An attempt by the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to intervene in a case pending in Guernsey was unsuccessful. All is not lost, however.
The Bailiwick of Guernsey, as the tiny island nation is formally known, is a British Crown dependency. Regulators believe that there are millions of dollars belonging to PIWN hidden there by suspected Ponzi scheme fraudster Nikolai Battoo.
Although Uncle Sam usually wins cases on its home turf, this case pitted the SEC and CFTC against liquidators appointed in a Bahamian proceeding. Both sides are trying to get money for beleaguered investors but both represent potentially different interests. We worry that duplicate proceedings just run up legal fees and diminishes the amount of money available for victims.
The liquidation proceeding is operating under the authority of the Supreme Court of the Bahamas. The U.S. government’s action was filed in the Northern District of Illinois federal court by the Chicago office of the SEC.
The Royal Court of Guernsey weighed in when the SEC attempted to muscle in on the action pending in Guernsey. Unfortunately for the SEC, the Royal Court ruled that it was not “just and convenient” to allow the SEC to intervene.
The actual impact on investors is unclear. People who lost money through Nikolai Battoo and his funds such as PIWM should still recover something from the Bahamian liquidation. Unfortunately, the amount of money believed to be in Guernsey is just $16 million. While that sounds like a lot of cash, Battoo is rumored to have lost hundreds of millions of dollars.
So what is next? The SEC and offshore liquidation should provide some relief to investors. Those that invested in PIWM, Maven and other PIWM related investments directly through Tracy Sunderlage may find it difficult to collect from third parties. Their only recovery may be through the liquidation proceedings. (A US federal judge recently determined that Sunderlage was indigent.)
Although some investors dealt directly with Sunderlage, many investors in PIWM were recruited by stockbrokers, investment advisers and insurance agents. We know that there were many brokers in the Sacramento and Bay area selling these investments.
If you lost money in PIWM, Maven, Anchor Hedge Funds or any other investment tied to Nikolai Battoo or Tracy Sunderlage, you may have a claim against the person who sold or recommended the investment to you. Time is running out on those claims, however.
The author of this post, attorney Brian Mahany has teamed up with Chapman Law to pursue cases against PIWM, Maven, Anchor Hedge Fund, First Fidelity, BC Capital and others who may be associated Nikolai Battoo and Tracy Sunderlage. That includes stockbrokers such as Ellwood Jones. We have successfully brought claims against insurance agents too.
Post by Brian Mahany, Esq.