Bank Says Millionaire is Dodging Judgment

     CONROE, Texas (CN) — A bank asked a Texas court for help enforcing a $2.7 million judgment against a man who owns a chain of businesses, a $1.3 million home, and newer Aston Martin and Mercedes cars worth $300,000, despite claims that he’s broke.
     Chinatrust Bank, of California, sued Steve Wu and his family trust and seven of Wu’s businesses, on Aug. 30 in Montgomery County Court.
     The bank claims Wu defaulted on a $2.85 million loan in 2009, and it obtained a $2.7 million judgment against him in February 2013. With post-judgment interest, Wu owes it $3.6 million, the bank says.
     The bank minces no words: “Steve Wu has made millions as a professional judgment debtor and con man,” it says in the complaint.
     “After racking up multimillion-dollar judgments in California, Wu continued with his fraudulent scheme by taking his act to Texas.” The bank says Wu hid his assets “by forming over twenty entities allegedly ‘owned’ by Wu’s associates, but controlled by Wu himself.”
     Chinatrust Bank found him “when it came across some business and real estate filings of his here in Texas,” the bank’s Houston attorney Alexander Chae said.
     According to the 21-page lawsuit, Wu claims to own “nothing” today, despite having a real estate and business portfolio that lists more than 15 entities, and declaring a net worth of $15.6 million when he applied for the $2.85 million loan from Chinatrust in 2007.
     The Wus live in a $1.3 million home in the Woodlands, on which they claim a homestead exemption, and two years ago he bought his wife an Aston Martin for more than $200,000, and a Mercedes for more than $100,000, the bank says.
     Wu “‘manage(s)’ various entities that collectively own real estate portfolios valued in the millions,” but claims he has no salary, and no right to take any money from the businesses, the bank says.
     Chinatrust says it’s all paper-shuffling: fraudulent transfers to dodge the court judgment.
     “Wu continues to manipulate his assets and pull strings on these business ventures while safely enjoying the flow of revenue through his wife and his parents’ trust in an attempt to avoid the millions of dollars in outstanding judgments against him,” the bank says in the complaint.
     For example, Wu sold his $2 million interest in Samantha Marketplace to his wife for only $500 in 2009, according to the complaint. He formed Samantha Fitness in 2013 — eight months after the bank obtained default judgment — and used it to buy real estate for a national fitness chain, but rather than develop the property for a fitness center, the bank says, Wu destroyed the structures on the property and broke his contract with the fitness chain.
     Chinatrust says Wu owes millions of dollars elsewhere, including to MGM Grand Hotel, which owns the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, and while filed a foreign judgment against Wu in Montgomery County in 2011, seeking to collect $2.54 million.
     Chinatrust Bank wants the $3.6 million judgment and interest, an injunction prohibiting Wu from “transferring, selling, assigning, mortgaging, dissipating, concealing, alienating, pledging, encumbering, impairing, offsetting, or otherwise disposing of” assets, and punitive damages.
     Attorney Chae is with Gardere Wynne & Sewell Houston.
     Wu did not return calls seeking comment.

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