Articles Posted in Madoff Ponzi Scheme

Citco Group Ltd. has agreed to pay $125 million to resolve a lawsuit related to the Bernard Madoff Ponzi Scheme. The plaintiffs in the case are investors of Fairfield Greenwich Ltd.

Investors in Fairfield’s funds sued Citco Group and others after Madoff was arrested in 2008 for running a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scam. Citco was a defendant because it was retained by Fairfield to monitor assets, as well as Madoff’s trading activities. The plaintiffs argued that Citco owed them a duty of care.

By settling, Citco is not denying or admitting to wrongdoing. It said that it consented to resolve the case to avoid further litigation.

The $125 million investor settlement is one of the largest with an administrator or custodian of a Madoff feeder fund. Fairfield placed about $7 billion with Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.
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According to Richard Breeden, the special master of the Madoff Victim Fund, about 11,000 more investors who sustained losses in the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scam could recover some of their funds. He also said that the number could possibly double as the U.S. government assesses more of the claims.

Breeden said that as of the middle of this month his office had looked at over 34,000 of the more than 63,700 claims it had received from investors who were claiming $77.3 billion of losses. They are from 135 countries.

The Madoff Victim Fund is holding $4.05 billion in investor compensation and is separate from the compensation being distributed by Irving Picard, who is the trustee of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. While Picard has been compensating investors who directly placed their funds with Madoff, Breeden is working to compensate investors who had accounts at feeder funds and other entities that then sent their money to Madoff for investment.

Investors who were bilked in Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scam will be getting back another $93 million. Madoff Trustee Irving Picard said that Defender Limited and related entities have consented to give back that amount, which they received from investing with the Ponzi mastermind. As part of the agreement, the $93 million will be withheld from the over $422 million that Defender is waiting to get back for its own losses in the scam.

To date, Picard has gotten back over $10.6 million of investors’ $17.3 billion in principal. This is the latest deal reached between the trustee and a so-called feeder fund. These funds pooled investor money and then sent the cash Madoff’s way. Bogus returns were issued to the funds, which gave the money to their individual investors.

Picard contended that the parties behind the Defender fund were aware, or if not then they should have been, that Madoff’s company was a fraud. The $93 million is representative of all the money that Defender withdrew from its fund from its formation in 2007 until the end of 2008 when Madoff liquidation proceedings began. As part of the agreement, parties involved with Defender will cooperate with Picard to get back the $550 million. Picard has also reached deals with feeder funds Premo Fund, Herald Fund SPC, and Senator Fund SPC.

A Securities and Exchange Commission administrative law judge says that investment advisers Larry Grossman and Gregory Adams must pay over $6.3M in restitution and fines for misleading clients who invested in hedge funds tied to Ponzi fraud mastermind Bernie Madoff. Administrative law judge Brenda Murray issued her ruling last month.

The two investment advisers are Sovereign International Asset Management founder Larry Grossman and Gregory Adams, who agreed to buy Sovereign from Grossman in 2008. The firm filed for bankruptcy four years later.

Per the SEC administrative complaint, Grossman did not know that the two hedge funds that he primarily recommended to clients were linked to Madoff. The Commission contends that Grossman violated his fiduciary duties to his clients when he neglected to conduct due diligence on the funds, which were run by a man named Nickolai Battoo. Grossman also purportedly did not notify clients that he was getting paid $3.4 million in consulting fees and referral money for recommending certain funds. After Grossman sold Sovereign to Adams, the former owner continued working in several capacities at the firm and never actually told clients that the sale even happened.

In a new round of payments by Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC trustee Irving Picard, victims of the $17 billion Madoff Ponzi Scam are slated to receive around $349 million. The US Bankruptcy Court in New York must still approve the distribution, which would bring total payouts to $6 billion-34% of the principal lost.

A hearing for the distributions is scheduled in April. Payouts by Picard include up to $500,000 in advances each to victims that were made by the Securities Investor Protection Corp. Picard said that he hope to give victims full reimbursements.

One way he is doing this is by pursuing claims of approximately $3.5 billion from HSBC Holdings PlC (HSBA), UBS AG (UBS) and UniCredit SpA (UCG), which allegedly benefited from the multibillion-dollar Ponzi scam. In January, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) arrived at $325 million accord with Picard over allegations that the bank was negligent in not identifying the fraud and made money money from Madoff’s scam. Picard was able to recover $10 billion-59% of the principals lost by thousands of Madoff customers. The financial firm also consented to pay another $218 million to settle two related class actions filed with the help of Picard.

A group of investors that were victimized in the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scam has won the right to appeal directly to a federal court about a bankruptcy ruling that prevents them from factoring in the amount of time they invested with the financial fraudster as interest that they want back. According to the US Court of Appeals in New York, the plaintiffs met the criteria for a “direct appeal” so that they won’t have to go through the district court first.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Burton R. Lifland had said that “time-based” calculations might not be fair to creditors who are last in line for payments and that this could give a windfall to claims by traders even though they weren’t victims of Madoff’s scam. Lifland recently passed way.

Madoff’s victims want bankruptcy trustee Irving Picard to put aside about $1.4 billion to pay back interest they say they are owed. They believe that factoring in time when equating damages allows for inflation to be considered.

