Sonoma Valley Bank Shareholders File Both a Class Action Lawsuit and An Insurance Claim Seeking to Recoup Millions

Sonoma Valley Bank shareholders have submitted a class action complaint accusing the financial institution’s chief financial officer, chief executive officer, and six corporate directors of mismanaging over $40 million in loans. The plaintiffs are placing most of the blame for this alleged financial negligence, and the bank’s collapse, on bank CEO Sean Cutting.

The class action complaint will cover any shareholder (except for the defendants) that owned shares in the bank as of August 25, 2010. Shareholders, most of them from Sonoma Valley, saw their stock drip in price from $31/share in 2007 to under a penny in 2010 when the bank was seized. $71 million was lost and the federal government says it lost $20 million because of the closure.

Per the class action complaint, the bank’s demise can be attributed in great part to the approval of loans worth over $40 million to Marin County developer Bijan Madjlessi’s companies and his business partners. Some $35 million in loans were never paid back. State regulators have arrested Madjlessi for alleged insurance fraud. He pleaded not guilty to felony insurance fraud.

Shareholders also recently filed an insurance claim with Progressive Casualty Insurance Co. seeking to recover $20 million in equity that they lost when the financial institution collapsed. Under the insurance policy, some $20 million is designated to protect the leadership of the bank from such a lawsuit as the one that was just filed.

“Many people have asked: Where are the convictions over the financial mess? Finally, someone goes to jail, but who’s heard of Colonial BankGroup? I guess it was just not too big to fail,” says Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas founder and stockbroker fraud lawyer William Shepherd.

Related Web Resources:

Sonoma Valley Bank shareholders file lawsuit blaming CEO,, June 29, 2011

Lawsuit filed against SV Bank directors, Sonoma News, June 30, 2011

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