Since March 8, 2016 we have been following the case of Cynthia Lyerla who now seems to have reverted to using her maiden name, Cynthia Knox. Knox is the woman who worked as a cruise ship captain while using the stolen identity of dead woman, Christina White. Recently discovered information make this case the #1 Cruise Bruise Investigation of 2016 as the longest running scam, most troubling and most bazaar. Conspiracy Theory? According to official court documents, Timothy R Mattison posted Cynthia Lyerla's bond deposit of $15,000 with a cashier's check drawn on a Wells Fargo bank account owned by John Litchfield. The bond deposit was posted for a $250,000 bail bond for Cynthia Knox on March 14, 2016.
Name Fact? March 14, 2016, she signed a federal court Condition of Release form as CYNTHIA KNOX which states, in part, "if defendant goes out to sea,she is to notify coast guard and can not go into international waters". She is apparently still employed on cruise ship, possibly Litchfield's.
Coincidence? Timothy R Mattison is Facebook friends with Roger Knox, who is the father of Cynthia Knox, aka Cynthia Lyerla, aka Cynthia Litchfield.
Coincidence? Timothy R Mattison's brother Chris Mattison from League City, Texas is a Damage Controlman at the U.S. Coast Guard.
Coincidence? According to USCG documents, on April 22, 2012, Somebody tipped off the USCG anonymously that Majestic Ventures' Sapphire Princess cruise ship had been in an marine casualty (accident) and was secretly getting $26,500 worth of bow hull repairs without USCG knowledge or approval.
Coincidence? USCG Damage Controlman Chris Mattison has Facebook direct or indirect connections to a White family located in League City, Texas, including Vicky, Richy, Kerry, Crysta and Kyla. Are these part of the same White family the real Christina White was born into then died and left behind?
Coincidence? These Litchfield, Lyerla, White, Mattison connections in League City, Texas are where this entire cruise ship drama has been unfolding for more than twenty years and it may explain how and why Cynthia Knox-Lyerla-Litchfield became the dead Christina White.
Fact: On August 8, 2016, John Litchfield registered Seaside Investments LLC, 3027 Marina Bay Dr. Suite 107, League City, TX 77573, in the state of WYOMING. It's interesting he uses the address of Majestic Ventures for the new Wyoming corporation but not the old name. Could this perhaps indicate the couple are planning to move from Texas and start the new Seaside Investments business, wiping off the stigma Majestic Ventures has suffered or just found Wyoming corporate law more appealling, under their current set of circumstances?
John Litchfield was identified as Cynthia Lyerla's husband in the course of a lawsuit (Marilyn Marks v. Cynthia Lynn Lyerla, John Litchfield, November 16, 1989 where it was claimed Cynthia Lyerla was involved in and profited from two deaths, one of them, the murder of her previous husband Harold D Lyerla, the other the alleged wrongful death of the couple's child, Kajsa Lyerla.
Harold “Skeeter” Lyerla, 29, was stabbed to death on November 11, 1988 in Lompoc, California at Harold and Cynthia's home.
Victor Castillo Perea, 39, an employee for John E. Litchfield was arrested and convicted for the murder. Perea, now 68, is still serving time at Mule Creek State Prison in California.
Marriage records show Cynthia Lynn Lyerla and John Everett Litchfield were married in Clark County, Nevada on May 6, 1989, less than six months after Harold was murdered by John Litchfield's employee.
Harold Lyerla's mother Marilyn Marks filed a lawsuit on November 16, 1989 against Cynthia Lyerla and John Litchfield, contending the murder was a conspiracy with one or more others involved in the murder.
Two life insurance policies which were issued by Commercial Life Insurance Company and paid to Cynthia Lyerla, became the center of a Harold Lyerla's family dispute.
July 8, 1992, the lawsuits had finally ended and Harold Lyerla's life insurances policies had been paid. Then, in January 1993, John Litchfield and Cynthia Knox-Lyerla-Litchfield show up in League City, Harris County, Texas. Cynthia Lyerla is using the stolen identity of Christina White and Majestic Ventures is launched by Litchfield with an expensive "World Class 70' Luxury Sailing Yacht, the Lady Christina".
However, Texas property records also show him as the owner of a two-story, brick home located in a nice League City neighborhood on January 31, 1993. Currently valued at $223,000. It's unclear if they were still married then, if she ever lived in the home with him or if she lives in the home with him now.
