U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Lake Shore Asset Management Limited
MEMORANDUM and Order Signed by the Honorable Blanche M. Manning on 8/19/2011:Mailed notice(rth, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
UNITED STATES COMMODITY
FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION,
LAKE SHORE ASSET MANAGEMENT
LIMITED, et al.,
07 C 3598
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
At the inception of this commodities fraud case in 2007, defendant Philip Baker, the head
of multiple intertwined Lake Shore entities, attempted to explain the discrepancy between the
amount of money in the Lake Shore pools and the claimed amount under management by
asserting that an entity known as “FTG” held the missing funds. Today, the receiver’s motion
seeking to expand the receivership to include FTG Capital Canada, Ltd. is before the court. For
the following reasons, the motion is denied without prejudice.
The court assumes familiarity with the orders entered in this 2007 commodities fraud case
and thus will briefly highlight relevant facts. Robb Evans & Associates, LLC, is the temporary
equity receiver for the Lake Shore Common Enterprise. Pursuant to an international letter
rogatory issued by this court and an order issued by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the
receiver conducted discovery in Canada. Among other things, the receiver deposed John Kurgan
(FTG’s sole officer) and David Tonken (FTG’s accountant), interviewed Nicholas Eveleigh (an
individual who withdrew money from FTG accounts whose name has come up in prior filings
discussing other Lake Shore entities) by telephone, and submitted written interrogatories to
Patricia Kurgan (John Kurgan’s wife, and FTG’s sole shareholder).
The receiver pursued written discovery in Canada. Among other things, the receiver
sought documents from FTG, including “all records of any funds received from Hanford
Investments Ltd., Lake Shore Asset Management Inc., Lake Shore Asset Management Ltd.,
Anglo International Associates Ltd., Man Financial n/k/a MF Global UK Ltd., Lehman Brothers
International (Europe), or Fimat.”
The receiver contends that the Canadian discovery established that FTG conducted
transactions on behalf of the Lake Shore Group of Companies (“Lake Shore”). The receiver also
asserts that FTG was a member of the group of entities forming the Lake Shore common
enterprise, as defined in the amended receivership order, Dkt. 554. Additionally, the receiver
states that Lake Shore entities sent funds to FTG and FTG operated as the predecessor to Lake
Shore Asset Management, Ltd. (“LSAM”), which was a key part of the Lake Shore common
In support, the receiver points to evidence indicating that while FTG’s bank accounts
were closed in July 2007, between 2002 and 2006, FTG transferred millions of dollars between
itself and various Lake Shore entities and their officers, employees, legal agents, and other
service providers. The receiver argues that this shows that during this time period, FTG shared
common control with Lake Shore and functioned as Lake Shore’s administrative arm.
The receiver further supports its version of events with a declaration from Philip Baker.
In his declaration, Mr. Baker states that he formed FTG with Mr. Kurgan, that FTG was LSAM’s
predecessor, and that FTG was used to support Lake Shore’s business activities. According to
the receiver, Mr. Kurgan allowed Mr. Baker to siphon millions of dollars in investor funds from
the Lake Shore accounts, via FTG, in the form of unearned commission fees and so-called loans.
The receiver thus concludes that FTG was LSAM’s predecessor and operated as part of
the Lake Shore common enterprise. The receiver suggests that FTG should be treated just like
the other members of the Lake Shore common enterprise (all of whom are defendants in this
action) and seeks to exercise control over FTG’s assets to the extent necessary to recover
customer funds, including money paid to FTG by defendants Hanford and Anglo, who are part of
the Lake Shore common enterprise and thus are already subject to the receivership.1
FTG denies that it is connected to any Lake Shore entities or misappropriated any Lake
Shore investor funds. John Kurgan contends that he formed FTG to develop a guide to trading
that would help him obtain business. He asserts that he made his wife FTG’s sole shareholder
and arranged to have all of the Kurgan family’s assets held in her name because his profession of
This court originally found that members of the Lake Shore common enterprise other
than LSAM could properly be the subject of orders affecting those members’ assets because the
members were alter egos of LSAM. See United States Commodity Futures Trading Comm’n v.
