Burch & Cracchiolo Senior Litigator, Ed Fleming, recovered over $15 million from broker-dealers and other professionals involved in various Ponzi schemes and other fraudulent transactions over the past ten years. Most recently, Ed together with B&C lawyers Jake Curtis, Melissa Iyer Julian and Randall Wilkins, represented a receiver appointed by the Maricopa County Superior Court to recover funds for the victims of Owen Vilan in a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of over $25 million. Vilan is currently serving 21 years in prison for his crimes.
Vilan was convicted of leading a ring of swindlers in soliciting over 250 individuals to invest in his company, Saguaro Investments, also known as Vilan Enterprises from 2004-2007. Vilan, who was not licensed to sell securities, invested little of the money and spent much of it on himself, his family and associates. The investors were primarily wage earners, many of whom borrowed money, mortgaged their homes or cashed out savings or pensions to invest with Vilan who promised returns of 24-48%.
Vilan did invest approximately $7 million with an online broker-dealer which provided a resource for potential recovery. Burch &Cracchiolo filed a lawsuit against a broker-dealer alleging violations of Arizona’s Control Person statute, negligence and aiding and abetting securities fraud. The case settled for $2.25 million after 2 years of litigation.
Fleming has filed numerous suits on behalf of receivers and investors in similar cases recovering over $15 million in the process. “It is a travesty to see hard-working people swindled out of their savings,” said Fleming. “While there is no sure way to recover all of their losses, it is good to make those who facilitated the fraud pay. I hope that these sorts of cases encourage professionals and others who facilitate investments to be diligent in their oversight and will help people see that if someone promises something that seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
Link to media coverage of the Vilan scandal: