The trustee unraveling the Rick Siskey Ponzi scheme case in bankruptcy court has reached a settlement with another former Siskey associate over a life insurance payout she received, according to a court filing this week.
Siskey, 58, took his own life in December 2016, days after court filings gave the first public indication that he was under investigation for fraud. An FBI affidavit unsealed weeks later alleged that Siskey – who long sold insurance and other financial products to Charlotte clients – was operating a Ponzi scheme for years, costing investors millions.
Court-appointed trustee Joe Grier and his team are sorting through claims from investors and accumulating assets that can be distributed to victims.
Under the agreement with Grier, former Siskey associate Denise Rhodes will hand over $220,000 of the $250,000 she received from a life insurance policy that paid out after Siskey’s death. The filing said the trustee took into consideration the financial condition of Rhodes and the cost of pursuing further litigation. The money will ultimately be distributed to investors.
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Rhodes was “an employee of Siskey and generally assisted Siskey in day-to-day operations,” according to the filing.
Claire Rauscher, an attorney for Rhodes, said her client “was duped just like everyone else by Rick Siskey,” adding: “She had no knowledge of his Ponzi scheme and no knowing participation in his fraudulent activities.”
Authorities have not suggested there were any other individuals involved in Siskey’s fraudulent activities.
The $250,000 was part of a $10 million death benefit that paid out in January 2017 to Rhodes and three others, according to court documents. Siskey had made them beneficiaries of the policy on Dec. 16, 2016 – four days after Siskey was approached by federal investigators, according to the FBI affidavit, and 12 days before his death.
Grier last week disclosed a similar $220,000 settlement with former Siskey associate Ben Lowder. Grier has said he is also pursuing payouts received by Siskey’s widow, Diane ($7.5 million), and his daughter, Jenna Negrelli ($2 million).
The settlements with Lowder and Rhodes require court approval. A hearing is scheduled for Feb. 12.