Lake Shore Asset Management Ltd., No. 07 C 3598, 2007 WL 2659990, at *24-25 (N.D. Ill.
Aug. 28, 2007) (Dkt. 118, granting preliminary injunction). The Seventh Circuit, however,
reversed that portion of the court’s ruling and held that the members could only be directly
ordered to take certain actions if they were first served with process. United States Commodity
Futures Trading Comm’n v. Lake Shore Asset Management Ltd., 511 F.3d 762 (7th Cir. 2007)
(distinguishing between orders specifically directed at a nonparty and orders binding a nonparty
under Fed. R. Civ. P. (d)(2) because it is acting in “active concert or participation” with a party).
Thus, the CFTC filed an amended complaint adding the members as defendants. Ultimately,
default judgments were entered against all of the defendants.
commodity trading is a volatile, high risk business. Based on the evidence presently before the
court, however, FTG did not develop a trading guide or engage in any trading.
Mrs. Kurgan confirmed that she is FTG’s sole shareholder, that her husband formed FTG,
and that she did not actively manage the company, operate it as an ongoing business, or
participate in its business affairs in any way. Mr. Kurgan had signatory authority over the FTG
bank accounts but later authorized Nicholas Eveleigh to direct payments from the accounts. Mrs.
Kurgan asserts that she was completely uninvolved with FTG.
Mrs. Kurgan also owns a company called 162663 Ontario, Ltd. This company owns the
Kurgans’ country house, which it purchased with funds from Zumer Investments, a Turks and
Caicos company owned by Mr. Kurgan. According to the Kurgans, the money used by Zumer to
purchase the house was paid to Mr. Kurgan as compensation for trading and was not connected
to either Hanford or any of the Lake Shore companies.
The FTG bank records produced by Mr. Kurgan, including invoices submitted by Roth
Mosey LLP (LSAM’s third party administrator), show that FTG initially paid LSAM’s expenses.
At his deposition, Mr. Tonken (FTG’s accountant) confirmed that FTG paid LSAM’s expenses.
However, after LSAM began using Anglo International Associates Ltd. (a London payroll
services company) in April of 2006, Anglo started paying LSAM’s administrative expenses and
Mr. Kurgan asserts that after FTG was formed, he met Mr. Baker who, at that point, had
fallen on hard times. Mr. Kurgan loaned money to Mr. Baker and signed a partnership
agreement, allegedly so Mr. Baker could prove to his father that he was employed. Mr. Kurgan
denies that he ever worked with Mr. Baker, but admits that he executed trades with Refco
Canada for Mr. Baker.
Mr. Kurgan also admits that he helped establish Hanford (a defendant in this action which
is part of the Lake Shore common enterprise) by signing documents so Hanford could open bank
and trading accounts as Mr. Baker’s poor credit rating made him ineligible to do so. However,
Mr. Kurgan denies that he owned or controlled Hanford. Mr. Kurgan allowed Mr. Baker to use
FTG to pay administrative expenses in Canada for the Lake Shore companies. Mr. Kurgan
asserts, however, that Mr. Eveleigh was responsible for handling FTG’s banking activities and
The court has broad powers to determine what relief is appropriate in an equity
receivership. See United States Commodity Futures Trading Com’n v. Lake Shore Asset
Management Ltd., No. 07 C 3598, 2007 WL 2915647, at *16 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 4, 2007) (Dkt. 196);
see also Securities & Exch. Com’n v. Elliott, 953 F.2d 1560, 1566 (11th Cir. 1992).
The parties’ versions of the facts differ because, as noted above, they disagree as to
whether FTG was independent or yet another Lake Shore entity that was part of the Lake Shore
common enterprise. FTG asserts that the receiver’s motion to expand the receivership to include
it should be denied because: (1) FTG is not named as a defendant, and the receiver is seeking to
take over FTG as opposed to acquire receivership assets allegedly in its possession; and (2) the
court lacks personal jurisdiction over FTG because FTG had no jurisdictional contacts with the
The receiver, on the other hand, relies on the amended receivership order, which directs
the receiver to collect and take control of all assets owned by the Lake Shore common enterprise
held for the benefit of Lake Shore clients wherever they are situated. Dkt. 558. It then contends
that its request to expand the receivership to include FTG does not constitute a new cause of
action against a nonparty. In support, it argues that “FTG was not only a predecessor to Lake
Shore, but also assisted in the furtherance of the Lake Shore Common Enterprise fraud.