FINRA Issues Sweep Letters About Alternative Trading Systems

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has put out a new round of sweeps letters asking for more information about its review of alternative trading systems. The SRO’s Trading Examinations Unit is reviewing the off-exchange trading venues.

FINRA wants firms to provide information about how subscriber order flow is identified within the ATS, whether they are tracking the different kinds of order types in use, and where the ATSs orders are routed. Sweep letters let the regulator determine how to better focus its exams and discover what new issues may have arisen.

A district court has confirmed an arbitration panel’s $750,000 award to the Kay Family Revocable Trust in its securities case against Stone & Youngberg LLP. The trust sustained financial losses when its money was invested in the FutureSelect Prime Advisor II, which had most of its capital invested with Ponzi scam mastermind Bernard Madoff.

In its arbitration claim, Kay Family Revocable Trust claimed that S & Y failed to perform its requisite due diligence before recommending that the trust invest in the fund. S & Y rejoined with the argument that the trust had not succeeded in proving a causal link between the Madoff scheme and any alleged lack of due diligence. S & Y also argued it shouldn’t have to be responsible for the harm that the Trust suffered as a result of Madoff’s financial fraud. The brokerage firm even pointed to a federal district court ruling of a professional malpractice claim that concluded that “a simple ‘but for’ relationship between the claimed negligence and the injury” will not back up a finding of legal causation. S & Y also cited a decision by a federal appeals court that said it was up to a securities fraud plaintiff to prove that the loss it sustained was a foreseeable outcome of the alleged misrepresentation.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, however, concluded that the panel’s decision to confirm the award in favor of the investor and against S & Y was not manifest disregard of the law, but rather the application of the law to the facts the way it found them.

Stone & Youngberg, LLC v. Kay Family Revocable Trust UAD 02-07-90 FBO Lenore Bleadon Under Trust A, Justia Dockets, January 13, 2011

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Financial Industry Regulatory Authority says that Morgan Keegan & Co, Inc. must pay over $250,000 in punitive and compensatory damages to Jeffrey and Marisel Lieberman. The couple suffered financial losses after investing in Greenwich Sentry LLP, a hedge fund whose assets were funneled to Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities. FINRA contends that the brokerage firm failed to due enough due diligence on the Madoff feeder fund, and was “grossly negligent.”

The Lieberman, who are accusing the Regions Financial unit of fraudulent misrepresentation, negligence breach of fiduciary duty, and violations of Florida and Tennessee statutes, claim that Morgan Keegan and Julio Almeyda, one of its registered representatives, invested $200,000 of their money with Greenwich Sentry. The fund ended up filing for bankruptcy last November.

Per Morgan Keegan’s internal compliance rules, investors should only be allowed to place money in hedge funds if “speculation” is one among their main objectives when opening an account. “Speculation” was the last objective on the couple’s list. FINRA says that not only must the broker-dealer repay the couple’s entire loss of $200,000, but also they must also give them 6% annual interest from when the investment was made, $50,000 in punitive damages, and $14,000 in expert witness fees.

Meantime, the FINRA panel cleared Almeyda of wrongdoing, finding that he did not know that Morgan Keegan had not provided sufficient due diligence nor was he aware that he had given the Lieberman’s false and misleading information about their investments’ risks.

Over the last year, Morgan Keegan has found itself dealing with hundreds of arbitration cases nvolving mutual fund investors alleging securities fraud related to the significant losses they sustained during the subprime mortgage crisis.

Related Web Resources:
Morgan Keegan Fined $250,000 Over Madoff Fund, Money News, March 7, 2011
Investors Succeed in Due Diligence Case Against Brokerage Over Madoff-Related Losses, BNA Securities, March 9, 2011

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Morgan Keegan & Co., Inc., Morgan Asset Management, and Two Employees Face Subprime Mortgage Securities Fraud Charges by SEC, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, April 8, 2010
Morgan Keegan Ordered by FINRA Panel to Pay Investor $2.5 Million for Bond Fund Losses, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, February 23, 2010 Continue reading

Texas Congressman Jeb Hensarling is one of four Republican members of the House Financial Services Committee wanting to know more about Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Schapiro’s role in managing the conflict of interest presented by appointing David M. Becker as the SEC’s general counsel. Becker, who is no longer in this post, is with someone with a financial interest in a Bernard Madoff investment account. As a senior policy director for the SEC involved in dealing with Madoff Ponzi scam, he played a role determining how victims would be compensated.

Becker’s ties with Madoff didn’t come to light until trustee Irving H. Picard sued him and his two brothers to get back more than $1million of the $2 million they had inherited from their late mother’s Madoff investment. The former SEC general counsel claims that he told Schapiro and the chief ethics officer of his Madoff-related financial interest. Now, however, SEC inspector general H. David Kotz says he wants to probe possible conflicts of interest related to Becker’s role with the SEC as someone who stood to benefit from decisions involving Madoff Ponzi scam victims. According to the New York Times, two unnamed sources say while the SEC agreed to return to investors only the funds they had placed in their Madoff accounts, Becker had pushed for allowing the victims to keep some of their investment gains.

Lawmakers say they want details of Schapiro’s talks with Becker about his Madoff ties. They also want to know whether she followed all the steps delineated in government ethics rules. Also getting into the mix is Texas Representative and Republican Randy Neugebauer, who is quoted in the New York Times as stating that he believes the SEC should be held to the same high standard of “transparency and disclosure” as it holds other companies.

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