In a default judgment, The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington is mandating that investment adviser Enrique Villalba and affiliated entities pay investors over $20 million. The 47-year-old has been sentenced to almost 9 years in prison for defrauding clients of over $30 million.
Most of the funds that were taken from investors were lost in unauthorized, high risk investments in futures contracts. Villalba also used some of the funds to run Rico Latte coffee shops and purchase property. Among his victims was one woman who lost almost $12 million. Another man, former ER doctor David Ernst, lost his life savings. Tom Mulgrey, 56, lost $4 million.
Villalba has not been in touch with the plaintiffs of this securities fraud lawsuit since September 2009. His investment fraud victims are located in different US states. In their securities complaint, the plaintiffs are alleging claims under the Washington Securities Act and the 1934 Securities Exchange Act.
In granting the plaintiffs’ motion to obtain a default judgment, the court noted that per the two statutes, rescission is the way to calculate damages. In this case, the court deemed rescission appropriate because it “undoes the transactions” while returning the plaintiffs to their original state had they never invested their funds with the defendants.
Also, under the Washington Securities Act, the court determined that not only are the plaintiffs entitled to interest on the damages amount beginning the date of each deposit, but also they are entitled to recover lawyers’ fees and costs. The Washington Consumer Protection Act also entitles them to legal fees. Per the default judgment, the plaintiffs have been awarded $20,080,637.89, which includes the principal amount of $13,393,650.67, $6,669,053.22 in interest, and $17,934 in lawyers’ fees and costs.
Related Web Resources:
Court Orders Investment Manager To Pay Defrauded Clients Over $20 million, BNA/Alacrastore.com, November 5, 2010
Investment adviser caught in $30 million fraud sent to prison for almost 9 years, Cleveland.com, September 8, 2010
Read the Order