Owner of Doberman Pinscher Show Dogs Found Dead with Multiple Dog Bites at her West Houston Home

champion dobermans kill owner in Houston
Elaine Richman, 66-years old, was discovered dead Friday with multiple dog bites.

Woman Found Dead
Houston, TX - A woman was discovered dead with multiple dog bites at her home last week, police said. On Friday, around 8:00 am, police performed a welfare check at a home in the 12800 block of Susanna Lane. They discovered 66-year old Elaine Richman dead in her backyard with dog bites on her face, arms and hands. Two adult Doberman pinschers were located inside the home, police said. The Houston Fire Department pronounced the woman dead at the scene.

"Her dogs were like her children," her brother Bruce told media outlets. "She spent so many years showing dobermans. They were her life."

Witnesses told police they had not seen Richman at her dog training classes for the last two days. According to a preliminary autopsy report by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, Richman died of "sharp force injuries." The manner of death was ruled accidental. A male and female Doberman, 2 and 4-years old, were confiscated and are being held at BARC, the shelter and adoption center for the city of Houston. The final cause of death remains pending.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Richman had been involved in the Doberman Pinscher Club of Houston and was accused of stealing from the organization. Between Nov. 10, 2011, and May 31, 2012, Richman embezzled $23,250 from the club while she was its treasurer, reports The Chronicle. She was also accused of falsifying financial statements, inflating the amounts of funds available to the club. She was given probation for eight years, set to end in November 2020.

The Chronicle also referred to CDC dog bite fatality data, which is now 20 years old. During the 20-year CDC study period from 1979 to 1998, Dobermen pinschers were involved 3.8% of human fatalities (9 of 238 deaths). A modern data set, examining the 13-year period of 2005 through 2017, shows that Dobermans were involved in only 1.4% of human fatalities (6 of 433 deaths). Despite their function as a protection breed, Dobermans are seldom involved in fatalities.

Rare Area of Fatal Dog Maulings

Show dogs and "protection" trained dogs rarely appear in fatal dog maulings. When they do, rottweilers perpetrate the most fatalities, including the deaths of 7-year old Logan Meyer of Wisconsin, 3-month old Dixie Jennings of North Carolina and 3-year old Vanessa Husman of Iowa. In 2011, Donna Conrad, 71, was killed by her Hungarian-imported protection trained Doberman. In 2009, Barbara Chambers, 59, died after being attacked by her Great dane "champion" show dog.

champion dobermans kill owner in Houston

Photographs of the two Dobermans suspected in the dog mauling death of Elaine Richman.

champion dobermans kill owner in Houston

Elaine Richman seen doing agility with one of her Dobermans in an undated photograph.

Related articles:
11/02/16: 2016 Dog Bite Fatality: New Dog Kills 4-Year Old Child, Injures Mother in Michigan
11/19/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: 7-Year Old Boy Killed by Trained Protection Dog in Wisconsin


Baseline reporting requirements:
Law enforcement departments across the United States should release consistent "baseline" information to the media and the public after each fatal dog mauling, including these items.

Unmasking a Con: How a Sudden Pit Bull Activist Parleyed Role into Top Job at No-Kill Humane Society in El Paso

Luke Westerman, a Self-Appointed "Animal Welfare Expert"

Luke Westerman con artist pit bull advocate
Luke Westerman, 37, is facing 19 felony counts of securities law violations and theft.

Lost His 'Dream Job'
DogsBite.org - On January 3, 2019, just three days after the closure of all 2018 fundraising campaigns for nonprofit organizations, KFOX14 broke the explosive story about the Executive Director of the Humane Society of El Paso (HSEP). On December 27, an Ohio grand jury indicted Luke Westerman on 19 felony counts of securities law violations and theft. For several years, Westerman had presented himself with the storied past of "leaving Wall Street to rescue animals."

According to Franklin County prosecutor Ron O’Brien, between 2010 and 2018, Westerman allegedly "solicited over $700,000 from 10 Ohio citizens for investment purposes, later misrepresented the status of the purported investments in false account statements and used some funds for personal purposes rather than the expressed investment purpose. The cash withdrawals and use for personal expenses from investment funds exceeded $300,000."

"Three humane society board members resigned in November 2018 after discovering that Westerman was not who he claimed to be." - KFOX14

By January 7, the exposé had spread to Ohio and was picked up by Fox 28. Reporter Geoffrey Redick interviewed Greg Leach, who formerly worked at a subsidiary of Solomon Global Holdings (SGH), Westerman's Ohio-based venture capital firm. It was Leach who blew the whistle on Westerman. Redick nails what happened after SGH vanished, "Luke Westerman popped up as a local animal rights activist, primarily for pit bulls. He parlayed that into a job down in Texas."

On January 7, Westerman turned himself in to Ohio authorities. The following day, the Humane Society of El Paso formally terminated him. A slew of questions then erupted. How long had HSEP board members known about Westerman's checkered background and how did he get hired to begin with? Board members had been alerted to his dodgy past in early November, but refused to take any action. They also failed to conduct a full background check before hiring Westerman.

Our Examination

In the 11 years of our nonprofit, we have seen a number of pit bull advocates and rescuers rise and sink. The "emotionally charged" pit bull advocacy and rescue spheres are easily exploitable. Thus, fraud and facades are commonplace. We decided to examine Westerman's background to find out just how easy it is for a con artist to maneuver from zero shelter management experience to an Executive Director role by creating sham companies, sham websites and a sham resume.

Our examination is a timeline starting in Westerman's brokerage years, which left him stripped of his brokerage license in 2010. We review the birth of his "pit bull" and "no-kill" advocacy in 2012, when he also invented the Westerman Family Foundation. We review how he built his social media pit bull fan base between 2015 and 2017, and how he targeted the upper echelon of the pit bull and no-kill spheres to help land him an Executive Director role at a no-kill humane society.

