Monday, January 4, 2010

White Collar: Property Owners Sue Credit Suisse for Fraud

Owners of property at four luxury ski and/or golf resorts have sued Credit Suisse for $24 billion. The class action civil suit alleges that Credit Suisse engaged in conspiracy, wire and mail fraud, racketeering, and money laundering. The complaint alleges that Credit Suisse engaged in a predatory loan scheme designed to load the developments with so much debt that it could foreclose on the assets.

The lawsuit involves property at the following four resorts: Ginn Sur Mer in the Bahamas, Lake Las Vegas in Nevada, Tamarack Resort in Idaho, and Yellowstone Club in Montana. The complaint alleges that Credit Suisse concocted a scheme to artificially inflate the resorts' values to make large loans and charge exorbitant loan fees. Moreover, the plaintiffs allege that the bank knew that the resorts would not be able to perform under the loans. Thus, the complaint alleges that the entire plan amounted to nothing more than an elaborate scheme to bleed money from buyers through loans and then foreclose on those buyers when they became unable to keep up with the loan payments.

The civil case may have developed from the bankruptcy proceeding of the Yellowstone resort. In that case U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Ralph Kirscher said that Credit Suisse had devised a "predatory" loan scheme.

Credit Suisse in the last several years has become very active in financing upscale resorts, which have fallen into bankruptcy. The only property named in the class action suit not in bankruptcy is Ginn Sur Mer.

The plaintiffs filed the action in the United States District Court for the District of Idaho.

For more information about the suit, please see The Wall Street Journal, January 4, 2010,

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