Parr Brown Announces Formation of Receivership Practice Group; Adds Three Attorneys With Receivership, SEC Expertise

Parr Brown Gee & Loveless is pleased to announce that Robert Wing, Tom Melton, and Joni Ostler have joined the firm, and, in connection with these hires, Parr Brown has formed a Receivership Practice Group.

“We are thrilled to add Joni, Tom and Robert to our firm and to formalize our Receivership Practice Group. These actions will greatly enhance what already are deep and capable receivership, securities, and commercial litigation practice areas,” said D. Craig Parry, firm President. “No Utah firm, and few firms nationally, have the expertise and experience of Parr Brown in the receivership area.”

“With these hires, Parr Brown becomes one the nation’s leading resources for regulators like the SEC, FTC, and CFTC, which seek quality receivers backed by skilled legal counsel to conserve and recover assets on behalf of fraud victims,” said Jonathan Hafen, a member of the firm’s new Receivership Practice Group. “Members of our Receivership Practice Group have recovered over $1 billion on behalf of fraud victims throughout the country. We look forward to continuing that good work,” he added.

“I have worked with Robert and Tom for more than 25 years. Our firm is welcoming two of the most experienced, capable, and wise receivership attorneys in the country. Joni comes to us with years of experience in commercial litigation, receivership, and regulatory enforcement matters, including time at the SEC and with a leading national law firm. It is a truly wonderful opportunity to see these three become part of the Parr Brown team,” Mr. Hafen said.

Tom Melton spent more than 20 years as one of the SEC’s lead enforcement attorneys. In that role, he pioneered the use of Court-appointed receivers in regulatory enforcement actions, and he investigated and litigated through trial numerous cases involving enforcement of the SEC’s anti-fraud, broker-dealer, investment adviser, and transfer agent regulations. Following his time with the SEC, Tom represented Utah’s Department of Commerce in regulatory enforcement matters in administrative, state, and federal courts. His representation encompassed cases for Utah’s Divisions of Real Estate, Professional and Occupational Licensing, Securities, and Consumer Protection.

Robert Wing is one of the nation’s foremost receivership lawyers, having developed controlling caselaw in multiple jurisdictions. When he first began his practice as a receiver more than 25 year ago, receivership law was not well-developed. In consultation with government attorneys, Robert developed sensible approaches to receivership issues which have now been adopted as best practices by numerous courts. These approaches included how and when to conduct clawback actions, how to prioritize and distribute funds, whether to operate or abandon businesses, and how to negotiate tax issues.

Robert was one of the founding members and the first president of the National Association of Federal Equity Receivers, which is now recognized as the pre-eminent professional association in the discipline. He formed NAFER to encourage receivers to share their approaches to problems, to assist in developing a coherent body of law, to provide training, to improve relationships with federal agencies, and to establish a set of ethical principles for receivers.

Like Tom, Robert joins Parr Brown after representing the State of Utah in regulatory enforcement actions. Over the past five years, Robert served as Director of the White Collar and Commercial Enforcement Division. Preceding his time with the State, Robert worked at three private Salt Lake City firms handling significant receivership, commercial litigation, and intellectual property matters.

Joni Ostler joins Parr Brown from the SEC, where she worked as an enforcement attorney. Before her time at the SEC, she handled complex litigation, independent investigations, and regulatory enforcement matters in the Palo Alto office of Wilson Sonsini. Joni also spent time working with Tom and Robert at the Utah Attorney General’s Office, where she handled regulatory enforcement actions in administrative, state, and federal courts.

Members of Parr Brown’s Receivership Practice Group are available to serve as receivers, counsel to receivers, and to assist federal and state agencies in undertaking the complex tasks associated with equity receiverships.

Parr Brown’s full-service legal team supports both Court-appointed and privately hired receivers with a broad array of expert-level legal services, including commercial litigation, employment, tax, bankruptcy, real estate, securities compliance, class action, asset sales, and probate. In addition, Parr Brown has close relationships with forensic accounting firms who assist in tracing funds, evaluating financial statements, and preparing claims analysis.

Utah’s Federal District Court has appointed multiple Parr Brown lawyers to serve as receiver, including Robert Wing in the Vescor Ponzi scheme, and Jonathan Hafen in the ongoing Rust Rare Coin litigation, which involves a Ponzi scheme in which the perpetrator defrauded investors of more than $300 million over fifteen years, with more than $100 million in losses. Collectively, Parr Brown attorneys have recovered tens of millions of dollars for Rust Rare Coin victims.

Parr Brown receivership attorneys (Jeff Balls, Joe Covey, Jonathan Hafen, Kara Houck, Claire McGuire, Tom Melton, Joni Ostler, and Robert Wing) have represented receivers in investigating fraud allegations, in preserving and protecting assets, and in hundreds of claw-back actions, initiating and winning cases seeking to obtain funds to repay defrauded investors. They also have been involved in actions on behalf of receivers, bankruptcy trustees, and fraud victims against financial and legal professionals who aided and abetted Ponzi schemes and other financial frauds.