After Luke passed the Pit Bull Litmus Test -- a prerequisite for this role -- it appears he was aided by the upper echelon to land this top job.

It was just that much easier for Westerman when no person or entity on the humane side, especially the Humane Society of El Paso, bothered with due diligence by doing a full background check and verifying his many claims of a storied Wall Street broker, the companies he founded or cofounded -- which often turned out to be abandoned website "templates" or Facebook pages -- or his claim of founding multiple "foundations" that all proved to lack state and federal registration.

In August 2017, one month before Westerman showed up in El Paso, he launched another fraudulent "template" resume website. It would be the pinnacle of his many false claims, including calling himself an "animal welfare expert" without any field or shelter operations experience or having a bachelor's degree (in any discipline). Luke did not even bother to customize the About Us page. It's just the default language from a Wix template, seen on over 500 other websites.

"I felt conned and I felt brainwashed," stated whistleblower Greg Leach. It is clear Westerman is not who he appeared to be... - KFOX14


Luke Westerman con artist


Brokerage Years (2004 to 2009)

According to FINRA, a broker-dealers regulatory body, Westerman had eight different employers during the 5-year period of 2004 to 2009. Five of these jobs lasted 6-months or less. Between 2007 and 2009, three customers filed disputes against him; two involved non-genuine signatures on account documentation. A conflict after his 6-month stint at AmeriPrise Financial Services, from June 2008 to January 2009, ultimately resulted in his broker's license being suspended by FINRA.

"Pursuant to article vi, section 3 of FINRA by-laws and FINRA rule 9554, Westerman's FINRA registration is suspended June 9, 2010 for failure to comply with an arbitration award or settlement agreement or to satisfactorily respond to a FINRA request to provide information concerning the status of compliance."

Westerman even failed to appear at the FINRA arbitration hearing in April 2010. AmeriPrise was awarded over $200,000 in damages for his breach of a financial advisor promissory note, also called an up-front forgivable loan, which are often used as a recruiting tool by major brokerage firms in the securities industry. AmeriPrise then pursued multiple civil lawsuits against Jeffery Luke Westerman in Franklin County, Ohio court, including cases 11 JG 033227 and 15 JG 001720.1


To show the relevant historical websites, some links connect to the Internet Archive, which may have slow servers. This depends upon the amount of traffic the archive is experiencing. We also link to multiple JPGs instead of Westerman's Facebook Timeline to avoid additional lag times.


Early VC "Consulting" Years (2011 to 2012)

In November 2010, Westerman started Solomon Global Holdings, Inc (SGH), a venture capital company. By June 2011, the now defunct website lists its current holdings. Few of them have functional websites today, including, WIBeam, Palm Beach Broadband, NewWorld Networks, US Equity,2 Virtus Intelligence, Webb Heights and more.3 SGH also claimed to have a charitable fund. "The Solomon Charitable Foundation was established in 2010," states the archived website.

There are no federal or Ohio state filings that support this statement. As readers will learn by following along, Westerman claimed to have multiple foundations over the years, often referred to as his "philanthropic charity arm," which lacked any business filings. The alleged SGH Foundation was "targeted to selected initiatives and activities that promote job creation, innovation and economic growth," states the website. One recipient is listed, iLearn, which is now defunct.

iLearn belonged to Luke's sister Kate Westerman Bigley, who now runs "Exceptionally Me LLC." Narcissism rages in the Westerman family.4

"The Solomon Charitable Foundation's 2011 recipient is the Toledo, Ohio nonprofit organization, iLearn," states the website. There are no federal or Ohio state filings that indicate iLearn was a nonprofit. Westerman also fails to include that his sister is the recipient of the monetary gift. If the Solomon Charitable Foundation had been legitimate, this would be an illegal act. The IRS tax code forbids "self-dealing." Private foundations cannot award financial gifts or grants to family members.

Birth of Cliché Pit Bull Advocacy (2012)

In late 2012, Westerman launched the Westerman Family Foundation website, which was "heavily focused on funding the creation of a 'no-kill nation' where all healthy and treatable shelter dogs and cats are guaranteed a loving home," states the website. The website never had more than three blog posts. There are no federal or Ohio state filings for this foundation either. In short, it merely served as Luke's launching pad into the exploitable no-kill and pit bull advocacy worlds.

These two worlds are inextricably linked. Achieving 90% "save rate" is dependent on rehoming scads of unwanted pit bulls lingering in shelters.

"We have a deep love and appreciation for 'Pit Bull' breeds. They are often misunderstood and abused but are one of the most loyal and loving breeds," states the shuttered website. The site's first blog post, penned by his wife, "Pit bulls, let’s return them to their place as America’s dog," urges people to "fight for this precious, innocent breed" by repealing breed-specific laws. One can quickly tell how "newbie" the couple is to pit bull advocacy, given the many boilerplate clichés.

What is important to remember is that a "family foundation" does not imply wealth; it is the definition of wealth. Thus, it is interpreted as such by the public and organizations. According to Foundation Source, at the very minimum, it takes $250,000 of initial funding to establish one. A con artist will create many facades to lure in prey and heighten their confidence. Perhaps Luke's goal was to present himself as a "funding source" for humane groups and struggling rescues?

Baroque Online "Business Bio" (2013)

In 2013, Westerman began calling himself a "modern renaissance man" and "committed philanthropist" on his personal website, which vanished by the end of 2016. The archived website also shows Westerman's bio of financial businesses, including his background at JPMorgan Chase and Fifth Third Securities. He leaves out his brief time at AmeriPrise Financial Services, which ended his brokerage career and began a lengthy legal battle that continues today.