The FBI Indictment and Arrest
On March 8, 2016, Cynthia Lynn Knox aka Cynthia Lynn Lyerla was indicted
on four counts of stolen identity fraud. According to the indictment, “Cynthia Lynn Knox was born in 1964, later married Harold Lyerla and took his name. The marriage ended when Harold Lyerla was murdered in 1988 in Lompoc, California.
During the course of the murder investigation Knox's fingerprints were taken. Knox applied for a passport as Christina White and the Department of State began to check her fingerprints.
U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas said, "This indictment alleges her true identity was confirmed after her fingerprints were taken in connection with a mariner license application."
At this point in the indictment, we should have seen that she married John Litchfield and was actually Cynthia Litchfield. But, the new married name is never mentioned in the indictment and in newspaper reports quoting John Litchfield, he never mentions that Lyerla is or was his wife and he knew about the fake identity all along, it is impossible he didn't know.
It's not confirmed nor denied that John Litchfield and Knox-Lyerla divorced at some point in time. But, new court records show she is using her maiden name Knox, perhaps indicating she was divorced from Litchfield and took her maiden name back at some point in time.
Conspiracy Theories, Coincidences or Fact?
According to the new 2016 edition of the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index, “Wyoming has the most business-friendly tax system of any state,” for the past 7 years in a row. Wyoming DOES share information with the IRS, but only the information given by companies with real assets INSIDE the state.
You will see a list of all companies a person is a part of in MOST states. Go to the Secretary of State of Wyoming’s website and you will find that the only way to search on a company is by company name. You cannot search using a person’s name. It's easier to hide business associations in Wyoming, unlike Florida, Texas, Nevada and others. But, we found Litchfield's new company there. There is a secret legal loophole we used, people like Litchfield may not know.
Two weeks after Litchfield registered the Wyoming corporation on August 24, 2016, Cynthia Knox requested a third continuance. Then, two months later on October 25,2016 she request the fourth continuance, which was granted. A fifth continuance was granted on November 29, 2016 and a jury selection and trial was scheduled for January 17, 2017.
Matt and Stephanie Crawford were falsely married in October 2014 by fake "Captain Christina White"
and Majestic Ventures owner John Litchfield allowed that fraudulent wedding to take place. Surely, this event is recent enough the statute of limitations haven't been exceeded.
How did state and federal agencies interacting with Litchfield and Knox on a personal or business level be so clueless they were being fooled? The FBI, USCG, Drug Enforcement Agency, Houston Port Authority, Army Corp of Engineers and United States District court, have been duped by the Litchfields over the years. Will the FBI finally get it right and add more charges?
If this fraud is ever going to end, perhaps U.S. Magistrate Judge John Froeschner will the one to finally put the 'Litchfields' behind bars, where they belong.
John R. Froeschner graduated from Elmhurst College in Illinois with a , B.A., in 1972 and then went to law school at the University of Missouri at Columbia, where he received a Juris Doctorate in May 1976. He was admitted to the bar November 1, 1976 in the state of Texas.
He then was appointed to United States District court in 1991. He sits on the bench at the Southern District Court of Texas.
March 31, 2012, U.S. Magistrate Judge John Froeschner of Galveston, Texas made cruise industry news when he ordered Carnival Triumph held in a $10 million lawsuit filed by the family of a German tourist who died aboard the Costa Concordia shipwreck.
An arrest warrant was issued for the MS Carnival Triumph, the 2,758-passenger cruise liner based in Galveston is owned by Carnival Cruise Line. Carnival is the same company that owned the Costa Concordia, when it ran aground January 13, 2012 while sailing off the coast of central Italy. The grounding resulted in the deaths of 32 people.
The Carnival Triumph was seized for several hours at its port in Galveston, where it was scheduled to leave with 2,700 passengers. Both sides said they reached a confidential deal that released the ship in time to leave for its five-day cruise to Mexico, according to 'The Washington Post'.
A year after Carnival Triumph was seized, Judge John Froeschner was in cruise industry news again when Todd Eric Nordahl, 49, of Tucson, Arizona, was arrested by the FBI on March 31, 2013 on charges that he had sexual contact with a minor child while aboard Mariner of the Seas. April 4, 2013 he sat before U.S. Magistrate Judge John R. Froeschner for the hearing on the case.
