Civil Lawsuit Filed Against Caroline Roffman Following Alleged Fraudulent Horse Sale

Wellington, Fla. – Oct. 10, 2017 – Adult amateur dressage rider Alice Tarjan of Frenchtown, New Jersey, has filed a civil lawsuit against international Grand Prix competitor Caroline Roffman of Wellington, Florida, and her business Lionshare Dressage LLC. Tarjan is seeking $500,000 in damages due to Roffman’s alleged misrepresentation of the sale price of Tarjan’s Fabrege MF, who was 6 years old at the time of the fraudulent transaction. The Hanoverian mare by Fidertanz was the Reserve Foal Champion at Dressage at Devon in 2009 and was bred by Maryanna Haymon of Marydell Farms and owned by Tarjan.

Alice Tarjan and Serenade MF
Alice Tarjan and Serenade MF won the 2017 4-Year-Old Dressage National Championship

Roffman, the defendant, has competed on several U.S. Nations Cups teams, qualified for the World Equestrian Games and earned high placings at prestigious competitions such as the Aachen CDIO5* in the Under 25 Grand Prix division.

The plaintiff, Tarjan, is an adult amateur Grand Prix rider and has been awarded numerous championship titles from competitions such as the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, Dressage at Devon, U.S. Dressage Finals and the USEF Young Horse Dressage National Championships. Tarjan is most widely known for her success in developing talented young horses and bringing them up through the levels.

Caroline Roffman and Her Highness O

The lawsuit was filed on Sept. 29, 2017, in the circuit court of the 15th Judicial Circuit in and for Palm Beach County, Florida. Read the complete document here.

The following information is outlined in the above document:

The suit claims that in October 2015 Tarjan shipped Fabrege to Roffman to sell on behalf of Tarjan, with Roffman earning 10 percent commission of the full price of Fabrege. On Nov. 2, 2015, Roffman allegedly notified Tarjan that an offer of $300,000 was made by Peter Eeckman of Belgium. Tarjan was concerned that Fabrege was worth closer to $500,000 but upon council with Roffman, agreed to accept the offer.

On Nov. 18, 2015, Roffman sent an Equine Sale and Purchase Agreement, which was between the seller and Eeckman, for Tarjan to sign. When Tarjan questioned why she had not received the wire transfer by Nov. 22, Roffman responded that the sale money was held in Belgium, likely from terrorist alerts, and that she had confirmation that the sale money had been wired from Eeckman’s bank account. The next day, Roffman allegedly wired her own $300,000 to Tarjan.

As claimed in the suit, “On Dec. 1, Roffman contacted Plaintiff (Tarjan) to request Fabrege’s papers. Roffman told Plaintiff to send Fabrege’s papers to Peter [Eeckman] at 3060 Mallet Hill Court, Wellington, Florida. Unbeknownst to Plaintiff, Roffman’s father, Stuart A. Roffman, and not Peter, owned the property located at 3060 Mallet Hill Court. Unbeknownst to Plaintiff, Roffman actually sold Fabrege to Bethany Peslar and/or Everglades Dressage, LLC for $900,000.”

U.S. rider Bethany Peslar of Everglades Dressage LLC was represented by Endel Ots, a former trainer at Roffman’s Lionshare Dressage. Allegedly with Roffman’s direction, Ots misrepresented to Peslar that Eeckman was the seller of the Hanoverian mare and instructed her to wire transfer $900,000 to Eeckman’s bank account.

The purported scheme involved Eeckman as the intermediary for fund transfers, as he never paid money for Fabrege, but retained $10,000 of the $900,000 as a fee to use the bank account to funnel the remaining balance of $890,000 to Roffman.

Caroline Roffman
Caroline Roffman

In an email to PS Dressage, Roffman gave the statement: “The recent lawsuit filed by Alice Tarjan against Lionshare Dressage, LLC is disappointing. The facts alleged in the lawsuit are inaccurate, misleading and in many instances just plain wrong. Unfortunately, in business these days and in the horse world in particular, it is not uncommon for someone to file a frivolous lawsuit seeking to gain a tactical advantage. I am confident that after a Court looks at the facts and law governing the dispute, the lawsuit filed by Ms. Tarjan will be dismissed quickly. I will continue to focus on my family, my training, and going to work every day with a smile on my face. I appreciate your being objective and hearing both sides in this.”

Tarjan was appreciative to be reached but did not have additional statements to make at this time.

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