"Mr. Westerman’s Wall Street experience includes tenure as Vice President of Investments for JPMorgan Chase as well as Fifth Third Securities," states the website, positions that lasted two years combined. The site also states that Westerman is a "graduate of Mount Vernon Nazarene University where he earned a B.S. in Finance and Marketing." According to a former board member of the Humane Society of El Paso, Westerman never received a bachelor's degree.

There are many manipulations on his archived Business page, including the first six words. One cannot be a "veteran entrepreneur" in a 3-year period (2010 to 2013). Prior to this, Luke had worked for eight different employers. One cannot be "heavily involved in philanthropic endeavors" and the "director" of a non-existent foundation either. The verbiage, however, does look good on a resume, which is the primary function of these manipulations, that and to win people's trust.


"The term con artist is short for confidence artist -- they gain your confidence just long enough to get their hands on your money," states a How Stuff Works article. Con artists are also expert at looking how they need to look. If the con involves investments, the "con artist will wear a snappy suit." All con artists share characteristics too. "Even the best con can only go on for so long before people start getting suspicious. For that reason, con artists tend to move frequently," it states.


Cracks in the Dam Appear (2014)

In early 2014, while Solomon Global Holdings was still solvent, Westerman began making Facebook posts with an emphasis on pit bull advocacy. In July, the SGH promotional video was released followed by the similarly staged Endeavor Forward video, its related incubation company. Westerman had also become a social climber on the Columbus entrepreneur scene, soaking up media attention whenever possible and never missing a chance for a celebrity photo-op.

Westerman's personal archived website states he was a "regular keynote speaker and lecturer at universities" and leadership conferences nationwide. Some of his topics included, "business ethics" and "effective non-profit strategic management." Due to his "extremely busy schedule," Luke was forced to delay his "national speaking tour" until Fall 2014, states the website. Public speaking with high confidence is something Westerman could do well and so can all con artists.

But by late 2014, things were starting to unravel at SGH, according to Greg Leach, who began working for one of its subsidiaries in 2014. "I’m the one that blew the whistle on him in El Paso," Leach said. "Red flags started to wave when employees weren’t getting paid and the way he was acting. Nobody was getting paid and the various excuses that were given ... False promises and stories that were too good to be true." SGH and Endeavor Forward both vanished in 2015.5

Leach said that he warned the Humane Society of El Paso about Westerman's shady background so that, "He couldn’t take a great organization to the ground like he has done with everything he has touched." Leach was even more blunt with Fox 28, characterizing Westerman as a narcissist and unethical. "Whoever he touched was affected by some sort of unethical behavior," Leach said. Westerman was "spending money like it's water," Leach said, while no one else was being paid.

One sees Luke's typical high level of confidence arrested when confronted by the journalist who broke the felony indictment exposé in January. Compare Luke the performer to Luke the squirmer (at 2:00 he hastily removes his microphone).

As noted in the indictment below, while Westerman was creating the seeds of his pit bull activism, calling himself a "modern renaissance man" and "committed philanthropist" and manipulating his achievements on his personal website, he is later accused of 9 felonies of Unlawful Security Practices and 1 felony count of Grand Theft during this period. By the time Leach, and possibly others, fully realized the red flags and false promises, the money owed to them was beyond reach.


The 19 count felony indictment filed by the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office shows that 9 counts of Unlawful Securities Practices and 1 count of Grand Theft, the unlawful taking of property or services, allegedly occurred during the period of January 2013 to December 2014.


Building His Pit Bull Fan Base (2015)

In May 2015, Westerman launched another resume builder for "pit bull rights," Ohioans Against Breed Discrimination (OABD). The goal was to raise $5 million dollars to promote a "ballot initiative for a constitutional amendment that would bar any city or county in Ohio from enacting or enforcing breed-specific legislation," reported the Huffington Post, an obsessive pit bull fanclub website. However, they only raised $635 and pissed off Ohio grassroots pit bull groups.

Ms. Keating said she has "mixed feelings" about the new political action committee. "I think every time we create another group and another group, we continue to dilute the supporters into smaller factions." - Toldeo Blade

The political action committee was filed with the Ohio Secretary of State in May 2015. Search results on the Secretary's site position the OABD right next to Ohio gamecock breeder PACs. No contributions or expenditures were ever filed, just the designation of a treasurer. OABD apparently never had a website, just a Facebook page, which was abandoned in late 2016. Eventually, OABD took over the now defunct Dontdiscriminate.com website, but left it a hollowed out template.

Abandoned "template" websites and Facebook pages that Westerman claimed were companies he founded or cofounded, dominate his history as an alleged "entrepreneur," "philanthropist," "pit bull activist," and "animal activist." These are the markings of a con artist, not a dedicated business owner, philanthropist or activist. Recall the phrase that struck people who interacted with Westerman after being conned, "He is not who he appears to be." Then, recall the "templates."

The Ohio Pibble Marches

The first Ohio Pibble March was held in May 2015. There are few photos of Westerman being in attendance and none of him speaking on their Facebook page. What attendees did not expect was that pit bull attack victims would show up at the Ohio Statehouse too. "Pit bull owners were met by the sight of a long row of crosses, each representing the human victim of a fatal pit bull mauling since January 1, 2014." Michigan artist Joanie Kowal designed the victim memorial exhibit.

Westerman's self-promotion kicked into high gear during the 2016 Pibble March held in July. Perhaps Luke became a featured speaker by dangling his "Family Foundation" nugget? There were no marches in ensuing years. The OABD's paper filing and 2016 speech had served out Westerman's resume purposes. The Pibble March Facebook page has since become an "adoption and fundraising" vehicle for the Cincinnati Pit Crew, Adopt a Pit Bull and other pit bull rescues.

