On August 20th, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit reversed a trial court's ruling finding that judgments against Ponzi scheme "net gainers" were non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. The debtors were early investors in what turned out to be a Ponzi scheme and received more money than they invested. When the Ponzi scheme was uncovered, the state State of Oklahoma sued the debtors for unjust enrichment but not for any securities violations. After the State obtained a judgment on the unjust enrichment claim, the debtors declared bankruptcy. The trial court held that the judgments could not be discharged because they fell under the exception in 11 U.S.C. Section 523(a)(19) as judgments for the violation of securities laws. The Tenth Circuit reversed, holding that the judgments were dischargeable in bankruptcy since the debtors were not charged by the State with having violated the securities laws. Oklahoma Department of Securities v. Wilcox.
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Judgments against Ponzi scheme net gainers are dischargeable in bankruptcy
- Winston & Strawn LLP
- August 27 2012
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