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In re Plotkin v. Pomona Valley Imports, Inc.

United States Bankruptcy Appellate Panel of the Ninth Circuit
199 B.R. 709 (1996)


Stanley Cohen (debtor) operated a Ponzi scheme involving luxury cars. Cohen would convince buyers that he could acquire luxury cars for substantially less than market value. A group of buyers would pay Cohen at the reduced price, and Cohen then purchased as many cars as he could with the accumulated money at full retail price. Cohen paid the dealers with checks that were honored by Cohen’s bank and had the dealers deliver the cars to the individuals he designated. The scheme always left several unlucky buyers without cars, and eventually it collapsed. In a subsequent bankruptcy proceeding, the bankruptcy trustee sued the dealers, seeking to avoid 17 transactions as fraudulent transfers. The trustee argued that Cohen’s buyers each received a fraudulent transfer in the amount of the difference between Cohen’s phony price and the car’s true retail price. The trustee filed one proceeding for seven transactions under § 548 of the bankruptcy code, and filed a separate proceeding for the other 10 transfers under California’s Uniform Fraudulent Transfers Act (UFTA). The dealers moved for summary judgment. The bankruptcy court granted the dealers’ motions, holding that the transfers were not fraudulent because the transfers were good-faith exchanges for fair value.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Klein, J.)

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