December 15, 2009
Federal court certifies securities class action in case against Charles Schwab & Co.
CHARLESTON, S.C.- A federal court has certified a class action lawsuit brought by Ponzi scheme victims alleging that Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. is liable for violations of the South Carolina Uniform Securities Act of 2005. The class action arises out of an alleged Ponzi scheme orchestrated by former Charleston Southern University economics professor, Al Parish. Parish has been ordered to pay victims $66 million in restitution and is currently serving a twenty-four year sentence in the Federal Correctional Complex in Butner, N.C. where Bernie Madoff is also imprisoned.
The class, as certified, includes all those who held IRA and other investment accounts with Schwab and invested in any Parish Investment Vehicle through the brokerage and custodial services provided by Schwab. Class claims are based on Schwab's alleged role as a broker-dealer in materially aiding the sale of securities and as a control person of those liable under the Act. At least 53 individuals residing in 13 states are believed to be class members.
"Proceeding as a class allows us to prosecute this case more efficiently before a single jury rather than multiple arbitration panels across the country," stated Motley Rice attorney Badge Humphries, who represents the plaintiffs. "It also eliminates the possibility of conflicting rulings on key issues, such as the elements of proof for investors' claims which the court has now resolved in plaintiffs' favor," he further explained.
Because of a previous ruling limiting discovery in the case to class-certification issues, the order effectively reopens the discovery process, broadening its scope to all facts relevant to the case's merits. The order also resolved, in the plaintiffs' favor, a key area of disagreement between the parties as to the elements of proof for certain claims.
"This is a very significant event and a big step forward in efforts to obtain money for those Charles Schwab clients who were victims of Parish Economics," commented Jim Griffin of the Law Office of James Mixon Griffin, who also represents the plaintiffs.
The class certification order appoints Humphries and Griffin as class counsel along with William Narwold of Motley Rice LLC and Dick Harpootlian of Richard A. Harpootlian P.A.
About Motley Rice LLC
Motley Rice LLC represents individuals, multiemployer and public pension funds and other institutional investors in securities fraud class actions. The firm also conducts shareholder rights campaigns and brings direct and derivative actions on behalf of its clients to improve corporate governance, ensure fairness in mergers and recover damages for fiduciaries' wrongdoing. Motley Rice attorneys have gained global recognition for their work on behalf of asbestos victims, the State Attorneys General in tobacco litigation and the 9/11 families in lawsuits against terrorists' financiers.
For more information on Motley Rice LLC, read more about the firm's securities fraud practice or the Charles Schwab class action, contact co-founding member attorney Joseph F. Rice (SC) at 1-800-768-4026.