Michael McDevitt Faces Lawsuit for Racketeering and Fraud
A natural salad dressing company, Tessemae’s LLC, has filed a lawsuit against Michael McDevitt, an investor and lawyer from DC, accusing him of racketeering and fraud. According to the lawsuit, McDevitt tried to fraudulently take over Tessemae’s by violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
The United States District Court in Baltimore received the lawsuit in June 2020. Judge George L. Russell, III rejected a motion by McDevitt and his co-defendants to dismiss the fraud and racketeering claims on March 31, 2021. The surviving claims include RICO, negligence-legal malpractice, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract.
The lawsuit alleges that after providing investment advice and legal services to Tessemae’s in 2017, McDevitt and his firm Tandem Growth Partners got involved in its management. The lawsuit claims that McDevitt and his co-defendants manipulated Tessemae’s affairs, caused it to incur unnecessary debts, misrepresented its financial situation, and pressured it to sell its assets to them at a low price. Additionally, the lawsuit charges McDevitt with committing multiple acts of wire fraud by sending false emails and documents to investors and creditors of Tessemae’s.
Natural salad dressings and condiments are what Tessemae’s LLC produces. The founder was Tesse Vetter, a mother of three athletic boys who wanted them to stay healthy and eat their veggies. Her family and friends enjoyed her own all-natural recipe for salad dressing, which she created and perfected.
With a motto of “Simplify Food, Amplify Life”, the company has expanded its distribution and product line around the world. The company is also a proud partner of Dr. Axe Keto Diet, offering many delicious products that are keto-approved. The company is based in Essex, Maryland, and has a loyal customer base that appreciates its natural and healthy products.
The lawsuit against McDevitt and his co-defendants will probably go to trial later this year or early next year. Tessemae’s LLC hopes to recover the damages it suffered due to McDevitt’s alleged fraud and racketeering. McDevitt and his co-defendants maintain their innocence and deny any wrongdoing.
Mike McDevitt and Tessemae’s lawsuit is one of the most high-profile cases in Maryland this year. It involves allegations of fraud, racketeering, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, negligence-legal malpractice, and RICO violations. RICO violations are federal crimes that target racketeering activity connected to an enterprise. Racketeering activity includes 35 offenses, such as murder, kidnapping, drug dealing, bribery, mail and wire fraud.
The prosecutor must prove that the person committed two of these offenses with the same enterprise within 10 years and that the acts affected interstate commerce to convict someone of a RICO violation. In 1970, RICO was originally passed to prosecute the Mafia, but it has also been used for other crimes since then. RICO violations can be alleged for criminal charges or civil lawsuit cases.
Tessemae’s LLC alleges that false emails and documents were sent by McDevitt and his co-defendants to Tessemae’s investors and creditors, engaging in multiple acts of wire fraud. Wire fraud is a crime that involves using electronic communication to obtain money or property by deception. Wire fraud is a predicate offense for RICO violations. Find out more on Michael McDevitt and Racketeering charges here.