WASHINGTON, D.C. - February 26, 2003 - The Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which maintains a special reserve fund authorized by Congress to help investors at bankrupt brokerage firms, announced today that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York City has authorized a trustee to send out liquidation claim forms covering at least 2,278 customer accounts tied up in the recent Park South Securities, LLC, brokerage firm collapse.
As of February 5, 2003, the nearly 2,300 frozen Park South accounts contained an estimated total of $77 million. Court-appointed trustee Irving Picard, Esq., of the law firm Gibbons, Del Deo, Dolan, Griffinger and Vecchione, said that the process of unfreezing and transferring customer accounts to other firms will soon get underway.
Picard said: "The claim forms will go out to about 2,300 Park South customers on March 7, 2003. Park South customers will have six months, until September 7, 2003, to submit claims that qualify for SIPC protections. We will be encouraging investors who get the claims to review, complete and submit them as promptly as possible in order to qualify for full coverage."
SIPC General Counsel Steve Harbeck said: "The Park South case is a textbook illustration of why Congress created SIPC to protect investors at troubled brokerage firms. While misuse of customer cash and securities is uncommon, it is important for investors to know that SIPC is here as a safety net when they need us in these situations. SIPC's mission also was met here in terms of making sure that more than 2,000 Park South investors were not further victimized by having their assets tied up for months or longer in a bankrupt brokerage firm."
In addition to claim forms that will be provided by U.S. mail, information about the Park South liquidation proceeding will be available online at http://www.sipc.org on or about March 7, 2003. Claimants are encouraged to use the Web site to print claim forms rather than calling the office of the trustee.
On February 5, 2003, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed an emergency action charging securities fraud, including looting of customer brokerage accounts, against broker and television investment personality Todd M. Eberhard and his brokerage and investment advisory firms, Park South Securities, a registered broker-dealer and registered investment adviser, and Eberhard Investment Associates, Inc., an investment adviser that was not registered with the SEC. The complaint also names Stone House Capital Partners LP, a Park South affiliated hedge fund, as a relief defendant that received transfers of Park South customer funds at Eberhard's direction.