The most notable cruise industry case Judge John Froeschner ruled on, was the case of Christina White, John Litchfield, Majestic Ventures vs MV Sensation. Sensation, a Majestic Ventures of League City, Texas chartered cruise ship, was seized on October 11, 2007 after Captain Christina White and Captain John Litchfield filed a federal lawsuit lien for $959,815.32 in unpaid Majestic Ventures contract wages, expenses and fictional future earnings.
Sensation was then seized by federal court order and put for up sale on a maritime website. Community Credit Union loaned Sensation's new owner James Yokley of Yacht-A-Fun Inc $1,055,000 to purchase Sensation from John Litchfield. The purchase contract had a non-compete agreement which included a ten year agreement that Litchfield would continue to manage Sensation. This is when Community Credit Union intervened in the vessel seizure.
Litchfield, according to court documents, had received the original purchase price of $1,055,000 on June 14, 2005. Everything appeared fine for two years into the contract. But Yacht-A-Fun Inc underwent involuntary bankruptcy on September 17, 2007.
James Yokley had no idea Captain Christina White was a fraud, a federal criminal and was using a dead woman's identity to captain his newly acquired vessel as well as lying to the USCG during inspections. If he had known, he could have filed for breach of contract and sued Litchfield for the $1,055,000 he paid for the cruise ship, a purchase done under false pretenses with the phony Captain Christina White at the helm of his ship.
Litchfield and Knox planned a scheme to seize the vehicle under the premise they were owed nearly a million dollars from owner James Yokley and Yacht-A-Fun Inc. Sensation was put up for sale, and if sold, would effectively give Litchfield double the purchase price.
So "Christina White" filed a maritime lien for back wages as the captain of Sensation and Litchfield filed for breach of contract. The contract included a ten year agreement that Litchfield would continue to manage the operation, book cruises and fulfill client ticket contracts.
According to court documents we attained and seen below, Captain Christina White swore under penalty of perjury that she was "a ship's captain aboard Sensation from June 4, 2005 to December 18, 2005 and nearly two years later decides was owed back wages of $8,163.00". She wasn't even a legal ship's captain and she certainly was NOT Christina White.
Those same court documents, show Captain John Litchfield swore on the same complaint with "Captain Christina White" that he was owed total costs of $959,815.32, the bulk of which was for future fictional lost earnings, which were contested by Community Credit Union. Litchfield doesn't tell the court he entered into the agreement with Yokely falsely, failing to divulge he knowingly hired a federal criminal to master his cruise ship. This issue may be of interest to past passengers who were duped by Captain Christina White and Captain John Litchfield.
Of course, the problem with that federal lawsuit was Captain Christina White did NOT exist and Captain John Litchfield was well aware of that fact when they swore out the complaint, because he had aided, abetted and facilitated Cynthia Knox's federal crime from 1994 through 2016. Yet, the two had the audacity to file a federal lawsuit, effectively calling themselves financial victims of the very man they had defrauded in the sale.
On May 30, 2008, Judge John Froeschner ruled the seizure of Sensation and motion by the financial institution that loaned the money to Sensation's new owner James Yokley of Yacht-A-Fun Inc, Community Credit Union’s, Motion to Post Security and for Interlocutory Sale of the Vessel” was DENIED, subject to reconsideration, without refiling, following the disposition of Community Credit Union’s initial Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. In the end, Community Credit Union prevailed and sold the Sensation for $1,375,000.00, less than the note they held. Had Litchfield and Christina White prevailed in court, they could have landed a hefty bonus to their fraudulent sale to Yokely.
It's now obvious Litchfield played the media, and everyone else, pretending he didn't know about Captain Christina White's deceit, and his own as he helped her cover up her crime. Knox played the victim saying she feared for her life and hid in Texas under a dead woman's name because her ex-in laws were out to get her.
Current court records indicate, the court is buying the story, sealing numerous court records in the current identity theft case. Her ex-in laws believe, according to original case documents, Knox and Litchfield plotted to murder Harold and his baby daughter for the insurance money. Looking at the time line of events, it's not too difficult to see how they might have come to that conclusion.
The question now is, will the courts finally get it right?
Cruise Bruise gives special thanks to a family member, who wishes to remain anonymous, for coming forward with information related to this case.