In November 2015, Westerman posted a photo of himself addressing students at Ohio State's Fisher College of Business. The backdrop of his presentation depicts another photo of himself as the founder of SGH. For a narcissist, that's a triple bang for the buck; a photo of yourself inside a photo of yourself while you are talking about yourself. All of this staged "leadership" imagery, along with the SGH promotional videos, bolstered Westerman's transition into a rising pit bull activist.

Meanwhile, as noted in the indictment below, while Westerman was creating a far-fetched PAC to disband breed-specific legislation in Ohio -- which he quickly abandoned -- and building points as an "evangelical" pit bull activist, he is later accused of 3 felonies of Unlawful Security Practices, including using IRA funds for personal expenses, during this period. Furthermore, by the end of 2015, Solomon Global Holdings and most of its subsidiaries had evaporated into thin air.


The 19 count felony indictment filed by the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office shows that 3 counts of Unlawful Securities Practices (including using IRA investment funds for personal expenses) allegedly occurred during the period of June 2015 to December 2018.


Targeting the Upper Echelon (2016)

In April 2016, the Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity at Ohio State University named Westerman, "Ohio Business Man of the Year." But Solomon Global Holdings and Endeavor Forward -- both the incubator and its seed fund -- along with most of SGH's subsidiaries went dark in 2015. A voice states in the exposé interview that SGH "died from the inside out" during the period. It is unclear how anyone could gain a business "recognition" award with that type of a dismal recent record.

Luke's next big adventure was to behave like a rabid pit bull activist by harassing the Darke County Dog Warden with a "Stop Murdering Pit Bulls" petition. The Darke County commissioners, however, balked. All three supported the no adopt out pit bull policy implemented by Shelter Director Duane Sanning. "Other breeds bite and let go. Pit bulls don’t. They are bred to fight bears, other animals. I see all these cases and the damage they cause," Sanning said at that time.

After Westerman's petition failed, he lit up his fan base by using "killing ALL dogs" language in a Facebook post and tagging Jacqueline Bedsaul Johnson of Best Friends Animal Society (an upper echelon pit bull patron), who also wrote about his petition on BarkPost, a website teaming with pit bull zealots. Ironically, just over a year later, Johnson is horribly mauled by a pit bull named "Bosco" that was smuggled into Arizona after being declared dangerous in Fulton County, Ohio.

"I currently do not have use of either hand. However, they were able to re-attach the finger on my left hand which was severed. I will go in a week from today for major surgery on my right arm as most of the bones are totally shattered." - Jacqueline Bedsaul Johnson, Facebook December 5, 2017

Having fully transitioned from a venture capitalist to a pit bull rights "disrupter," Luke spends the rest of 2016 creating public spectacles to boost his fame higher. Like escapades to stop the Franklin County Animal Shelter from using a basic food guarding test in their assessments, a protest at the Franklin County government building ("Dog Lives Matter") of which 99% of the protesters were female, and even a stint of "sleeping outside" to draw more media attention.

At the end of 2016, Westerman began setting his sights higher. After abandoning OABD and Pibble events, he targeted animal cruelty and "puppy mill" legislation to gain the attention of top brass at the HSUS. In January 2017, he cofounded the Humane Coalition of Ohio, which lacked business filings and petered out by May 2017. This was enough time for Luke to receive a "2017 Advocates We Love" award from the HSUS for his lobbying work on behalf of HSUS backed bills.

As noted in the indictment below, while Westerman is creating these media spectacles to gain the attention of the upper echelon in the pit bull and no-kill activism spheres, and preaching "Justice for the Voiceless", he is accused of robbing a victim of upwards of $37,000. While Westerman is staging a photo-op with his sidekick on social media, "If you discriminate against or mistreat pit bulls (or any dog), be prepared to deal with us," he is accused of felony Grand Theft.


The 19 count felony indictment filed by the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office shows that 3 counts of Unlawful Securities Practices (including using IRA funds for personal expenses) and 1 count of Grand Theft allegedly occurred during the period of 2016 to August 2017.


(2017) Lands Executive Director Job

By December 2016, Westerman and his sidekick Steffen Baldwin -- who also fled Ohio due to fraud -- hatched a plan to start Columbus Pets Alive!, a no-kill franchise that began in Austin, Texas. The abandoned website remains online. The nonprofit was filed in Ohio on January 20, 2017. The website domain was created four days earlier. No IRS paperwork was ever filed. Columbus Pets Alive! was just another phony humane entity that Westerman claimed to cofound.6

By now, Luke had passed the Pit Bull Litmus Test, qualifying as a savvy pit bull pusher -- a prerequisite for a director role at a no-kill shelter.

According to his Facebook Timeline, Westerman spent the rest of 2017 targeting the emotional sphere of pit bull and doggie activism -- don't miss him serenading his own pit bull. The Dodo, which produces Pittie Nation and peddles pit bull and baby videos, highlighted his video in June, which included yet another phony humane entity Westerman claimed to cofound. Animal People, the virtue signaling tee-shirts Luke is often seen wearing, however, existed only on social media.

The Animal People Facebook page began in January 2017, but it was just a reconstitution of PreneurLife (sounds like "manure life"), another virtue signaling tee-shirt company by Westerman that existed only on social media. The PreneurLife Facebook page began in April 2016, months after Solomon Global Holdings hit the mute button.7 Essentially, "People First Profits Second #PreneurLife" became, "Animal People are my People #AnimalPeople" in less than a year.

Between May and July, Westerman tests three different pit bull "leadership" profile images and sticks with the one with the most Likes. Meanwhile, he fires up his fan base with, "If you agree that pit bull discrimination should be illegal, smash that like button!" His chief business-related post was in July, "Saying you aren't a dog person while you're pitching me for an investment is unwise." But Luke's venture capital business had gone the way of the Dodo two years earlier -- extinct.

