New Jersey Lawyer Recovers $2.1 Million for Fraud Victims
Investors Prevail in Class Action Lawsuit Against New Jersey Broker
Morristown, N.J. — A New Jersey judge has given final approval to a total of $2.1 million in class action settlements obtained by New Jersey attorney G. Martin Meyers for some 25 investors. The investors were the victims of Ravi V. Kothare (KO-TARRY), a Registered Investment Advisor, CPA, and tax attorney who used his expertise in financial matters to gain almost total control over his clients’ savings and retirement funds.
The case has had headline-making twists and turns since its beginning last year. In March of 2007, a month after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) began investigating him for fraud and misappropriation, Kothare took his own life in the parking lot of a New Jersey shopping center. His body was found lying next to his Mercedes with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. But he left no trace of the funds he had stolen from investors.
Mr. Meyers, a Denville, New Jersey attorney with a long record of substantial recoveries for defrauded investors, obtained the settlements from TD Ameritrade, the brokerage company where the investors’ accounts were maintained, and from a group of accounting and law firms affiliated with Kothare during the time his fraudulent schemes were perpetrated.
When one of Kothare’s own business ventures went sour, Kothare tried to shore it up by systematically misappropriating his clients’ funds, effectively stealing more than $5 million of their money over a period of some four years. Kothare used his wide expertise in financial matters to induce many of his clients to provide him with check-writing authority, and to disguise his misappropriations with trumped up financial statements.
When a few of the investors began to sense they had been taken, they contacted the SEC, which immediately froze about $35 million in funds managed by Kothare.
Mr. Meyers said that the investors who will share the $2.1 million in settlements live in eight different states — New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and New Hampshire.
According to Mr. Meyers, Kothare’s victims will receive individual recoveries ranging from $2,500 to more than $500,000, depending on the size of their losses. “This is not one of those class action cases where the victims receive only a few pennies on the dollar. The recoveries represent a substantial portion of each investor’s losses, and efforts to recover additional funds are ongoing,” he said.
Superior Court Judge Stephen F. Smith, Jr. also approved an incentive award to one of the class representatives, a Kothare victim who assisted Meyers in bringing the claims against TD Ameritrade and the other settling defendants to a successful conclusion. Judge Smith also awarded attorney’s fees to Meyers. At Mr. Meyers’ request, those fees were limited to 22.5 percent of the amount recovered, a figure far below the typical fee award of 33.3 percent in similar cases.
Explaining why he limited his own fee, Mr. Meyers said, “This was a case where a number of investors lost almost their entire life savings. I felt it was necessary and appropriate to give them an opportunity to recover as great a portion as was reasonably possible.”
G. Martin Meyers is certified as a Civil Trial Attorney by the Supreme Court of New Jersey. Martindale-Hubbell, the nation’s oldest and most respected attorney rating entity, has awarded Mr. Meyers its highest rating.
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