Financial Fraud Verdict: Jury Orders BDO Seidman to Pay Aviation Pioneer George Batchelor’s Estate and Foundation $91M

Nine years after the death of aviation pioneer and philanthropist George Batchelor, a circuit court verdict has issued a jury awarding his estate and foundation $91 million in its financial fraud case against BDO Seidman. The lawsuit, which was filed in 2002, accused BDO Seidman of covering up inaccurate financial statements when Grand Court Lifestyles, a company that Batchelor had invested tens of millions of dollars in, was audited.

Of the $91 million verdict, $36 million is compensatory damages, $55 million is punitive damages. All of the award will go to the Foundation, which means that the dozens of organizations that it supports may get more funds. Prior to his death, Batchelor, who founded Batch Air and Arrow Air, gave about $100 million to causes related animals, kids, medical facilities, and the environment.

The law firm that represents Batchelor’s estate says that until the end, BDO “denied it had a public duty” and “was willing to look the other way” for Grand Court, which let go of another accounting firm that wanted to know how the manager/owner of “senior” communities valued certain properties. Deloitte & Touche, which was the original accounting firm for Grand Court, has settled its securities case with the Batchelor Foundation.

Financial fraud and its concealment are against the law. If you are a victim of financial fraud you may have grounds for a civil case.

Related Web Resources:
$91M awarded in Batchelor case, Miami Herald, February 1, 2011

Jury Rules Against BDO, The Wall Street Journal, February 1, 2011

Our securities fraud law firm has experience representing partnerships, corporations, large trusts, financial firms, banks, municipalities, retirement plans, school districts, private foundations, charitable organizations, and high net worth individuals. Contact Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas LTD LLP today.