Meoli v. Huntington National Bank, No. 15-2362 (6th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Watson, the chairman of Cyberco, created Teleservices as a “paper company” to run a Ponzi scheme. Teleservices had no separate officers, directors, or employees. Watson borrowed money and instructed lenders to send the money to Teleservices to pay for computer equipment. Watson then moved the money from Teleservices account to Cyberco’s account at Huntington. He used that money to pay salaries and earlier debts. By 2004, Cyberco owed Huntington $16 million. In September 2003, Cyberco tried to deposit a $2.3 million Teleservices check; the check bounced. Huntington employees became suspicious. In January 2004, Huntington asked Cyberco to find a new bank, noting “‘red flags.” As Huntington investigated, Cyberco paid its debt to Huntington. Later, the FBI raided Cyberco’s offices. Watson committed suicide. Cyberco’s creditors commenced an involuntary Chapter 7 proceeding; an appointed receiver filed for Teleservices’s bankruptcy. Teleservices’s bankruptcy trustee sought to recover from Huntington all direct and indirect loan repayments and excess deposits. The bankruptcy court concluded that the trustee could recover $72 million; that Huntington had received transfers in good faith until April 2004; but that Huntington gained inquiry notice of Cyberco’s fraud on September 2003. The district court affirmed. The Sixth Circuit reversed, in part. Cyberco, free to withdraw money from its account, retained “dominion and control,” despite Huntington’s security interest. Huntington gained dominion and control only over money that it received in satisfaction of Cyberco’s debt to it; Huntington was a transferee of direct and indirect loan repayments, but not of the excess deposits. Huntington failed to prove that it received transfers from Teleservices in good faith after April, but precedent does not require recoverability of earlier transfers, just because Huntington had earlier inquiry notice.