The bankruptcy trustee who is overseeing Tom Girardi’s law firm is now attempting to retrieve millions of dollars, which she alleges Tom fraudulently moved to over 100 people and businesses.
Since last month, Elissa Miller, the chapter 7 trustee, has filed over a hundred lawsuits claiming Tom and the firm transferred the money in order to dodge their creditors. Elissa alleges Erika Jayne from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills was one of the people who was transferred funds.
Elissa claims some of the money was for client funds, which Tom and his firm allegedly treated like their personal piggy bank, said the outlet. In November, a Chicago judge said Tom was “running a Ponzi scheme with client money.”
Elissa sued two different Amex subsidiaries, claiming the firm transferred over 50 million dollars to them between December 2013 to November 2020 — a month before Girardi Keese faced the lawsuit for allegedly stealing clients’ money.
Elissa alleged at least $9 million from these payments came from “purchases that solely benefitted Thomas, Erika, and their family members and friends,” and they didn’t benefit Girardi Keese.
Elissa sued Erika, alleging the star was transferred $97,200 from Girardi Keese between 2015 and 2018, though she wasn’t employed there.
The trustee said the firm was “nothing more than an illicit and felonious business operated to line the rather large pockets of Thomas, his wife, and numerous cohorts.”
In November, a Chicago federal judge said Tom admitted to not paying four victims’ families of the Lion Air crash of 2018 based on a sealed filing in December 2020. The families were reportedly owed settlement funds totaling $2 million.
Elissa filed lawsuits against not only Erika but also some of the firm’s former employees, country clubs, private aircraft vendors, and more in order to recover funds.
She sued Tom’s son-in-law David Lira, who was also an attorney at Girardi Keese, in an attempt to allegedly recoup $1.3 million from fraudulent transfers. The trustee also sued the company overseeing the Rose Bowl stadium to retrieve $83,701, which Tom and others purportedly spent on event tickets at the stadium.
Per court documents obtained via Radar, Elissa alleged Tom made payments to American Express when he was aware he owed creditors.
“During a time when Girardi Keese was in a precarious financial state, and was not paying its creditors, Girardi Keese began a systematic process of draining the available cash, oftentimes consisting of stolen client trust funds, by, among other things, making distributions to certain preferred creditors or third parties from funds of Girardi Keese’s estate,” said the lawsuit.
“A principal manner in which the fraud and conspiracy of Thomas and Girardi Keese was able to operate and flourish was by obtaining numerous credit cards from Defendants, often times in the names of employees and non-employees, for personal use by Girardi Keese employees, Thomas, his friends, family, and associates. Far and away, the largest single credit card company used by Thomas and Girardi Keese was AMEX,” continued the suit.
Elissa claimed that Erika, her son, and several of Tom’s employees received multiple credit cards. In the period of seven years before the bankruptcy, the firm allegedly made 767 payments to American Express, which totaled $50 million.
“[With] respect to the Fraudulent Transfers, no less than the amount of $9,079,528 was on account of purchases that solely benefitted Thomas, Erika, and their family members and friends, and had no relation to the operation of, and did not benefit, Girardi Keese,” alleged the court docs.
The lawsuit is reportedly demanding American Express return the funds it allegedly received from Tom. The recovered money would purportedly be used to repay the firm’s creditors.
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