Nearly 150 "clawback' suits filed in NM Ponzi case

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- A trustee appointed in the bankruptcy case of a New Mexico real estate executive who swindled some 600 investors out of $75 million is seeking to recover $26 million from people who profited in the collapsed Ponzi scheme.

The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/yLPMG6 ) that trustee Judith Wagner doesn't expect to recover that much money. But she says any money she does recover through 148 so-called clawback lawsuits will help repay people who lost money to Doug Vaughan and his Vaughan Company Realtors, after legal expenses.

Investors from around the country thought they were loaning Vaughan money for real estate, but he was using it to pay promised profits to earlier investors and support his lavish lifestyle.

The scheme collapsed in February 2010. Vaughan pleaded guilty to two fraud counts in December and faces 10 to 12 years in prison.

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Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com