By September 2017, Westerman showed up in El Paso, Texas, staging a promotional adoption photo outside of the Humane Society of El Paso (HSEP). He was hired as the Executive Director two months later. By April 2018, the society had achieved two consecutive months of topping a 90% live release rate. By June 2018, the local business publication had named the society "Best Nonprofit" in the city. By September 2018, Westerman boasted a live release rate of 98%.

The "save rate" quota for no-kill has long been 90%, but the contest has escalated. "Resume fame" now demands 98% save rate and beyond.

Missing Announcement Post

When we began looking into Westerman's complicated background -- with so many companies having disappeared, leaving only fragments in Internet Archives -- the first place we started was his Facebook Timeline announcement of the El Paso hire. Westerman is a raging narcissist, so there had to be one, but there was not. Actually, there was one posted on November 2, but Luke removed it. At what time, we do not know. But we do know that he had help landing that job.

"Dino and I are ecstatic to announce that I have accepted the role of Executive Director with the Humane Society of El Paso. It's an honor and a calling for me to lead a progressive no-kill animal shelter that goes to the ends of the earth to save lives.

Why this shelter? Because they have an amazing, dedicated staff, brilliant board and generous donors -- and the commitment to make the entire city no-kill. We have very ambitious and exciting plans that I look forward to sharing with you all soon.

This opportunity was brought to me by my friend and mentor, Kristen Auerbach. And I'll be working with her and Dr. Ellen Jefferson (both national experts) to help make the entire multi-state region no-kill." - Luke Westerman, Nov. 2, 2017

In 2017, Auerbach became the director of Pima Animal Care Center. She is currently named in two lawsuits filed by victims who were seriously injured by dogs adopted out under her watch -- one in Arizona and the other in Virginia, where she served as assistant director at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter. Ellen Jefferson has long been the Executive Director of Austin Pets Alive! Jefferson was also investigated by an NBC affiliate for adopting out dangerous dogs in 2016.

Both Auerbach and Jefferson are in the upper echelon of the no-kill sphere. Again, the needle has shifted to 98% save rate, which Austin has claimed for some time. Though a con artist, Luke still needed recommendations from types like an Auerbach or Jefferson. He had no previous shelter management experience or financial management experience at a nonprofit. A recommendation letter from Auerbach would not have been a "foot in the door." It would have sealed the deal.

As stated in news reports after the 19 count felony indictment exposé in early January, attorneys for the Humane Society of El Paso did not release Westerman's resume nor are they obligated to as a private organization. HSEP certainly would not release any of his letters of recommendation either. But Westerman is clear as a bell in his now missing post from November 2, 2017. "This opportunity was brought to me by my friend and mentor, Kristen Auerbach," Westerman wrote.

As noted in the charges below, while Westerman is serenading his pit bull, snuggling with puppies on local TV and telling his Facebook fans that the "purpose in life is to help others -- people and animals," he is accused of Theft From a Person in a Protected Class, such as an elderly or disabled person. While Westerman is using children in a narcissistic photo-op, to "Teach children to be kind to animals," he is accused of using investment funds for his own "personal expenses."


The 19 count felony indictment filed by the Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney shows that 1 count of Unlawful Securities Practices and 1 count of Theft From a Person in a Protected Class (elderly person and others) allegedly occurred during the period of 2016 to December 2018.


The Grand Finale - TEDx El Paso

By September 2018, Luke Westerman had misrepresented himself to the Humane Society of El Paso, El Paso city officials and local businesses, including, El Paso Inc. The grand finale, however, was his bogus "bio" for TEDx El Paso, held in October. Westerman is not an award winning "social entrepreneur" or venture capitalist by any relevant measure, and a fraternity -- not the Ohio State University -- awarded him the 2016 Ohio Business Person of the Year award.

Westerman did not cofound two organizations that "successfully lobbied the state legislature in Ohio to repeal breed discriminatory legislation" either. Westerman had nothing to do with the actual repeal of the state's longstanding pit bull law in 2012 (recall Westerman was a newbie pit bull defender in 2012). The OABD political action committee, cofounded in 2015 with his sidekick Steffen Baldwin, was a complete flop with a stated goal of raising $5 million, but only raised $635.

His TEDx bio also claimed, "He has also long advised animal rescues and shelters on how to effectively save lives while maximizing resources through his family’s philanthropic arm, The Westerman Family Foundation." Luke had only a brief background in no-kill programs and zero experience in animal sheltering operations. The family foundation was a ruse, used only for the purposes of fabricating "wealth and philanthropy" and "nonprofit experience" for Westerman.

The TEDx tagline is "Ideas Worth Spreading." TEDx also specifically tells curators to vet your speakers. "Every potential TEDx speaker should be vetted. After all, sometimes it’s difficult to know whether an idea is worth spreading or not – and specifically, whether it’s legitimate," states their website. Just like the Humane Society of El Paso, TEDx El Paso Curator David Jerome failed to vet. Now that you know Westerman is a con artist, do you think his idea is worth spreading?


Epilogue and Wrap Up

After Westerman was indicted on 19 felony counts on December 27 and fired from the Humane Society of El Paso on January 8, former board member Cori Harbour-Valdez admitted the board failed to conduct a full background check prior to hiring him. Harbour-Valdez, a civil and criminal attorney, even stated in her November 6, 2018 resignation letter that Westerman had "strong objections" in 2017 when she was asked by the board to handle his criminal background check.

A full background check would have shown that Luke Westerman did not meet the minimum qualifications for the position, including that he lacked a bachelor's degree, Harbour-Valdez stated in the letter. She added, "I do not believe the board can confirm that he meets the requirement of a minimum of five years experience in a leadership role in an organization with an annual budget of $2.5 million or more nor the minimum of five years of financial management experience."