Nevertheless, the [r]eceiver is not proceeding against FTG as a defendant or coconspirator in the
fraud. Instead, the receiver is simply seeking to recover customer funds that were wrongfully
paid to it through Hanford and Anglo, two of the other [r]eceivership defendants.” Dkt. 871 at 2.
The receiver also asserts that it should be able to take over FTG and use FTG’s funds to benefit
the defrauded Lake Shore investors because FTG was inextricably intertwined with Mr. Baker
and Lake Shore from 1999 to 2006. Elsewhere in its memoranda, the receiver contends that the
receivership should be expanded to include FTG because FTG was LSAM’s predecessor and was
operated as part of the Lake Shore common enterprise and thus was a Lake Shore alter ego or
The court’s analysis of the receiver’s motion begins and ends with the receiver’s alter ego
argument, which is premised on the contention that the court can issue an order directed at FTG
even if FTG is not a party. The court previously reached a conclusion consistent with this
position and held that entities that called themselves by other names but were, in fact, LSAM’s
alter egos were inseparable from LSAM. As such, the court found that LSAM and all of the
other numerous alter ego Lake Shore entities, including an LSAM predecessor, were all the same
entity so proceedings against LSAM could properly include the alter egos even if they were not
named as parties. See United States Commodity Futures Trading Comm’n v. Lake Shore Asset
Management Ltd., No. 07 C 3598, 2007 WL 2659990, at *24-25 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 28, 2007) (Dkt.
118, granting preliminary injunction), rev’d in part by 511 F.3d 762 (7th Cir. 2007).
The Seventh Circuit, however, disagreed. Specifically, the Seventh Circuit held that:
[U]nder Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(d) an injunction against Lake Shore Asset
Management, Ltd., binds all those acting in concert with it – which means other
members of the corporate group. But it does not follow that a litigant's affiliates
may be named in an injunction. The only defendant in the CFTC's suit is Lake
Shore Asset Management, which must be the sole addressee of the injunction. See
Zenith Radio Corp. v. Hazeltine Research, Inc., 395 U.S. 100, 110-11 (1969). The
injunction may direct Lake Shore to do things within its power – such as turning
over its books and records – but may not impose obligations directly on other
members of the corporate group.
Any of Lake Shore’s affiliates is bound, to be sure, by an injunction
against Lake Shore, but a district court must not direct Lake Shore to do things
that only some other member of the group, not named as a defendant, could
perform. And whether a particular person or firm is among the “parties’ officers,
agents, servants, employees, and attorneys; [or] other persons in active concert or
participation with” them (see Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(d)(2)(B), (C)) is a decision that may
be made only after the person in question is given notice and an opportunity to be
heard. (This language comes from the version of Rule 65 that became effective
on December 1, 2007; the language quoted in our order of October 15 is from the
version of Rule 65(d) that was then current. There is no substantive difference.)
The district judge evidently was confident that other members of the Lake
Shore Group of Companies are “in active concert or participation with” Lake
Shore Asset Management, and that may well be true. But so far none of these
other entities has been served with process and given an opportunity to present
evidence. That is essential before any enforcement action may be taken against a
non-litigant. Zenith Radio held that even a defendant’s concession that some
additional entity is the defendant’s alter ego does not warrant an injunction against
that entity, until it has been served with process and offered the opportunity to say
whether it agrees with the original defendant's concession. See also, e.g., Chase
National Bank v. Norwalk, 291 U.S. 431, 436-37 (1934); Scott v. Donald, 165
U.S. 107, 117 (1897).
The injunction that the district court entered imposes obligations on “Lake
Shore [Asset Management] Limited, individually and as part of the Lake Shore
common enterprise”. The phrase “individually and as part of the Lake Shore
common enterprise” must be deleted wherever it occurs in the injunction, so that
the order's only addressee is Lake Shore Asset Management, the sole defendant.
