So, my brother received one of these in TX and I have been doing research on this. At first blush, they appear illegitimate because of all the people saying they are scams. But, I kept digging because I could find only one person who gave them money and received nothing. This is my brother's life - 50 years for a crime the witness recanted - so I wanted to really dig in.
At this point, I am still unsure. While I could not find many people who felt they were scammed by the organization, I could not find any evidence of success. I found one, but it absolutely looks fake.
Here are some facts that I found in my digging:
The MANIFEST NON OBSTANTE VEREDICTO NETWORK MNN, INC. is listed as a Delaware corporation with non-profit tax status. The 5th avenue address is a mail forwarding address through NY Mail. So while the address makes it look legitimate, the fact that the mail is forwarded does not help. Does this mean it is a scam? No.
A Shani Burton Johnson owns Mobile News Network of America, http://www.mnnofa.com/. I am not 100% sure this is the same person who is listed on the website for Manifest non Obstante Veredicto Network. However, Mobile New Network is shortened to 'MNN" as is Manifest non Obstante Veredicto Network. How interesting... Mobile News Network is nowhere to be found as a corporation, but still has a website.
Upon further research, we find a Shani Burton Johnson as the President, Director of 2 Florida corporations:
One of these is International Mobile News Network. That sounds familiar. Both of these use a residential Florida address. It is fairly safe to say this the same Shani Burton Johnson from Manifest non Obstante Veredicto Network, who uses the address of sburtonjohnson email address.
It is VERY difficult to not have an online presence these days. Yet, I could not much about this person who is running a non-profit to help prisoners. Certainly, she is a marketer and not an attorney. This is fine. Non-profits need marketers too. But if you are trying to help you spread your name and photo far and wide.
If you want to see a photo of Shani Burton Johnson, you can look at an online magazine she created. There are two:
http://issuu.com/mobilenewsnetwork/docs/combine_ces_edition_22 - from 2012, so fairly recent.
She is on the inside page of each magazine. She is very attractive and would be a great photo to have on their website as a champion for prisoners.
Am I 100% sure these two people are the same? The MNN, IMNN Shani and the Manifest MNN Shani? No, not 100%. I am 99.9% sure. I could not find ANY other Shani Burton Johnson online.
Shannan D de Jesus has left Florida and changed her name to Shannan Deeh de Jesus. She no longer has a license to practice in Florida and is licensed to practice in CO. You can find her here:
There are two records, one with a PO box and one with a street address. This is definitely the same Shannan that worked for Manifest.
John Frieburg is mentioned in 3 links threatening legal action, but all three are actually the same:
I could not find John Frieburg anywhere on officer documentation. This leads me to believe this is a fictitious person.
I could not find any attorney of record for the organization in TX using the Texas State bar website: http://www.texasbar.com and use the advanced search where you can search for a firm. This does not mean they don't have representation there as an attorney may work for a firm and do pro bono work.
Finally, the most compelling information for me is that if there is ANY organization out there that is capable of actually having success in reducing sentences, especially in Texas, it would NOT be hard to find on the Internet. Success would be posted all over the place.
I put in a LOT of time to find all of this because it is my brother's life. If there was ANY chance, even 1% chance, that I thought this was a legitimate course of action, I would happily spend the $395. I am relatively wealthy and this would not set me back at all. However, for my brother, he can only have his hope bubble burst so many times before he will give up hope and become the shell the prison system is trying to make him. I could not do that.
I know many of the people reading this feel the same way I do, so I wanted to pass along all of my findings, even if some of it is irrelevant.