Business

Judge dismisses claims in Rick Siskey Ponzi cover-up lawsuit

Investors duped by a Ponzi scheme operated by Charlotte businessman Rick Siskey are expected to receive at least 90 percent of their investments as part of a major settlement that won approval this week from the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Investors duped by a Ponzi scheme operated by Charlotte businessman Rick Siskey are expected to receive at least 90 percent of their investments as part of a major settlement that won approval this week from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Observer file

A judge this week dismissed claims in a lawsuit brought against the widow of Charlotte businessman Rick Siskey and Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. that accused them of helping to cover up Siskey’s alleged Ponzi scheme.

Judge Louis Bledsoe of North Carolina Business Court issued the ruling on Thursday, after two former business associates of Siskey filed the August suit against Diane Siskey and the insurance giant. Private equity firm Stone Street Partners, formerly Siskey Capital, was also a plaintiff in the case, claiming its business has been destroyed by the accusations against Siskey.

Siskey, 58, took his own life in 2016, days after court filings revealed he was under investigation for fraud. Since then, dozens of investors have submitted claims totaling in the tens of millions of dollars.

An attorney for Stone Street and the former associates could not be reached for comment.

The suit, which argued that Rick Siskey “did not operate in a vacuum,” claimed Diane Siskey worked “hand-in-glove” with her husband in all his business activities and that she was integrally involved in their operation, finances and day-to-day management.

Diane Siskey also served as chief compliance officer for her husband’s MetLife business, in which he sold the company’s financial and insurance products, the suit said.

MetLife and an attorney for Diane Siskey said they were pleased with the ruling.

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MetLife and its securities arm “turned a blind eye” to Rick Siskey’s illegal activities to protect the millions of dollars in revenue he was generating for the company, the suit said.

The former associates, Dawn King and Paul Porter, claimed in the suit that their reputations have been destroyed by the claims against Siskey. King and Porter said Rick Siskey had recruited them to join Siskey Capital but that they were unaware of his alleged fraudulent activities.

This month, a federal bankruptcy court approved a plan that is expected to provide the first round of payments, totaling $10 million, to Rick Siskey’s victims.

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Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts
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