Aguilar v. PNC Bank, N.A., No. 15-3514 (8th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs, 92 investors in a Ponzi scheme called the British Lending Program (BLP), filed suit against PNC, alleging, among other things, (1) violations of Missouri's Uniform Fiduciaries Law (UFL); (2) aiding and abetting the breach of fiduciary duties; (3) conspiracy to breach fiduciary duties; and (4) conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. 1962(d). Specifically, plaintiffs alleged that PNC's predecessor, Allegiant, conspired with and aided Martin Sigillito in his scheme to defraud investors when it served as custodian for the self-directed IRAs of those who chose to invest in the BLP at its inception. The court granted summary judgment to PNC, concluding that even if the court overlooked plaintiffs' failure to cite any legal authorities in support of their RICO and common-law claims, those claims fail on the merits. In this case, the evidence is insufficient to establish a reasonable fact dispute as to whether Allegiant, PNC's predecessor, objectively manifested an agreement to participate in criminal activity with Sigillito, had a meeting of the minds with Sigillito, or substantially assisted or encouraged Sigillito's conduct. The court also rejected plaintiffs' UFL claim, concluding that no evidence exists that Allegiant processed any transaction with actual knowledge that Sigillito was breaching his fiduciary duties, and the evidence fails to show that Allegiant acted in bad faith. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment.