DALLAS (CN) - The court-appointed receiver for R. Allen Stanford's $7 billion Ponzi scheme can go after the Tiger Woods Foundation charity for $500,000 in alleged fraudulent transfers, a federal judge ruled.
Ralph Janvey, a partner with Krage Janvey in Dallas, sued the Tiger Woods Foundation and Tiger Woods Charity Event Corp. in April. He claimed they received the money in two transfers from Stanford Capital Management LLC, Stanford Financial Group Co. and the Stanford Financial Group Building Inc. Janvey claimed the money was from " innocent, unwitting " Stanford investors.
U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey denied the defendants' motion to dismiss on Wednesday, finding that the charity could not prove Janvey's claims are time-barred.
Godbey said the foundation relies on "far too many factual ambiguities" for its motion to be granted.
Janvey's fraudulent transfer claim under Texas law has a 4-year statute of limitations; his unjust enrichment claim has a 2-year limit.
"The parties agree that the relevant date of reference here is December 13, 2013, the date on which the parties signed the tolling agreement," the 9-page order states. "Thus, the Receiver's [fraudulent transfer] claim is time barred if he could have discovered it before December 13, 2012, and the unjust enrichment claim is time barred if it accrued before December 13, 2011. The Receiver argues that because he pleads the discovery rule, an issue of fact exists as to when he discovered his causes of action and his complaint cannot be dismissed. The court agrees."
The discovery rule under Janvey's fraudulent transfer claim gives plaintiffs a year to sue after the claim "could reasonably have been discovered by the claimant."
"Application of the discovery rule is generally a fact-intensive issue inappropriate for resolution in a motion to dismiss," Godbey wrote. "Even once a plaintiff has been exposed to information that gives rise to a duty to inquire, whether the plaintiff has been diligent in making that inquiry is ultimately a question of fact" to be determined at trial.
Godbey was not persuaded by the foundation's argument that Janvey failed to plead "diligence at all" in discovering the transfers.
"This argument fails because, as discussed, the Receiver does allege diligence in discovering these transfers by claiming his team spent hours pouring over obscure financial records in order to identify actionable transfers," the order states. "Defendants take issue with the fact that the Receiver has not specifically contended that these particular transfers were concealed or difficult to discover. But, that would require too much of the complaint at the motion to dismiss stage."
Godbey found that in a light most favorable for Janvey, it is "perfectly reasonable" to conclude that the "generally complex and obfuscated nature of the Stanford financial records made these particular transfers difficult to discover."
The foundation did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Janvey has aggressively tried to recover funds originating from the Ponzi scheme, filing approximately 50 lawsuits against recipients since his appointment, according to the Courthouse News database.
His targets have included the Miami Heat basketball team, Texas A&M University, the University of Miami, the PGA Tour and the ATP Tour, among others.
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