Lax & Neville Successfully Collects over $1.2 Million for Customer of John Thomas Financial and Anastasios Belesis
On August 5, 2014, following an arbitration hearing before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), Lax & Neville won an award of $919,732 on behalf of Dr. Eubulus J. Kerr against John Thomas Financial, Anastasios Belesis, George Belesis, and Joseph Castellano. The award from FINRA, which included $605,000 in compensatory damages “for churning and failure to supervise,” also included $300,000 in punitive damages against John Thomas Financial, Anastasios Belesis, and George Belesis, with interest to run. When payment of the award was not made in accordance with the FINRA Rule 12904, Lax & Neville moved to confirm the award in October 2014.
Anastasios Belesis, George Belesis, and Joseph Castellano moved to vacate the award in March 2015. The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted Dr. Kerr’s motion to confirm the FINRA arbitration award and denied the motions to vacate filed by Anastasios Belesis, George Belesis, and Joseph Castellano on July 16, 2015, finding that the FINRA “arbitration panel’s award of punitive damages was proper under the relevant law.”
When the award still remained unpaid, Lax & Neville began pursuing post-judgment discovery of Anastasios Belesis’ assets. As Lax & Neville gathered bank records, financial statements, deposition testimony and documents regarding millions of dollars in real estate, it became clear that Mr. Belesis had transferred considerable assets to his wife and various corporations as the investigation of and disputes with John Thomas were ongoing. Lax & Neville then moved to set aside these transfers as fraudulent conveyances on October 11, 2016. Lax & Neville additionally sought a restraining order prohibiting the transfer of any of Anastasios Belesis’ other assets.
The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted the restraining order on October 17, 2016 and, when Anastasios Belesis and his wife failed to appear for the hearing on the fraudulent transfers, they were held in contempt of court. Not long thereafter, Dr. Kerr received the full amount of the award and interest thereupon.
Lax & Neville additionally moved for attorneys’ fees in light of the staggering amount of work that had been required to secure payment from Anastasios Belesis. On May 1, 2017, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York entered a judgment for over $200,000 in attorneys’ fees and warned Anastasios Belesis that he would be in contempt of court if he did not promptly pay the award. In the end, despite what the court described as Anastasios Belesis’ “history of repeatedly evading payment,” Lax & Neville recovered over $1.2 million, including interest and attorneys’ fees, on behalf of Dr. Kerr.
Our team at Lax & Neville LLP has extensive experience in successfully prosecuting claims on behalf of individuals who have suffered losses as a result of investment and securities fraud, and for claims of compensation. If you are a victim of fraud, please contact Lax & Neville LLP today at (212) 696-1999 to schedule a consultation.