Racketeering and Consumer Fraud

ALF_LOGO_SMThe U.S. and state racketeering laws (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act-“R.I.C.O.” for short) were enacted to fight organized crime in the 1960’s.  The federal R.I.C.O. law became a pattern for many state laws.   Such laws expressly include civil remedies, essentially empowering civil attorneys as de-facto ‘attorney generals’ to enforce these laws against ‘organized’ crime conducted by individuals or organizations (including corporations). These cases are complex, and involve ‘predicate act’ violations of federal securities and commodities rules and regulations, state and federal criminal laws, and racketeering laws (which essentially are an umbrella claim for violations of basic criminal laws).  Avery Law Firm principal Jim Avery is a pioneer in applying civil racketeering laws  in Colorado courts.  Jim Avery handled the first case to successfully apply racketeering laws alleging a Ponzi scheme in a multitude of cases against Ft. Collins based Western Monetary Consultants in the 1980’s, obtaining compensatory and punitive damages.  There were hundreds of victims, mostly elderly who lost their retirement funds in leveraged precious metals investments that were oversold and not collateralized.

Faced with a deluge of lawsuits in Colorado, the company fled to California to continue its fraudulent enterprise, eventually seeking harbor in the bankruptcy courts. Jim Avery wasn’t deterred, and pursued William R.  (“Bill”) Kennedy, Jr. (the company President and perpetrator) in the U.S. District Courts (and U.S. Bankruptcy Court) in California, successfully obtaining a judgment of over $13 million.  Jim Avery then handed the case over to federal prosecutors which eventually landed Kennedy in federal prison for 16 years.

Jim Avery has also handled multiple cases against the bank that funded the investments, namely, Republic National Bank of New York (owned by Edmund Safra, then the world’s largest privately held bank originating in Switzerland).  The lawsuit was vigorously defended by a former U.S. Attorney from New York, and is probably one of the more complex and hard fought litigations ever waged in civil court.  The case culminated in a confidential settlement.

Jim Avery also successfully handled numerous cases involving the Denver penny stock market fraud and other types of ‘consumer’ fraud.  These cases generally involve seven figures in damages.

Like any complex litigation, the cost to prosecute these cases is high.  It is said that the courts are for the ‘wealthy’ but Jim Avery has accessed the courts for many elderly individuals who lost their life savings.  It is a passion that can be profitable only due to persistence and hard work, even battling judges who all too often side with big corporations or well-connected political types such as Bill Kennedy (a personal supporter of the the Nicaraguan Contras in President Ronald Reagan’s private war against the Sandinistas).

If you or a loved one has been the victim of large scale or significant consumer fraud, call Avery Law Firm now or complete the form on this page for a FREE CASE EVALUATION.

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