Back in 2009, Westerman billed himself as having, "5 years as a Vice President - Private Wealth Advisor where he personally managed over $130 million for some of the largest financial institutions in the world including J.P.Morgan and Fifth Third Securities." Luke had worked for eight different employers during that period (2004 to 2009), but only for about 47-months combined, about four years. By 2010, FINRA had suspended his brokerage license and lawsuits ensued.

Obviously, the Humane Society of El Paso failed miserably in their due diligence before hiring Westerman. Apparently there were no red flags after viewing his "template" resume website either, where Westerman made the brazen claims of being an "animal welfare expert" and an "expert in building scalable ventures" (nonsense jargon) by his mid 30s.8 HSEP board members also failed to take action after Harbour-Valdez issued them a warning about Westerman in early November.

The initial response by HSEP to the KFOX14 exposé was to give Luke "some time." This is after Westerman had been indicted on 19 felony charges. "The Board has given Mr. Westerman time to deal with his personal legal matters," they stated on January 4. Time is not going to dissolve 19 felony charges. KFOX14 might have even delayed airing the exposé until after critical year-end fundraising. Statistically, 12% of all annual giving occurs on the last 3 days of the year.9

The Last Refuge for a Con Artist

It's one thing for Westerman to pull off a phony marketing routine on social media in the no-kill and pit bull spheres, which already operate and solicit donations through their own similarly spurious adoption campaigns on social media. In this way, Westerman's facade of "leaving Wall Street to rescue animals" was a perfect fit for all parties. The snuggly "save them all" industry is also perhaps the last refuge for a con artist. The industry has few to no consequences either.

The lack of oversight and consequences in the furry no-kill and pit bull spheres, draws not only con artists, but also self-appointed "experts."

As Luke has now learned, it is quite another matter to manipulate rules and investors in the financial business world, where there are real consequences. There are also real consequences when you fail to pay debts, such as the $200,000 owed to AmeriPrise Financial Services. Searches on the Franklin County Clerk of Courts website show there are numerous pending judgments against Westerman, including tax liens from the state and garnishment orders.

Jeffery Luke Westerman's first pre-trial hearing date in Columbus, Ohio is set for March 19.


Luke Westerman con artist


1There are multiple aliases for Luke Westerman, including: Jeffery Luke Westerman, Jeffrey Luke Westerman and Luke Westerman. His father is also named Jeffery, Jeffrey or Jeff Luke Westerman. There is no Sr., or Jr., specified. Ohio county court records show that due to Luke and his father having the same name, it has been trickier for complainants to pursue their cases in court. This has been going on in the court filings since 2009 -- a decade.
2In 2009, Westerman started US Equity (us-equity.com), a pre-cursor to Solomon Global Holdings. The archived website shows captures from 2009 and 2010 and a relationship with Hamburg Equity. Both companies appear on the FINRA filing as "Other Business Activities." US Equity later meshed into Solomon US Equity, a subsidiary of SGH. Prior to his broker's license being suspended, Westerman described himself as: "manages an accredited network of private investors representing over $2 billion. Additionally, Luke Westerman's experiences include 5 years as a Vice President - Private Wealth Advisor where he personally managed over $130 million for some of the largest financial institutions in the world including J.P.Morgan and Fifth Third Securities." Luke also claims to be the "chairman of Westerman Interests" on the US Equity archived website (See related Linked in page). There are no Ohio state filings to support this. However, there is a "real" Westerman Interests, Inc. (20 years old) and a "real" Westerman Foundation (20 years old), belonging to a wholly different Westerman family (J-W Energy Company).
3There were other unfortunate companies, including QXC Communications Inc., (qxccommunications.com), which exists now as a broken website, Mercury Consulting LLC (mercconsult.com), whose website is gone and Executive Protection Management Services LLC (epmsohio.com), also gone. There were multiple co-branded subsidiaries under SGH as well, including Solomon Real Estate Adventures, which enjoyed "above market returns with mitigated risk," Solomon International Fund, a private equity fund, Solomon Global Solutions, another consulting firm that promised to take "businesses to the next level of growth and beyond," and Solomon Global Holdings Futures Trading Group. The last available version of the SGH "Holdings" page (2014), shows that two companies did survive after "touching Westerman," Avitae (goavitae.com) and Small Business Owners of America (sbooa.com).
4Cronyism flourishes in the Westerman family as well. In addition to awarding his sister a financial gift from the "Solomon Foundation," he also planted family members in director roles. Jeff Westerman, Luke's father (a retired police lieutenant), served as a Director of SGH and Virtus Intelligence, LLC, according to Bloomberg. Luke's mother, Sabrina Westerman, served as the Operations Manager at SGH. Sabrina "works closely" with the Chief Executive Officer (her son) and the Director of Virtus Intelligence (her husband), according to her Linked In page.
5The active period of Endeavor Forward and its related seed fund website was so brief, it was never archived (endeavorforward.com). A related site (endeavorcooperative.com), remained "under construction" then vanished.
6There was a third cofounder of the paper-based Columbus Pets Alive! Diana Davidson, whose husband, John Davidson, is the president of hockey operations with the Columbus Blue Jackets. John Tortorella is the team's coach and a "dedicated pit bull parent," according to Westerman. Columbus Pets Alive! was supposed to begin in the Spring of 2017, but it never panned out. Notably, the language of the Tortorella Family Foundation sounds familiar: "Their nonprofit organization, the John and Christine Tortorella Family Foundation, is dedicated to protecting children, animals and the environment, cementing their philanthropic roots to the causes..."
7PreneurLife is not a registered business in the State of Ohio. The Internet Archive never archived a page from its website (preneur.life). The domain name was registered in July 2015, according to Whois.com. However, there is a Linked in page claiming 2-10 employees. Mark this empty tee-shirt venture as one of the "over 25 companies" that Westerman claimed to have "founded, co-founded, invested in or acquired" on his balloon resume.
8There is only one page on the World Wide Web (prior to our publication of this post) that uses this jargon, "expert in building scalable ventures" -- out of billions of web pages. Westerman, quite literally, invents nonsense jargon to confuse people and to self-appoint himself an "expert" in this buzzword-heavy consulting industry.
9HSEP did not even seem to "get" this significance, that perhaps the exposé was delayed to not impact this critical fundraising period (which would have unfairly impacted innocent animals, employees, volunteers, and more). Then again, maybe HSEP did "get it," and that is why the majority of the HSEP board refused to take action against Westerman in early November, when all of their year-end fundraising campaigns were set to be in motion.

