Alameda Man Disappears

Alameda Man Disappears

If you wanted to get rich quick investing in real estate, Alameda resident John Nelson Beck was the man to talk to. At least that’s what he wanted you to believe. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Beck, 73, doing business as “John Beck Amazing Profits, LLC,” sold unwitting customers “John Beck’s Free & Clear Real Estate System.” 

The “system’ promised “to teach consumers how to purchase homes for pennies on the dollar at government tax sales, and then earn substantial amounts of money selling or renting the homes for profit.” Beck helped create and is featured in an infomercial that began running about January 2004.  

Court papers reveal that Beck pocketed some $92 million selling his system and another $175 million for personal coaching sessions.

Beck’s claims raised more than a few eyebrows at the FTC. In 2009 the FTC filed a complaint against Beck and his company. On Nov. 17, 2009, the United States District Court issued a preliminary injunction that prohibited Beck from doing any more “get-rich-quick” business. Beck filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The matter went to trial and on Aug. 21, 2012, the United States District Court ordered Beck to pay $113,374,305. Beck appealed this judgement; the outcome of that case is pending. In 2013 he voluntarily suspended his bankruptcy case. Then, last year on Aug. 19, Judge Michael Fitzgerald signed a writ appointing a liquidating receiver to seize Beck’s assets, which includes two Alameda homes, one on Oleander Avenue on Bay Farm and the other on Regent Street. 

The court is allowing Beck and his wife, Joyce Beck, to remain in the Regent Street home until the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit hands down its ruling on Beck’s appeal. The court has taken control of Beck’s Oleander Avenue rental property. 

Beck disappeared from his Alameda home on Tuesday, Feb. 9. There have been two reported sightings, both the same day he disappeared: at Oakland’s 12th Street BART station and at Land’s End in San Francisco. The family is distributing flyers, hoping to locate him.