It’s been six months since the mysterious disappearance of Heidi Planck, a Westside mom who vanished last October. It’s a bizarre missing person’s case that led to a fruitless LAPD search of a sprawling landfill and a put a spotlight on her boss, the son-in-law of a Hollywood mogul.
Planck was last seen on CCTV video outside a luxury DTLA high-rise Hope + Flower walking her dog Seven on Oct. 17 just hours after she left her 11-year-old son Bond’s football game. The Labradoodle was found wandering alone on the 28th floor of the building as Bond frantically texted his mom, “please call me or text me because I want to make sure your [sic] ok and I’m worried about you.”
Earlier that same morning, Planck left her $1.7 million Culver City townhouse–which is also listed as the business address for the company where she worked as the office manager for Camden Capital Partners–and drove off in her $90,000 Range Rover.
Weeks after her disappearance, police officials searched the property with guns drawn, even as residents of the well-secured high-rise told LAPD detectives that Planck attended a drug-fueled party in the building and may have overdosed, leading revelers to throw her body in a trash chute.
That theory was bolstered in early November after the LAPD announced a search of the Chiquita Canyon Landfill, the dump where the building’s garbage is transported.
“Forensic evidence was located inside the building which has led detectives to believe an incident occurred resulting in Planck’s death,” police said in a statement at the time.
Then on Nov. 4, Planck’s Range Rover was discovered abandoned in a DTLA garage not far from Hope + Spring.
“Six months later there are still more questions than answers,” Planck’s ex-husband Jim Wayne, a Beverly Hills hairstylist said. “Bond and Seven are still living with me. Our son wants to know what happened to his mother. I want to know what happened to Heidi. I still think her boss has something to do with this in one way or another.”
That boss? Jason Sugarman, a part owner of the LA soccer team who is married to the daughter of Dodgers owner Peter Guber, who was swept up in an ongoing Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into an elaborate scheme that defrauded a Native American tribe of the Sioux Nation out of $43 million.
Sugarman is slated to go on trial later this year in Manhattan’s Southern District on civil charges connected to the fraud, according to a court docket. His codefendants include a coterie of Wall Street scammers, including one-time porn king, Jason Galanis, and Devon Archer, the former business partner of Hunter Biden. At Archer’s trial, evidence revealed that Archer used Biden’s name in the literature used to help defraud the Native American victims.
Biden has not been implicated in the scheme. Archer was sentenced to a year in prison in February by US District Court Judge Ronnie Abrams, who also ordered him to forfeit $15,700,513 and pay $43,427,436 in restitution.
Galanis pleaded guilty to securities fraud and is serving 15 years in a minimum-security prison in San Pedro, [one where his father is also an inmate on similar white collar crime convictions.]
A flurry of filings has been entered into the docket of the Securities and Exchange Commission case against Sugarman. On April 6, the Commission wrote to the federal court asking for a court order to allow federal investigators to be present when Sugarman and his legal team review files maintained by Heidi Planck, which were turned over to the SEC after her disappearance, writing:
“The Commission is seeking guidance respecting certain documents it is holding that were maintained by Mr. Sugarman’s former office manager, Heidi Planck. The Commission is prepared to propose a method for Mr. Sugarman’s review of such materials provided that the originals are preserved in the custody and control of the Commission and counsel. The Commission proposes that the same protocols be applied to the documents stored by Ms. Planck in a storage unit in Orange County.”
Sugarman, the court filing goes on to say, is very concerned about a company laptop that was taken from Planck’s townhouse when she vanished.
“Mr. Sugarman is deeply troubled by the Commission’s conduct with respect to documents apparently belonging to Camden or Mr. Sugarman that were stored in Ms. Planck’s apartment, where she was working during the pandemic. The documents currently in the Commission’s possession were removed from Ms. Planck’s home by her ex-husband, Jim Wayne, without Camden’s or Mr. Sugarman’s knowledge or permission,” the pre-trial filing states.
Sugarman’s attorneys are arguing that anything on the laptop should be excluded from evidence because it is company property and the SEC obtained it without a warrant.
A judge has not ruled on that request, but Jim Wayne insists he had permission to turn the laptop over to the feds.
“All Jason cared about was that laptop when Heidi went missing,” Wayne said, reiterating an interview he gave to Los Angeles magazine in January. “Let’s just say I am keeping my eyes and ears open.”
The theories swirling around Planck’s disappearance are not important to her friends, who created a website dedicated to honoring her memory, https://www.findheidiplanck.com/, and to solicit any clues in the case.
“Heidi is a loving mother to her 11-year-old son. Nothing in this world is more important to her than the safety and well-being of her son,” her friends wrote. “Heidi is missed. She has family and friends who are praying for her safe return.”