A Tennessee businessman who made headlines over the summer for suing James Biden, the younger brother of former Vice President Joe Biden, for fraud is now facing terror threats.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reported on Wednesday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is looking into an envelope sent to Michael Frey and his wife, containing “blood-stained” foreign currency and a “torture ticket.”
The currency was purportedly from a Middle Eastern country well known for the terrorist groups operating within its borders. Law enforcement has refused to release the currency’s country of origin or provide details about the “torture ticket.” The latter is generally used by terrorist organizations as a “voucher” for future harm, usually in an attempt to incite fear.
The envelope was left in the couple’s mailbox in August, only days after Michael Frey and his business partner, Dr. Mohannad Azzam, filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing James Biden of fraud. They brought the suit after James Biden and his associates promised and failed to line up investors for their rural healthcare enterprise. Instead, Frey and Azzam allege, James Biden urged them to borrow $10 million from a hedge fund manager involved in the deal and then proceeded to pass their idea off as his own to a conglomerate of Turkish investors.
“The lawsuit takes direct aim at Biden, painting him as a con artist who uses his ties to his brother — now a Democratic candidate for president — to lure his victims,” the Knoxville News Sentinel reported in August.
According to documents filed with the U.S. District Court, Frey and his wife developed a business model to take over rural hospitals and retrofit them to not only offer traditional hospital care, but also drug addiction and mental health treatment. After incorporating the enterprise as Diverse Medical Management, they brought on Azzam, “who contracted with nursing homes to provide medical care for seniors.”
The model was lucrative enough that by 2017, Frey and Azzam were actively pitching it to investors and hospitals across the country. One investor particularly taken with the idea was Americore Health, an operator of rural hospitals. At the behest of Americore CEO Grant White, Frey and Azzam were urgd to pitch their business plan to rural hospitals in Kentucky. It was at one such meeting the two men met James Biden, who identified himself as a “principal” at Americore.
Not long after their initial encounter, James Biden introduced the men to Michael Lewitt, a hedge fund manager and well-known “credit strategist.” Around this time, Americore made plans to buy Diverse Medical for the sum $7 million. Despite the deal, Americore quickly fell behind on its scheduled payments to Frey and Azzam. It was then that James Biden and Lewitt, as detailed in the lawsuit, hatched a plan to oust White and sell Americore along with Diverse Medical to a third company called the Platinum Group.
Frey and Azzam appear to have been uncomfortable with the turn the deal took, especially the notion of removing White. The men, though, went along with the plan after being told a payout was “imminent.”
“They repeatedly assured [Frey] that investment capital originating from and flowing through foreign entities was not only certain, but was imminent,” documents filed by Frey and Azzam’s attorney state.
James Biden, himself, is alleged to have tried to pacify the two men’s fears by promising their business model would “play an integral role in health care policy at the highest levels of the United States government.”
As the deal had now evolved to include the purchase of Americore, Frey and Azzam were encouraged to seek a $10 million cash infusion — part of which would come from Lewitt’s hedge fund — to expand their business. Frey and Azzam claim the loan was taken with the understanding it would be repaid by money brought in from new investors. Throughout the entire process, the suit states, James Biden was promising investment capital was forthcoming. As more time elapsed and new investors failed to materialize, Frey and Azzam became suspicious.
Those feelings only intensified when James Biden inadvertently sent Frey a text message regarding Diverse Medical in November 2018. The message, which was supposedly meant for someone else, discussed “diluting” Frey and Azzam’s business model in order to take “complete control.”
When pushed to explain the message, James Biden demurred and requested more information about Diverse Medical and the range of healthcare services offered. Even though they provided the information, Azzam and Frey’s suspicions were only further heightened.
The final breakdown in the relationship occurred when the men learned that Biden and Lewitt had left them out of the picture when selling the deal in Turkey. Although Azzam and Frey knew their business model was being pitched to the “Qatar Investment Authority in Turkey,” they were unaware the documents presented to investors by James Biden and Lewitt were scrubbed clean of the Tennessee businessmen. The lawsuit says:
On January 23, Platinum Group … and Biden submitted a White Paper … outlining ‘Platinum Group Diverse Medical Management (PGDMM)’s business model. What the investors were not told, however, was that this white paper was drafted by (Frey and Azzam) and sent to Biden … Platinum Group simply replaced all references to Plaintiffs with PGDMM, a non-existent entity.
When Frey and Azzam attempted to reassert control over their business, the lawsuit alleges that Lewitt demanded repayment of the money his hedge fund loaned them. That is when Frey and Azzam felt the need to pursue legal action against James Biden and his associates. Shortly afterwards, the envelope containing the torture ticket and blood-stained currency appeared in their mailbox.
“It enraged me,” Frey told the News Sentinel when asked about receiving the threat. “Now you’re dealing with my family. I’m not running from anybody. With everything going on in the world, you can’t turn your back on this kind of stuff.
It is unclear if James Biden or his associates are involved in the threat. James Biden’s lawyer did not return requests for comment.