the story was to see if the CAP would actually take appropriate action in this case when presented with documented evidence.

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Report of Recent Membership Action Review Panel Cases

CAPR 35-8 requires that all decisions of the Membership Action Review Panel be published. Listed below is a report of the actions completed by the MARP since 2010:

• On 12 February 2010, former Lt Col James L. Nova of the Arizona Wing appealed his membership termination alleging a material failure to follow the regulations and lack of due process. On 17 December 2009, then Lt Col Nova was notified that the National Commander [Maj Gen Amy Courter] had declared his membership null and void based on his failure to continue to meet the initial membership eligibility criteria. In reviewing the information submitted the MARB determined that Mr Nova had been convicted of a felony in federal court and failed to notify CAP of the change to the background information originally submitted on his membership application as required. Since conviction of a felony requires a waiver by the National Commander or Executive Director and the decision on eligibility is final and not subject to appeal, the MARB determined they had no jurisdiction in this matter and declined to hear the case.

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