The receiver in the $400 million Ponzi scheme case involving former restaurateur Gina Champion-Cain has been granted permission by a federal judge to go after a title insurance company it believes was complicit in defrauding investors.
The decision last month by U.S. District Court Judge Larry Burns comes 1 1/2 years after receiver Krista Freitag first requested permission to sue Chicago Title. In a draft complaint she wrote at the time, Freitag asserted that the company was “reckless in preventing its employees from using the instrumentalities of its business to facilitate and engage in brazen acts of fraud.”
While Champion-Cain is already serving time in federal prison after pleading guilty last year to criminal fraud and conspiracy charges, the original civil case dating back to August of 2019 remains active as the receiver continues to sort through the assets and debts of Champion-Cain’s former companies, ANI Development and American National Investments.
The former high-profile businesswoman admitted to having orchestrated a years-long liquor license-lending scheme in which she enticed investors who thought they were making high-interest loans to license applicants unable to pay upfront a required sum of money while their applications were pending before the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
The bulk of the funds she received from investors, however, was instead funneled to companies she controlled, in some instances used to prop up Champion-Cain’s…