A California woman who lost her life savings in a real estate investment scam offered by an insurance agent has been awarded more than $15 million in her lawsuit against MetLife and two subsidiaries. Christine Ramirez filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court. The jury found the companies and a former MetLife partner were guilty of both deceit and securities violations. The Defendant was also found to be negligent and guilty of financial elder abuse. Ms. Ramirez, who was 75 years old, was the first of 98 people who have filed suits after being cheated in a $200 million real estate fund scheme run by convicted felon Bruce Friedman, who died in a French jail while waiting to be returned to the U.S. to face federal criminal charges.
Jurors found that MetLife allowed Tony Russon, a former managing partner, to promote Friedman’s fund during insurance sales meetings. The Plaintiff, a retired mortgage processor, had put $280,000 into Friedman’s Diversified Lending Group (DLG) that guaranteed 12 percent returns. According to federal authorities, DLG was a classic Ponzi scheme, with some early investors being repaid, but most ending up with nothing. Friedman was enjoying a lavish lifestyle and then left for Europe when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued him. It appears that MetLife was aware that the branch office run by Tony Russon was not following MetLife’s own policies and procedures, and failed to act to correct this dangerous behavior. As a result, others were victimized by this investment fraud.
The jury awarded nearly $240,000 in compensatory damages. In addition, punitive damages were awarded as follows: $10 million against MetLife Inc., $2.5 million against New England Securities; $2.5 million against New England Life Insurance Co.; and $330,000 against Russon. Thomas Foley, a very good lawyer, represented the plaintiff in this case.
Source: Brian Melley at Associated Press
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.