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Superintendent of Insurance of v. Bankers Life and Casualty Co.

decided: July 22, 1970.


Lumbard, Chief Judge, Hays, Circuit Judge, and Blumenfeld, District Judge.*fn* Hays, Circuit Judge (dissenting).

Author: Blumenfeld

BLUMENFELD, District Judge:

Appellant Superintendent of Insurance of the State of New York, as Liquidator of Manhattan Casualty Company (Manhattan), commenced this action in 1963 alleging violations by ten defendants of § 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933. On September 10, 1968, defendants Bankers Life and Casualty Company (Bankers Life), Belgian American Bank & Trust Company (Belgian Trust), and Belgian American Banking Corporation (Belgian Banking) moved to dismiss the action before the late Judge Herlands. On October 1, 1968, defendants Irving Trust Company (Irving), Garvin, Bantel & Company (Garvin, Bantel), and George K. Garvin made similar motions before Judge Ryan. On June 4, 1969, Judge Herlands entered judgment dismissing the action as to Bankers Life, Belgian Trust, and Belgian Banking. His thorough and considered decision granting the motions of these defendants is set out at 300 F. Supp. 1083 (S.D.N.Y.1969). Shortly thereafter, on June 17, 1969, Judge Ryan, concurring in the reasoning of Judge Herlands' opinion, entered judgment dismissing the action as to Irving, Garvin, Bantel, and George K. Garvin. It is from these judgments that the Superintendent appeals. We affirm.

I. Facts

Manhattan was a casualty insurance company wholly owned by defendant Bankers Life and operated by it as a subsidiary. In January 1962 two individuals, defendants Standish T. Bourne and James F. Begole, both now deceased, and not involved in this appeal, agreed to purchase all the stock of Manhattan. On January 19, 1962, a contract was executed between Begole as purchaser and Bankers Life as seller, providing for the sale of the Manhattan stock for $5,000,000 on January 24, 1962. On that day, Begole, John F. Sweeny*fn1 and C. Joseph Gunter, an officer of Irving, went to Manhattan's office for the closing. Pursuant to plans made in advance of the closing, Gunter tendered an Irving check for $5,000,000 to an officer of Bankers Life and, in exchange, all of the shares of Manhattan stock were given to Begole.

This transaction between Bankers Life and Begole still remains unchallenged because neither the former, as seller, nor the latter, as buyer, has brought any action seeking damages or any relief, one against the other. In this lawsuit our attention has been shifted away from that conventional purchase and sale of the Manhattan stock to the legerdemain employed by the buyer to obtain the $5,000,000 with which to pay for the stock.*fn2

Following the closing, but on the same day, United States Government securities (Treasury bonds) from Manhattan's portfolio were sold*fn3 and the proceeds, amounting to $4,854,552.67, plus enough cash to bring the total to $5,000,000, were credited to an account in the name of Manhattan at Irving, and the $5,000,000 Irving check was then charged against this account. As a result of this first series of transactions, Bankers Life had received $5,000,000 in exchange for the Manhattan stock, Begole and Bourne owned the stock, and Manhattan's assets, having been used to purchase the Manhattan stock, had consequently been reduced by $5,000,000.

In order to conceal the depletion of Manhattan's assets,*fn4 the individuals now in control of Manhattan had a neatly prepared ruse ready at hand. At Garvin's request, Irving issued a second check for $5,000,000 payable to Belgian Trust. Sweeny, president of Manhattan, used this check to buy a $5,000,000 six-months' certificate of deposit from Belgian Trust payable to Manhattan. That certificate was then endorsed by Sweeny as president of Manhattan to New England Note Corporation (New England) and delivered to Bourne, president of New England. Bourne then endorsed and delivered it to Belgian Banking as collateral for a six-months' $5,000,000 loan from Belgian Banking to New England. The proceeds of this loan were then delivered to Irving to cover its $5,000,000 check drawn to the order of Belgian Trust.

To recapitulate, there were two sets of telescoped transactions -- all completed on the same day:

A. All of Manhattan's shares were purchased from Bankers Life for $5,000,000, borrowed from Irving. After thus gaining control of Manhattan, the purchaser sold government bonds out of Manhattan's portfolio and used the proceeds to pay off the loan from Irving.

B. To conceal the above depletion of Manhattan's assets, the new owners of Manhattan and those they put in control arranged for a second loan from Irving for $5,000,000. With this they bought a $5,000,000 certificate of deposit from Belgian Trust in the name of Manhattan, and assigned that to New England (Bourne). New England endorsed it to Belgian Banking as security for a $5,000,000 loan to New England. The proceeds were then used to repay Irving's second loan. However, Manhattan's books reflected only the sale of its government bonds and the purchase of the certificate of deposit. Manhattan's records did not show (1) that the proceeds of the sale of these bonds were used by Begole to pay for his purchase of Manhattan's shares or (2) that the certificate of deposit had been assigned to New England and by it pledged to Belgian Banking.

The loans and certificates outlined in B. were twice renewed. The first renewal was in July 1962. In January 1963, when Belgian Banking refused to renew its loan to New England a similar round robin set of transactions was effected by substituting Marine Midland Trust Company to perform Belgian Banking's role. In April 1963 the New York Insurance Department discovered the inadequacy in Manhattan's assets and placed the company in liquidation.

II. Appellant's Claims

The complaint alleges that the foregoing related transactions constituted one or more violations of § 17(a) of the 1933 Act, 15 U.S.C. § 77q(a).*fn5 The district court properly considered as well the applicability to the pleaded facts of § 10(b) of the 1934 Act, 15 U.S.C. § 78j(b)*fn6 and of S.E.C. Rule 10b-5*fn7 promulgated thereunder. See Hoover v. Allen, 241 F. Supp. 213, 226 n. 7 (S.D.N.Y.1965). On appeal, appellant claims the pleaded facts, as well as those otherwise contained in the record, establish his right to recover under one or both of these sections for fraud perpetrated (1) in connection with the purchase and sale of the Manhattan stock, (2) in connection with the sale of Treasury bonds from ...

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