How Stupid Can They Get? Plenty Stupid!
(A discussion of fraudulent conveyances)
by Brian Mahany
(Reprinted from our sister firm’s blog, MahanyLaw, www.mahanylaw.com)
It was inevitable – massive fraud in the government’s bailout program from 2008. The U.S. Troubled Assets Relief Program (or “TARP”) had it’s first major arrest. Charles Antonucci, former head of New York’s Park Avenue Bank, was indicted for fraud, embezzlement and misappropriation. What did he do? The feds say he attempted to take $11 million of bailout monies meant for the bank and spend it on himself.
Theft and fraud investigations are nothing new. But what noteworthy is Antonucci’s actions after the federal investigation began. Knowing that he may be prosecuted and sued civilly for damages, Antonucci is alleged to have transferred his $348,000 home to his wife. On the same day he also “sold” his condo in Tampa to his son for $100. These transactions are what are commonly called “fraudulent conveyances” or “fraudulent transfers.”
Fraudsters frequently transfer assets – bank accounts, expensive cars and real property – into someone else’s name thinking that they can protect that property from seizure or a civil judgment. Unfortunately, that tactic often works.
Obtaining a judgment against a fraudster is usually quite easy. Often they will not answer complaints or comply with discovery demands for fear of incriminating themselves in a future criminal case. The bigger trick becomes collecting the judgment.
All states in the U.S. have adopted some type of fraudulent conveyance law. Those laws allow creditors (judgment holders) to pursue property transferred for less than proper consideration. Sadly, few lawyers have experience pursuing fraudulent conveyances. Billions of dollars of judgments go uncollected each year even though a properly trained lawyer could unwind these transfers and collect for victims.
In this case the transfers were so obvious that the courts will likely “unwind” the transfers to Antonucci’s wife and son and order the property to be sold and the proceeds used to pay any creditors. In many other cases, however, these transfers to family and friends go unchallenged. The victim has a worthless judgment while the criminal still has his fancy yacht – that is, now his girlfriend’s yacht.
Mahany & Ertl concentrates in asset recovery. Our fraud recovery lawyers understand fraudulent transfers and know how to find assets for victims. We have participated in fraud cases throughout the United States and in the Middle East, Central America, the Caribbean and Europe. Wherever a criminal may attempt to hide your money, our lawyers and former government special agents will do everything possible to get back your money.
From our offices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Attorneys Brian Mahany and Christopher Ertl are ready to help. Call Brian Mahany today at (414) 704-6731 (direct) or email him at . We will answer your questions and give you a realistic assessment of getting back your hard-earned money.