All Lynn Tilton wants for Christmas is a little lump of coal in the stocking of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The so-called Diva of Distressed Debt has tried again to persuade a judge that the SEC’s fraud case against her is full of holes telling the court the regulator “grossly overreached” when it charged her in 2015.
In post-trial briefs, Tilton repeated her testimony, telling Administrative Law Judge Carol Fox Foelak that her Patriarch Partners should have had wide latitude in judging the worth of her hard-to-value Zohar fund debt.
“An investment in Zohar Notes was really an investment in Ms. Tilton’s judgment,” Tilton’s lawyers wrote, adding that fund documents supported it.
The SEC charged Tilton and Patriarch of defrauding investors by hiding the weaker-than-disclosed state of a portfolio of $2.5 billion of distressed loans.
Tilton collected $200 million in fees while hiding the loans’ true value, the SEC alleged.
Tilton carried out the fraud, the SEC alleged, by using her own discretion to categorize performing-versus-nonperforming loans instead of using criteria in the loan documents.
Tilton’s legal team doesn’t dispute that she used her own discretion in managing the funds.
In fact, they argue, that was the point.
The two sides hashed it out in a three-week hearing in Manhattan federal court.
“Everyone knew, everyone saw,” Tilton said during her four days of testimony during the hearing, referring to how the funds’ performance could be determined through careful review of the funds’ statements and other supporting documents.
To some, Tilton easily outdueled the SEC’s legal eagles — but it is yet to be seen whether it was enough to gain a favorable court ruling.
After failing to prove fraud, the SEC’s case, argued Tilton’s lawyers, “was nothing more than a contract dispute outside the commission’s regulatory authority.”
The SEC is seeking disgorgement of the $200 million in allegedly bogus fees.
It also seeks to bar Tilton from the securities industry.
A copy of the SEC’s brief, which was also filed Friday, could not be obtained.
In addition to her investing acumen, Tilton is known on Wall Street for her sometimes flashy appearance.
In one instance, in 1998, she sent a Christmas card to clients with a photo of herself dressed as a dominatrix on the cover.
Lawyers for both Tilton and the SEC have until Jan. 13 to respond to each side’s brief.
Judge Foelak is expected to rule in early 2017.
Representatives for the SEC declined to comment.