Gaw | Poe LLP assists in sending real estate investor to prison

SAN FRANCISCO – January 12, 2018 – Gaw | Poe LLP announced today that partly due to its efforts, the opponent of one of its longtime clients is heading to prison.  Back in December 2016, Gaw | Poe LLP had successfully won a jury trial on behalf of plaintiff Donald Okada against defendant Mark Whitehead in a contract dispute over the parties’ joint acquisition of a mansion in the Dominican Republic known as “Lions Gate” – a property that Mr. Whitehead had valued at $10 million.  Following that trial, the court issued equitable relief to Mr. Okada and entered a receivership order to facilitate the orderly transfer and sale of Lions Gate to third parties, with Mr. Okada to receive the proceeds of that sale before any proceeds are disbursed to Mr. Whitehead.

Mr. Whitehead defied that receivership order, however, and refused to comply with his obligations to transfer documents and control of Lions Gate to the court-appointed receiver.  Mr. Whitehead also defied the order in attempting to sell the property himself.  On behalf of Mr. Okada, Gaw | Poe LLP filed a motion seeking an order to show cause against Mr. Whitehead for criminal contempt.  The court granted Gaw | Poe LLP’s motion, had Mr. Whitehead incarcerated without bail, and referred the matter to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office elected to prosecute Mr. Whitehead and, on January 12, 2018, an Orange County jury convicted Mr. Whitehead of criminal contempt.

“Mr. Whitehead is going to jail because he’s a criminal, plain and simple” said Gaw | Poe LLP partner Randolph Gaw. “Here, we asked for criminal contempt instead of civil contempt, notwithstanding the rarity of criminal contempt prosecutions, because the facts justified it, and because our firm will always aggressively defend the interests of our clients.”

The criminal proceeding is captioned United States v. Mark Whitehead, No. 8:17-CR-00154-JLS and the civil lawsuit is captioned Donald Okada v. Mark Whitehead, No. 8:15-CV-01449-JLS-KES.  Both matters were held before Judge Josephine Staton of the United States District Court for the Central District of California.  In the civil lawsuit, Mr. Okada is represented by Gaw | Poe LLP attorneys Randolph Gaw and Victor Meng.

About Gaw | Poe LLP

Gaw | Poe LLP is a San Francisco Bay Area boutique law firm focusing on business litigation, antitrust litigation, and catastrophic injuries. Founders Randolph Gaw and Mark Poe are graduates of Stanford Law School and have practiced extensively with some of the largest and most prestigious law firms in the world. The firm is experienced at handling disputes on behalf of a wide range of clients from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies to high net worth individuals. For more information, please visit