For Immediate Release
Meridian Mortgage investors were unpleasantly surprised to receive a letter from the K&L Gates law firm demanding that they repay interest and dividends they may have received from their Meridian Mortgage investments (Seattle Times on the web 29 April 2012). A Banks Law Office client received such a letter, which threatened to sue him for the amount of his entire Meridian Mortgage investment unless he agreed to pay approximately $90,000 in dividend payments that he received – and cashed – in good faith. Banks Law Office is defending him against that claim (US Bankruptcy Court 10-17952). According to the Seattle Times, 182 investors received that letter. Investors should not agree to make any payment until they have consulted with a professional who can explain their rights.
According to investor attorney, Robert S. Banks, Meridian investors may have defenses in response to the Meridian trustee’s demands. Some of the available defenses include:
Statute of Limitations. The claims may be time barred by the applicable statute of limitations. The statutes can be complicated, but under the federal Fraudulent Transfer Act, the trustee can only avoid a transfer that “was made or incurred on or within 2 years before the date of the filing of the [bankruptcy] petition.” The Meridian petition was filed in July, 2010. Under Washington’s Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act, which may also apply, the claims against investors must be brought “within four years after the transfer was made or the obligation was incurred or, if later, within one year after the transfer or obligation was or could reasonably have been discovered by the claimant.” Most of the payments to investors were made more than four years ago. Under the Washington law, then, the question is whether the trustee “could reasonably have discovered” fraud at Meridian Mortgage more than one year ago. Certain bankruptcy statutes may affect the application of the statutes of limitation.
Pre-Ponzi Scheme Payments. The fraudulent transfer laws only apply to transfers made to investors if the company is acting as a Ponzi scheme. Unless the trustee can prove that payments to you were made while Meridian was operating as a Ponzi scheme, your payments are not subject to any fraudulent transfer claims.
Good Faith Defense. Additionally, many Meridian investors also are entitled to consider and present the “good faith defense,” which is recognized by Washington law, and says that if an investor acted in good faith and exchanged reasonably equivalent value for their investment and return, they are not subject to the trustee’s clawback.
Banks stressed that no investors should rely on this short article to fully inform them of their rights on a complicated legal matter. The defenses will depend on an investor’s individual circumstances. Banks Law Office, with help from Washington bankruptcy counsel, is speaking with investors facing claims by the Meridian trustee
For nearly thirty years, the Banks Law Office PC has developed a focused practice in financial litigation, winning awards and settlements in the tens of millions of dollars against major Wall Street firms, small brokerages, investment advisors, financial planners, and others. Our clients have included judges, NBA basketball players, construction workers, credit unions, retirement plans, securities regulatory agencies, and large investor groups. We have a single mission for every client: getting their money back. Contact us now for a free confidential evaluation at 1-800-647-8130.
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