Missing California Mom’s Employer Investigated for Multi-Million Fraud; Conflicting Reports Raise Questions about Circumstances of Heidi Planck’s Disappearance

The search continues for a missing California mother who vanished nearly two weeks ago, as the mystery deepens around the circumstances of her disappearance

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Planck, 39, disappeared on October 17 after leaving her 10-year-old son’s football game. Her ex-husband Jim Wayne, who was also at the game, said that Planck seemed distracted at the game. Hours after Planck was last seen, her dog was found on the 28th floor of a downtown Los Angeles building, reportedly about 12 miles from her home. It is not yet known why Planck would have been at the building.

Wayne reported Planck missing on October 20, after she failed to pick up their son from school as scheduled. Her friends told CBS Los Angeles that the managers of the building where Planck’s dog was found has not been cooperative in helping them search for more clues. The building management reportedly said they would not release any surveillance footage without a warrant.

As Fox News report, Planck is employed by Camden Capital Partners LLC, where Jason Sugarman is a managing partner. Sugarman has been the focus of an investigation alleging the he is involved, along with his business partner, in a “massive fraud scheme” in which he allegedly stole $43 million from investors, including a Native American tribal entity. The most recent available filing from the Security and Exchange Commission indicates the case against Sugarman is still pending, though his business partner was sentenced to prison in 2020.

Wayne told Fox News that he received a call on October 21 from a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) official, asking him for information about Sugarman, described as his ex-wife’s boss.

“I don’t know how she got my name and I don’t know how she got my number, but she called me and started asking me questions about Sugarman,” he said. “Something’s dirty here.”

Authorities have not commented on whether investigators believe Planck’s disappearance is somehow connected to the fraud investigation. As NBC News reports, it appears that federal agents searched Planck’s home on Friday, but it is unknown if they collected any evidence.

Wayne told NBC News that police performed a wellness check at Planck’s home after he filed a missing persons report.

“The home was in pristine condition,” he told the news station. “But her phone and laptops were left behind.”

On October 28, a CBS Los Angeles report about Planck’s disappearance stated that “Planck, her silver Range Rover, her purse, her personal phone and computer, however, were all gone,” citing an interview with Wayne. It is unclear if the phone was found in Planck’s home after he gave that interview, though he told NBC News that he accessed a text message on Planck’s phone from a tenant in the high-rise about the dog being found. The pet reportedly had a microchip.

There appear to be some inconsistencies in the reporting about how the dog was located. 

Wayne told Fox News that the couple’s 10-year-old son is devastated by his mother’s disappearance.

“He just needs to know what the hell happened to his mom. And he’s going to have to have some kind of closure somewhere.”

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