The Devil Next Door

The chilling story of Doug Havard, SMU'S Crime Boss

The day before his arrest, Havard went out to dinner with another student. "On the car ride home, [Havard] casually mentioned that he was worried about Meghan causing trouble," the student wrote in a written statement. "He said that as soon as he knew she was leaving he had cleared his room of everything remotely incriminating. He proceed[ed] to tell us, still very casually, that he had discussed the Meghan situation with his friends from outside of school. He said they obtained 3 addresses: Meghan's home in Houston, her grandfather's house in North Dallas, and I forget [the other]. He said his friends told him they would keep the addresses and if something were to happen to him in the next months, that they would burn the houses with no questions asked."

Word of Havard's threats plunged Meghan deeper into anxiety and depression. Her fears intensified when Havard fled overseas sometime in the summer of 2002.

Feeling SMU had put her "in harm's way," Meghan filed her lawsuit against SMU in December 2002. In May of this year, when Meghan gave a deposition, she was still taking five or six medications to get through the day without paranoia and panic attacks. "If I had said nothing, I'd still be at SMU," Meghan says. "I paid $21,000 to go to SMU for one semester so I could be in therapy for the rest of my life." The case settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. Still angry about leaving SMU, Meghan now attends community college.

Doug Havard
Doug Havard
Doug Havard, son of a successful Dallas entrepreneur, hatched several scams while still at The Winston School.
Doug Havard, son of a successful Dallas entrepreneur, hatched several scams while still at The Winston School.

None of the students investigated for their association with Havard faced criminal charges. Two were suspended and left SMU; most of the others received varying levels of discipline but remained at the school. One was cleared.

"This has been a difficult process for the university," Vice President for Student Affairs James E. Caswell says. "Our hearts do go out to Meghan. We're sorry that it happened here. By the same token, we felt that capturing this person was a good thing to do. Hindsight is 20-20. Our track record has been very good up to this point."

After two years on the run, Havard, now 22, was arrested in Leeds, England, on June 4, 2004. Charged by the Brits with possession of a false passport, $21,000 in counterfeit travelers checks and an illegal firearm, Havard is suspected of involvement in a massive multimillion-dollar scam called "Carderplanet."

As a senior member of the operation, masterminded by a Russian organized crime syndicate, Havard was allegedly involved in identity theft, credit card fraud and passport fraud. He remains in jail; his English attorney had no comment on the charges. Havard was indicted last month in the United States on two counts of federal passport fraud.

During his brief college career, Havard learned several lessons well: Spread the responsibility and the blame; compromise as many people as possible and seduce the rest; and after figuring out the game, outsource your homework.

But one thing Havard never got: Quit while you're ahead.

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