Rule 65(d)(2) specifies who other than Lake Shore must comply, and before any
person or entity is deemed to be “in active concert or participation with” Lake
Shore, notice and an opportunity for a hearing must be provided. Of course, other
members of the Lake Shore Group of Companies act at their peril if they disregard
the commands of the injunction, for, if the district court ultimately determines that
they are in concert with Lake Shore, then they will be in contempt of court. But
that is an issue for another day, if any additional member of the group (or any of
the entities’ officers) should be named as a party. See In re Teknek, LLC, No.
07-1498, 512 F.3d 343, 2007 WL 4553650 (7th Cir. Dec. 28, 2007).
The petition to review the CFTC's order is dismissed for want of
jurisdiction. The judgment of the district court is affirmed to the extent it concerns
Lake Shore Asset Management (and is within its power to perform) but is vacated
to the extent the injunction imposes duties on other entities, and the case is
remanded for proceedings consistent with this opinion.
511 F.3d at 766-67.2
To resolve the receiver’s motion to expand the receivership to include FTG, the court
need not determine whether FTG is, in fact, an alter ego of LSAM (and indeed, cannot do so
without an evidentiary hearing given the competing written evidence before it). This is because
even if FTG is yet another one of LSAM’s many alter egos, it would not affect the disposition of
the receiver’s motion given the Seventh Circuit’s ruling that an entity which allegedly is “in
active concert or participation with” LSAM must be “served with process and given an
The receiver asserts that FTG is a predecessor of LSAM. This court previously found
that the Lake Shore common enterprise included Lake Shore, Inc., another predecessor of LSAM.
See United States Commodity Futures Trading Comm’n v. Lake Shore Asset Management Ltd.,
2007 WL 2659990, at *2-3, 9-11 & 21-25; see also Dkt. 194 (order appointing receiver and
defining the Lake Shore common enterprise); Dkt. 554 (amended receivership order). In its
opinion addressing this court’s preliminary injunction order, the Seventh Circuit did not
distinguish between predecessors and other alter egos. Thus, this court will also not consider
whether the allegation that FTG is a predecessor means it should potentially be treated differently
from non-predecessor alter egos.
opportunity to present evidence . . . . before any enforcement action may be taken against [that]
non-litigant.” Id. at 767 (emphasis added) (“Zenith Radio held that even a defendant’s
concession that some additional entity is the defendant’s alter ego does not warrant an injunction
against that entity, until it has been served with process and offered the opportunity to say
whether it agrees with the original defendant’s concession”).
In other words, a district court may not issue an order specifically directed at an alleged
alter ego unless that party is first named as a defendant and served with process. Id. at 766-67.
Indeed, as noted above, this court previously issued an order granting relief against a group of
nonparty LSAM alter egos which had actual notice of the litigation and an opportunity to defend,
and the Seventh Circuit reversed because those alter egos had not been named as defendants and
served with process. See United States Commodity Futures Trading Comm’n v. Lake Shore
Asset Management Ltd., 511 F.3d 762 at 766-67 (noting that the district court’s findings that
nonparties were alter egos of LSAM “may well be true” but holding that an order directing the
nonparties to cede control of their assets was premature because the nonparties had not been
served with process).
In contrast, orders may indirectly bind nonparties by allowing them to be held in
contempt if the nonparties have actual notice of the orders and are “officers, agents, servants,
employees, and attorneys” of a party or “in active concert or participation” with a party or its
officers, agents, servants, employees, or attorneys. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(d)(2). For example, in
National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is of U.S. Under Hereditary Guardianship, Inc. v. National
Spiritual Assembly of Baha'is of U.S., Inc., 628 F.3d 837 (7th Cir. 2010), a religious organization
brought a civil contempt proceeding against five nonparty religious organizations and individuals
allegedly associated with a religious group that had been enjoined from using the plaintiff’s
name. The Seventh Circuit held that “a nonparty may properly be held in contempt for violating
an injunction if the court acquires jurisdiction over the nonparty and gives the nonparty an
opportunity to contest whether he is bound by the injunction and is in fact in contempt.” Id. at
853, citing Zenith Radio, 395 U.S. at 112.
