White, age 77, is a wealthy San Francisco businessman who was a pioneer of online trading and a celebrated local philanthropist. He has been in the custody of foreign prisons for 10 years.
“The arrest of Borrego and the warrants for Replogle, Garcia and others lend truth to White’s assertions,”
White responded to the arrests by saying, “After being falsely imprisoned for 10 years, Mexico has finally acknowledged that I was the victim of an egregious extortion scheme which deprived me of a decade of freedom, cost me millions of dollars and has destroyed my reputation.”
Replogle represented Garcia in a 2003 state court lawsuit against White, claiming that he engaged in sexual relations with Garcia, who was underage at the time. While the lawsuit was pending in San Francisco, Replogle and Garcia travelled to Puerto Vallarta and met Mauricio Borrego, a lawyer and former juvenile judge, who recruited former juvenile defendants to claim that White had sexually abused them as minors. Replogle, with Borrego as the youths’ guardian ad litem, filed a claim of sexual abuse on behalf of 20 Mexican plaintiffs in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, concurrent with Garcia’s suit against White.
Ortiz Olguin, another subject of immediate arrest in Mexico for the crime of extortion of White, was a plaintiff in the federal civil lawsuit. In addition to the civil action in California, Ortiz Olguin's claim that White raped him at gunpoint in Mexico led to criminal charges against White for rape. In a hearing before the Jalisco state court in Puerto Vallarta, Ortiz Olguin fully recanted his rape accusations;
Since the first allegations of Replogle and Garcia, White has adamantly asserted his innocence and denounced his accusers as extortionists who targeted him because of his wealth. White has been vindicated in Mexico, as all sex related criminal charges have been tried in court there, or dismissed, and White was acquitted of all charges.
According to White and his lawyers, in order to enhance their lawsuit Garcia and Replogle established a relationship with the U.S. government and the FBI, providing them “evidence”
On March 23, 2004, the U.S. government indicted White for offenses related to “sex tourism,” consisting primarily of allegations that he travelled outside of the U.S. with the intent to engage in underage sex. The U.S. petitioned the Mexican government for White’s extradition, and until the matter is resolved, he continues to be held at Ixtapa State Prison in Puerto Vallarta under an “extradition hold.”
In 2005, the state and federal lawsuits merged for purposes of a combined multi-million dollar settlement. In 2008, attorneys’ fees were awarded to plaintiffs’ counsel, i.e. Replogle and Borrego, in the amount of $2,315,240, which had been reduced by the court. White continues to seek to set aside the settlement with the Mexican plaintiffs on the basis that it was procured by fraud.
“We are looking forward to ascertaining what caused Tom's civil defense lawyers to insist that he settle the cases in light of substantial evidence of fraud by Replogle and his clients,” said Diane Deckard, White’s civil attorney.
In 2009, Replogle and Garcia were arrested, initially for fraud against Palm Springs retiree Clifford Lambert, and eventually for his murder. Both were convicted in Riverside County court of capital murder and related fraud charges and are serving sentences of life without parole in state prisons.
Mexico has initiated petitions for the extradition of Replogle and Garcia, from prison custody, to face felony charges in Mexico.