KFOX14 investigation:
01/09/19: Some Say Westerman Should Have Never Been Hired at Humane Society
01/08/19: Humane Society of El Paso Fires Luke Westerman
01/07/19: Jail Records: Executive Director of Humane Society of El Paso in Ohio
01/04/19: HSEP Executive Director Accused of Swindling $700K from Ohio Citizens
01/03/19: Executive Director of the Humane Society of El Paso Facing 19 Felony Charges

Related articles:
06/10/18: Shelters and Humane Groups Often 'Encode' and 'Conceal' Aggression in Adoption...
09/20/16: What's Behind the Click and Bait Web Advertisements of Aggressive Shelter Dogs...

2019 Dog Bite Fatality: Family Pit Bull-Mix Kills Baby Boy in Guthrie, Kentucky

Ashton McGhee, killed by family pit bull
Ashton McGhee died after being attacked by a family pit bulll-mix in Guthrie.

Baby Visiting Home
UPDATE 02/11/19: According to a GoFundMe set up by a friend of the baby's mother, 1-year old Ashton McGhee was visiting his grandmother's home in Guthrie when he was fatally attacked by a family pit bull-mix. "Ashton was playing at his papaw and mamaw’s house in Guthrie the night of February 7th when one of the family dogs came in from outside and attacked Ashton who was playing on the floor with a ball." The authors do not blame the attack on a "thunderstorm."

"Ashton lived in Hopkinsville, Kentucky with his mother, Miranda McGhee and his two sisters," states the page. "He loved Batman and was a very active little boy who was always on the go." Contributions will help the family pay for funeral arrangements. "Miranda is a young, and wonderful mother who is in great turmoil and absolute shock and grief," states the page. The fundraising team calls on the community to help "as she has to lay her sweet baby boy to rest."

02/08/19: Baby Killed by Family Dog
Guthrie, KY - A baby boy is dead after being attacked by a family dog, according to Guthrie Police. On Thursday night, police responded to a home on North Ewing Street where they found a 1-year old boy on the couch, unresponsive, but breathing, reports WBKO in Bowling Green. The child had "deep abrasions to the head, chest, and neck" from being mauled by the family pit bull-mix, police said. The child's grandmother suffered injuries while trying to pull the dog off the toddler.

"She suffered herself from some very deep cuts and bites on her cheek and her left arm. She was in pretty rough shape." - Police Chief Dean Blumel

Police said the boy had been playing with a ball on the floor when the dog came inside from outdoors. The dog immediately attacked the baby, including breaking the baby's jaw, reports WHOP. The baby and grandmother were transported to Tennova Medical Center in Clarksville, where the baby died of his injuries. The grandmother was treated and released. The dog was taken into custody by animal control. Guthrie Police have not released the toddler's identity.

Police suspect the fatal attack may have been "triggered by a thunderstorm." Given the rate of thunderstorms annually -- 100,000, according to the U.S. government -- and a population of 90 million dogs, there would be hundreds more fatal dog attacks annually if such a theory were believable. Also, a family dog "frightened" by the sound of thunder, would more likely hide, tremble or try to flee the noise, not attack a baby in the "head, chest, and neck" to seek relief from it.

Police and others have blamed "thunderstorms" on fatal attacks carried out by pit bulls in the past, including the deaths of Kathy Wheatcraft, 48-years old of North Carolina, Deborah Wilson-Roberts, 45-years old of Arkansas (2012), and Nellie Davis, 61-years old of Oklahoma City (2012).

thunderstorm triggered fatal pit bull attack

Pit bulls located on the Facebook pages of family members. Unknown if either is the culprit.

thunderstorm triggered fatal pit bull attack

The fatal pit bull attack occurred along North Ewing Street. The block location is unknown.

map iconView the DogsBite.org Google State Map: Kentucky Fatal Pit Bull Attacks.

Related articles:
11/16/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Family Pit Bull Fatally Attacks Newborn in Crib in Citrus County
10/27/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Child Dies After Deputies Arrive to Family Pit Bull 'Slinging...


Baseline reporting requirements:
Law enforcement departments across the United States should release consistent "baseline" information to the media and the public after each fatal dog mauling, including these items.

2019 Dog Bite Fatality Watch: Tucson Mother Arrested After Infant Found Dead with Dog Bite Injuries

Tucson mother arrested dog bite
Breanna Henson, 30, seen after being charged in connection to her baby's death.

Mother Charged
Tucson, AZ - Last week, Breanna Henson, 30-years old, was arrested and charged with one count of felony child abuse after police found her 8-month old infant dead. On January 24, Tucson police responded to a home in the 7700 block of E. Apple Tree Drive about 1:30 am after receiving a call of an unresponsive female child. Police said Henson was intoxicated when they arrived. The baby was discovered with puncture wounds and scrapes, consistent with injuries caused by a dog.

No dog breed information was released by police, but neighbors said they saw animal control taking away a German shepherd.

The interim complaint filed in Pima County Consolidated Justice Court said Henson was intoxicated and woke up to find her baby unresponsive with "significant trauma." Henson was the only adult in the home. An autopsy was performed on January 25, but no results have been released. Henson was released into the supervised custody of her parents. Henson's next court date in scheduled for February 13. Pima County Animal Control Officers confiscated the dog.

