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Loeb & Loeb Unravels Fraudulent Transfers and Wins Turnover Motion for Universitas Education, LLC

In the latest victory in its efforts to collect on a $30.2 million judgment for its client, Universitas Education, LLC, Loeb & Loeb LLP successfully moved a federal court to order the turnover of insurance proceeds payable for damage to a vacation home that was improperly purchased with trusts funds meant for Loeb’s client.

The victory is part of a long-running dispute between Universitas and the Charter Oak Trust Welfare Benefit Plan, which was supposed to pay about $30 million to Universitas in May 2009. The trust, acting through its corporate trustee Nova Group, Inc., denied Universitas’ claim to any part of the trust funds, whereupon Universitas (represented by Loeb) brought a successful arbitration action against Nova Group and obtained a $26.5 million award in January 2011.

Following extensive motion practice in which Nova Group challenged the arbitration award, the Honorable Laura Taylor Swain, of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, upheld the award in June 2012 and granted Universitas an additional $3.6 million in pre-judgment interest, bringing the total judgment to about $30.2 million.

Following the entry of judgment, Nova Group continued to refuse to pay anything to Universitas, requiring Loeb & Loeb to embark on extensive post-judgment discovery and collection efforts on behalf of its client.

Judge Swain’s latest decision, issued on November 20, 2013, found that at a bench trial in May 2013, Universitas had proven by clear and convincing evidence that the individual who controlled Nova and the Trust orchestrated an elaborate and fraudulent series of money transfers that involved taking millions of dollars from Nova and the Charter Oak Trust and, after transferring the money through numerous corporate intermediaries, using part of it to purchase an oceanfront vacation home in South Kingstown, R.I.

Since the property was severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy, the court found that property insurance proceeds payable for the damage should be turned over to Universitas.

Loeb & Loeb litigation partner Paula K. Colbath served as Universitas’ lead trial counsel. Bryan Reyhani of Reyhani Nemirovsky LLP served as co-counsel.

The November 20 decision followed Judge Swain’s decisions of September 30, 2013, in which she sanctioned Nova Group and two of its former attorneys for filing meritless motions following the entry of judgment in June 2012. The New York Law Journal reported on these sanctions decisions on the front page of its October 17th issue.