Hagens Berman Files Class Action Over Oppenheimer Champion Income Fund


SEATTLE - Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP ("Hagens Berman") filed a class-action lawsuit in the United States District Court of Colorado against Oppenheimer Funds on behalf of investors. The suit, captioned Ron Jansen v. Oppenheimer Funds, Inc., filed in U.S. District Court of Colorado, is on behalf of two classes of shareholders, one under state law claiming breach of contract and secondly all fund purchasers during the outlined period of Nov. 1, 2006 to Dec. 31, 2008. The suit claims Oppenheimer, which runs the Oppenheimer Champion Income Fund ("The Fund"), misled investors about the Fund's investment style and risky investments resulting in an 82 percent collapse of the Fund's value. The lawsuit identifies the following funds as affected: A Shares (OPCHX), B Shares (OCHBX), C Shares (OCHCX), N Shares (OCHNX) and Y Shares (OCHYX).

The lawsuit alleges defendants marketed and sold the fund as a conservative high-income fund, portraying it as diversified and higher yielding. Plaintiff's claim fund managers failed to disclose the true risk of the fund, which took gambles on mortgage-backed securities and illiquid derivatives that ultimately led to the fund's collapse.

If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no later than April 25, 2009. If you wish to consider joining this action as lead plaintiff, discuss this action or have any questions concerning this notice or your rights or interests, please contact plaintiff's counsel, Reed Kathrein of Hagens Berman at 510/725-3000 or via e-mail oppenheimer@hbsslaw.com.

You can view a copy of the complaint as filed or join this class action online. Any member of the purported class may move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff through counsel of their choice, or may choose to do nothing and remain an absent class member. Although your ability to share in any recovery is not affected by the decision whether or not to seek appointment as a lead plaintiff, lead plaintiffs make important decisions that could affect the overall recovery for class members, including decisions concerning settlement. The securities laws require the Court to consider the class member(s) with the largest financial interest as presumptively the most adequate lead plaintiff(s).

Beginning in July 2008, shares declined as did other high-yield funds as the credit crunch exposed the volatility and collapse of mortgage-related investments. The Champion Fund continued to fall further as Lehman Brothers Holdings and other institutions collapsed.

Overall, the Fund experienced an 82 percent drop. Compared to other high-yield funds that averaged a drop of 32 percent in 2008, The Champion Fund experienced an almost $2 billion drop in assets in 15 months.

The complaint sites several misleading representations of the fund from defendants including, 'In selecting securities for the Fund, the overall strategy is to build a broadly diversified portfolio to help moderate the special risks of investing in high-yield debt instruments.' Plaintiffs claim the fund collapsed because fund managers targeted highly risky derivatives in an effort to 'pump returns.'

Hagens Berman seeks to represent two classes of shareholders, one under state law claiming breach of contract and secondly all fund purchasers during the outlined period. The lawsuit represents investors who purchased or held shares between Nov. 1, 2006 and Dec. 31, 2008.

The suit contends Oppenheimer violated state laws when it changed the fund's fundamental policies, a move requiring the vote of a majority of the fund's outstanding voting securities. The fund's policy says it cannot invest 25 percent or more of its total assets in one industry. The suit claims in late 2006, the fund concentrated more than 25 percent of its total assets in high-risk mortgage backed securities and failed to obtain approval from a majority of shareholders.

Hagens Berman is nationally recognized for its securities practice. The firm currently represents investors and shareholders in a lawsuit against Charles Schwab for the mismanagement of its YieldPlus fund, which resulted in sharp declines in the fund's value.

Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, a law firm with offices in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Phoenix and New York, is active in major litigations pending in federal and state courts throughout the United States and has taken a leading role in many important actions on behalf of defrauded investors, consumers, and companies, as well as victims of human rights violations. The Hagens Berman website has more information about the firm.

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09/30/11: Case Settled

On June 1, 2011, the Honorable John L. Kane of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado granted preliminary approval to a settlement in the amount of $52.5 million in the class action In re Oppenheimer Champion Fund Securities Fraud Class Actions, No. 09-cv-525-JLK-KMT.