Tucson mother arrested dog bite

A German shepherd was confiscated from the home on East Apple Tree Drive in Tucson.

Related articles:
01/30/19: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Babysitter Sentenced to Maximum After Fatal Dog Mauling


Baseline reporting requirements:
Law enforcement departments across the United States should release consistent "baseline" information to the media and the public after each fatal dog mauling, including these items.

Dog Bite Attorney Creates Second Super Bowl Themed Video Reminding the Public of the Dangers of Pit Bulls

This Year's Theme: "Who Wins Most by Sudden Death?"

sudden death pit bulls

2019 Super Bowl Themed Video

Last year, the Law Offices of Kenneth M. Phillips, the nation’s leading dog bite attorney and author of DogBiteLaw.com, released a video on social media. "Super Bowl Commercial That Says: 'Do Not Adopt a Pit Bull' - Share this to help show that pit bulls are too dangerous to adopt," states the January 18, 2018 Tweet. The video received over 8 million views on Twitter and over 100,000 shares on Facebook. The video caused such a stir on the Internet that Snopes investigated.

In 2018, rescued and rehomed dogs killed 19% (7) of dog bite fatality victims. 86% (6) of these fatal attacks were carried out by pit bulls.

This year's video out does last year. With a theme of "Who Wins Most by Sudden Death," Phillips reminds viewers that pit bulls cause real "sudden death" every two weeks in our country -- at least 24 deaths in 2018. "Most victims were family members -- and babies," states the video. Given that this is true, why would any family adopt a pit bull when the majority of these dogs also have a totally unknown background? The final message of the video is, "Do not adopt a pit bull."

2018 Super Bowl Themed Video

The 2018 video is 30-seconds long and flashes a score of 29-0 across the screen with screaming football fans in the background. Then the type begins: "They killed the most kids. They killed the most family members. One breed killed 75% of the people who were mauled to death in 2017." At half way through, the video reveals, "Pit bulls killed 29 Americans in 2017." Then states, "That's nothing to cheer about." The final message of the 2018 video is, "Do not adopt a pit bull."

In 2017, rescued and rehomed dogs killed 15% (6) of dog bite fatality victims. 83% (5) of these fatal attacks were carried out by pit bulls.

After last year's Super Bowl, Phillips spoke to City Watch ('Do Not Adopt a Pit Bull' Super Bowl Commercial Pays Off!). "My video was one concerned citizen's attempt to teach and protect the public. The video was seen over 8 million times on social media and was even broadcast on TV news in some areas. If it helps to prevent just one death, one mutilation, it will have served its purpose," Phillips said. With that many views, his video most certainly did accomplished this.

We hope that everyone stays safe over this year's Super Bowl weekend. We also remind readers what the good doctors have to say about the pit bull breed. "Strong consideration to avoidance of any interaction between pit bull breeds and young children, particularly infants," (Golinko et al., 2016) and "Attacks by pit bulls are associated with higher morbidity rates, higher hospital charges, and a higher risk of death than are attacks by other breeds of dogs." (Bini et al., 2012).

Related articles:
01/08/19: 2018 Fatal Dog Attack Breed Identification Photographs - DogsBite.org
01/11/18: 2017 Fatal Dog Attack Breed Identification Photographs - DogsBite.org
01/09/17: 2016 Fatal Dog Attack Breed Identification Photographs - DogsBite.org

Related website page:
U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities: Breeds of Dogs Involved, Age Groups and Other Factors Over a 13-Year Period (2005 to 2017)

2019 Dog Bite Fatality: Elderly Amarillo Man Dies Two Weeks After Vicious Dog Mauling

Amarillo Man Dies after dog attack
An 85-year old man died two weeks after a vicious dog mauling in Amarillo, Texas.

Man Dies After Mauling
Amarillo, TX - An elderly man died last week after being attacked by two vicious dogs earlier this month. Ed Stanley, 85-years old, died January 21, two weeks after the dogs mauled him on his own driveway. Stanley suffered injuries to his legs, face and arms, according to officials. Richard Havens, Director of Amarillo Animal Management and Welfare, said it wasn't just any attack, "it was definitely headed towards a fatality" if a brave citizen had not intervened to help him.

On January 7, Amarillo Animal Management and Welfare responded to a 911 call about an elderly man being attacked by two dogs in the 4400 block of Evelyn Street in Amarillo. "911 was notified that a citizen was being attacked. Police, fire, and EMS, as well as us responded," Havens told KFDA. "We we’re able to get out there, secure the dogs, and then start our investigation," Havens said. The victim was treated at the scene then transported to a local hospital for surgery.

A next-door neighbor heard Stanley's cries and rushed to help him. He used a rubber stick to ward off the attacking dogs, reports KFDA.

"His legs were attacked, his face was attacked, his arms were attacked," Havens said. "Not only did he have defensive wounds on him, but with the dogs going for the face, it was definitely headed towards a fatality had it not been for the tremendous nature of this citizen willing to put their life and limb at risk to save another." The two dogs, a pit bull-mix and a shepherd-mix, were taken into custody. Shelter officials are reviewing the case for a dangerous dog declaration.

Amarillo Man Dies

Both dogs seen in quarantine at the Amarillo Animal Management and Welfare shelter.

map iconView the DogsBite.org Google State Map: Texas Fatal Pit Bull Attacks.

Join Texas Dog Bite Victims' Advocacy - Join our Texas email list to stay informed

Related articles:
01/11/19: 2019 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Killed by Pack of Dogs in Grenada County, Mississippi


Baseline reporting requirements:
Law enforcement departments across the United States should release consistent "baseline" information to the media and the public after each fatal dog mauling, including these items.