To illustrate, assume entities X and Y are part of a common enterprise and X is an officer,
agent, servant, employee, or attorney of Y or is acting in active concert or participation with Y.
In this scenario, it is important to distinguish between (1) an order finding nonparty X in
contempt of an order requiring party Y to give up control of Y’s assets and (2) an order requiring
nonparty X to give up control of X’s own assets. The former is proper, but the latter is not.
Here, the receiver seeks an order finding that FTG is an alter ego of LSAM and adding
FTG into the receivership estate so FTG’s assets may be distributed to the defrauded Lake Shore
investors.3 This request is premised on the receiver’s belief that FTG is part of the Lake Shore
common enterprise and as such, can be directly subject to a court order requiring it to give up
control of its assets. As discussed above, the Seventh Circuit has held that an alleged alter ego
who is not a party must be served with process before being the subject of an order specifically
directed at it. See United States Commodity Futures Trading Comm’n v. Lake Shore Asset
The receiver, for reasons unknown to the court, does not appear to have sought to have
FTG added as a defendant in this action. Cf. Scholes v. Lehmann, 56 F.3d 750, 753 (7th Cir.
1995) (receiver filed ancillary complaint against non-parties to SEC case to recover property
pursuant to fraudulent transfer laws because “[l]ike a trustee in bankruptcy or for that matter the
plaintiff in a derivative suit, an equity receiver may sue only to redress injuries to the entity in
receivership, corresponding to the debtor in bankruptcy and the corporation of which the
plaintiffs are shareholders in the derivative suit”); S.E.C. v. Antar, 831 F.Supp. 380, 401-02
(D.N.J. 1993) (SEC properly named defendant’s relatives as additional defendants before it
litigated whether the relatives’ property should be included in the receivership estate).
Management Ltd., 511 F.3d 762 at 766-67; see also S.E.C. v. Kirkland, No. 6:06CV 183 ORL
28KRS, 2006 WL 3388463, at *2-3 (M.D. Fla. Nov. 21, 2006) (denying receiver’s request to
include nonparty’s home in the receivership estate because the nonparty was not named as a
defendant, there had been no finding that the nonparty acted in active concert or participation
with the defendant, and the court could not exercise in rem jurisdiction over the property).4 This
appellate ruling is generally binding on this court as well as the law of this specific case.
While FTG has been afforded an opportunity to submit evidence and has done so under
protest, it clearly has not waived the service of process requirement. The parties’ arguments
about whether FTG is one of LSAM’s alter egos and whether this court may exercise personal
jurisdiction over FTG are thus premature. However, in the interests of completeness, the court
notes these questions turn on facts that must be determined after an evidentiary hearing.
Accordingly, the court appreciates the receiver’s efforts to obtain funds for the defrauded
investors. Nevertheless, the Seventh Circuit has found that Lake Shore alter egos must be
formally named as defendants and served before being subject to this court’s direct orders
regarding their assets. Even assuming that nonparty FTG is an alter ego of LSAM (an issue upon
which the court expresses no views) and part of the Lake Shore common enterprise, the court
thus cannot accept the receiver’s contention that it is proper to expand the receivership to include
FTG without naming it as a defendant and serving it with process. The receiver’s motion for
The court notes that it located a case where a receiver sought to add a nonparty’s assets
into the receivership estate and the court held that the nonparty’s assets could be included in the
receivership estate if the exercise of personal jurisdiction over the nonparty was proper. S.E.C. v.
Private Equity Management Group, Inc., No. CV 09-2901 PSG (EX), 2009 WL 3074604, *5-6
(C.D. Cal. Sept. 21, 2009). The court declines to follow the Private Equity decision as it is at
odds with Seventh Circuit and Supreme Court precedent, as detailed in the text.
entry of an order expanding the receivership to include FTG is, therefore, denied without
For the above reasons, the receiver’s motion for entry of an order expanding the
receivership to include FTG Capital Canada, Ltd.  is denied without prejudice. Thus,
FTG’s motion for leave to file to move to strike portions of the receiver’s reply, take discovery to
respond to the receiver’s alter ego allegations, and submit a sur-reply  is denied as moot.
DATE: August 19, 2011
Blanche M. Manning
United States District Judge
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