“Ponzi” Scheme

TVA helped reduce a real estate investor’s more than $1 million state court liability, created when the investor’s partner’s forged his signature on loan documents, by more than 50%. The investor’s partner then filed bankruptcy, listing no assets and millions in claims, almost all from other “friends” whom he had defrauded in a brazen Ponzi scheme. TVA successfully litigated a fraud, embezzlement and non-dischargeability action in Bankruptcy Court and obtained a $1 million judgment, plus attorneys’ fees and costs. TVA also successfully defended the investor against his partner’s usury claim in State court, bringing three years of litigation to a successful conclusion. The partner was eventually charged with seven felony counts, including fraud, embezzlement and grand larceny in Los Angeles County, on the basis of admissions he made in depositions and at trial.

Bad Faith Bankruptcy

A homeowner sued a contractor in Orange County Superior Court for failing to complete a major remodel, damaging her home and falsely representing that he held a valid contractor’s license. On the eve of trial, the contractor filed for bankruptcy protection and sought to discharge the homeowner’s claim. Mr. Vogele brought a successful motion to dismiss the bankruptcy case, forcing the contractor back into the state court action. The other defendant, the unlicensed contractor’s family business, then filed a bankruptcy case in Fresno in an attempt to prevent the trial from resuming in Orange County.

Mr. Vogele filed and won a motion for relief from the automatic bankruptcy stay, removing all obstacles to resumption of the state court action. Once all defendants were forced back into state court without protection from their bad-faith bankruptcy filings, a settlement was quickly reached without the need for a lengthy and costly trial.