In the case of Hodnett v. Loevner, Judge Tice of the United States Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Virginia held that a bankruptcy debtor is not insulated from the dischargeability issues raised under Bankruptcy Code §523 (a)(4) by virtue of the fact that the transactions were done in the name of a corporation.
The debtor had transferred the plaintiff/creditor's trust funds to a limited partnership of which the investment company, the debtor's alter ego, was a general partner, without any notice to the plaintiff. Further, the debtor failed to properly account for the location of the funds. The debtor was also an officer, director and 50 percent shareholder in the corporation, and most importantly, was the person who made the investment decisions concerning client funds. The debtor was the alter ego of the investment company, and the Court found that the company was used in conjunction with the limited partnership to obscure fraudulent conduct with respect to the plaintiff. Therefore, the Court invoked the doctrine of piercing the corporate veil to hold the debtor personally liable for acts of the corporation.
The Court held that the judgment was also exempt from discharge under Bankruptcy Code §523(a)(2)(A) because of the debtor's actual fraud. The debtor's statements, reports and correspondence concerning the existence of certificates of deposits were misrepresentations of material facts which were made by the debtor in an effort to deceive the plaintiff, and upon which the plaintiff relied, permitting the debtor and the investment company to use the trust funds in violation of an express trust. As a result of those misrepresentations, the debtor lost $107,000 of the plaintiff's trust funds. The Court found that this conduct on the part of the debtor constituted fraud.
The Court further found that even if it could be argued that the debtor intended to repay the funds, his lending the plaintiff's funds on an unsecured basis while lying to the plaintiff about the nature of the investment constituted reckless conduct tantamount to fraud.