Some investors irked on handling of Marin County Ponzi claims

A $436.5 million portfolio sale of North Bay real estate involved in a Novato investment company’s sizable Ponzi scheme is expected to wrap around the end of this year.

San Francisco-based real estate investment company Hamilton Zanze & Associates in early November was confirmed as the buyer of five dozen multifamily and commercial properties in Marin and Sonoma counties that were part of the late Ken Casey’s Professional Financial Investors, or PFI, and Professional Investors Security Fund.

A virtual court hearing before Judge Hannah Blumenstiel is set for Thursday to hash out fees for professionals involved in the process so far, work through how investor claims will be handled and review proposed additional sales of individual real estate properties.

Casey’s death in May 2020 led to private and Securities & Exchange Commission audits that found about $330 million had been skimmed from around 1,300 investors going back as far as the beginning of 2007. The businesses were forced in Chapter 11 reorganization in mid-2020.

Of the investors, 566 were deemed “net winners” of the Ponzi scheme under court rules, with aggregate net “winnings” of $41.2 million, according to an analysis by FTI Consulting, a restructuring and forensics firm hired to analyze claims and handle the selling off of assets.

“In many cases, these investments provided Investors with a stream of income purporting to be interest payments but which in reality were payments from…

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