Oklahoma Dept. of Securites v. Wilcox, et al, No. 10-6056 (10th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
At the behest of the Oklahoma Department of Securities, Oklahoma courts found early investors in a Ponzi scheme carried out by a third party to have been unjustly enriched and required disgorgement. Judgments were entered against those investors. The issue before the Tenth Circuit was whether the judgments entered against Robert Mathews, Marvin Wilcox, and Pamela Wilcox qualified as a nondischargeable debt under 11 U.S.C. 523(a)(19). The bankruptcy court decided the debts were nondischargeable because they were in violation of securities laws. The district court affirmed. Upon review, the Tenth Circuit reversed and remanded: "the Department's position conveniently serves its ends (and in the abstract) a public good. But the language of the statute cannot reasonably be stretched that far."