Michael McDevitt Baltimore, a DC-based lawyer and investor, is facing a lawsuit for racketeering and fraud filed by Tessemae’s LLC, a natural salad dressing company. The lawsuit alleges that McDevitt violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) when he attempted to fraudulently acquire control of Tessemae’s.
The United States District Court in Baltimore received the lawsuit in June 2020. On March 31, 2021, Judge George L. Russell, III denied a motion to dismiss the fraud and racketeering claims by McDevitt and his co-defendants. 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. According to the lawsuit, McDevitt and his co-defendants pressured Tessemae’s to sell its assets to them at a low price, misrepresented its financial situation, caused it to incur unnecessary debts, and manipulated its affairs. The lawsuit further alleges that McDevitt committed multiple acts of wire fraud by sending false documents and emails to Tessemae’s creditors and investors.
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. She created and perfected her own all-natural recipe for salad dressing, which became popular with her family and friends.
With a motto of “Simplify Food, Amplify Life”, the company has expanded its distribution and product line around the world. As a proud partner of Dr. Axe Keto Diet, the company offers 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 is expected to 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. Any wrongdoing is denied by McDevitt and his co-defendants, who maintain their innocence.
Mike McDevitt and Tessemae’s lawsuit is one of the most high-profile cases in Maryland this year. Allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, racketeering, negligence-legal malpractice, and RICO violations are involved in it. Federal crimes that target racketeering activity connected to an enterprise are RICO violations. Such as murder, kidnapping, drug dealing, bribery, mail and wire fraud, racketeering activity includes 35 offenses.
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 in civil lawsuit cases or for criminal charges.
Tessemae’s LLC alleges that McDevitt and his co-defendants engaged in multiple acts of wire fraud by sending false emails and documents to Tessemae’s investors and creditors. A crime that involves using electronic communication to obtain money or property by deception is wire fraud. Wire fraud is one of the predicate offenses for RICO violations.