Hagens Berman and Stoll Berne Announce $234.6 Million Settlement of Aequitas Class Action

Hagens Berman and Stoll Berne Announce $234.6 Million Settlement of Aequitas Class Action

Portland, Ore. – Settlements totaling $234.6 million have been reached on behalf of approximately 1,600 investors in a proposed class action against various third parties alleged to have participated in or materially aided sales of securities by the now-defunct Aequitas companies of Lake Oswego, Oregon. It is believed to be the largest settlement of a securities lawsuit in Oregon history.

Lead counsel for the investors are Steve Berman of Hagens Berman in Seattle and Keith Ketterling and Tim DeJong of Stoll Berne in Portland. The settlements are subject to approval by the U.S. District Court in Portland.

The class-action lawsuit asserts that the Aequitas companies operated a Ponzi scheme from 2010 until finally collapsing and being shut down by the SEC in March 2016. The proposed class-action lawsuit, which was initiated in 2016 in Oregon Federal District Court, seeks to recover investor losses from third parties who allegedly participated or materially aided in the sale of Aequitas securities. Aequitas sold hundreds of millions of dollars of securities and perpetuated the scheme for years, despite generating no profits, being dependent on new investor money, having no prospects for increasing revenues and being insolvent.

Defendants are the accounting firms Deloitte & Touche and EisnerAmper; law firms Sidley Austin and Tonkon Torp; TD Ameritrade; Integrity Bank & Trust of Colorado; and Duff & Phelps. Hagens Berman and Stoll Berne, on behalf of investors in Aequitas, sued the defendants as participants or material aiders under the Oregon Securities Law.

The estimated total gross recovery for the investors in the class action, including the pending settlements and estimated distributions from the court-appointed Receiver for Aequitas, is $298.6 to $311.6 million. The class investors’ estimated total out-of-pocket losses are $263.8 million. Class counsel will apply to the court for attorney fees and reimbursement of litigation expenses, to be paid from the settlement funds.

“Defendants vigorously litigated this case, and our teams argued against many motions and reviewed millions of documents in order to achieve this excellent result for our class members,” said Steve Berman of Hagens Berman.

“This settlement is a testament to our strong state securities laws and our tenacity in fighting for the investors for three years,” said Keith Ketterling of Stoll Berne. “We were prepared to take the case to trial, if necessary, but this settlement is a pretty extraordinary result that provides investors a substantial recovery without years of additional delay and risk.”

The case is captioned Ciuffitelli et al. v. Deloitte & Touche LLP, et al., No. 3:16-cv-00580-AC (U.S. District Court, Portland, Oregon).

# # #

About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman is a national law firm representing investors, whistleblowers, workers and consumers in complex litigation. More about the firm and its successes is located at hbsslaw.com. For the latest news visit our newsroom or follow us on Twitter at @classactionlaw


Media Contact
Ashley Klann
[email protected]

Hagens Berman purchases advertisements on search engines, social media sites and other websites. Transmission of the information contained or available through this website is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. If you seek legal advice or representation by Hagens Berman, you must first enter a formal agreement. All information contained in any transmission is confidential and Hagens Berman agrees to protect information against unauthorized use, publication or disclosure. This site is regulated by the Washington Rules of Professional Conduct.