Attorneys: H. Adam Prussin and Jessica N. Dell
Pomerantz Monitor July/August 2016
This month Jason Galanis and his father John Peter Galanis both entered guilty pleas for their roles in swindling Gerova Financial Group investors. They admitted to manipulating the company’s stock price using a maze of small companies and a straw buyer to conceal their involvement. They agreed to forfeit over $37 million in assets and will both be sentenced in December. Other alleged conspirators include Jason’s two brothers, Jared and Derek Galanis.
If the names sound familiar, it is because the family has bounced from one colorful financial scandal to the next for over thirty years. Five years ago, Pomerantz filed suit for Gerova Investors based on the same violations. That suit was successfully settled. The Galanii currently also face criminal charges alleging that they bilked $60 million from members of the Sioux Nation in South Dakota. In the last two decades, they have reportedly dabbled in gambling, porn, and Kosovo drug rings. It was reported that two months ago, while out on bail and facing criminal charges, Jason Galanis got drunk on an airplane and sent threatening texts to a former friend he thought was cooperating with federal investigators. His bail was consequently revoked.
Although Galanis Senior, the Bernie Madoff of the eighties, served years in prison, investors were never made whole. Throughout that decade, he faced a litany of charges, including stealing hundreds of millions from investors, and millions from the government in false tax deductions. In 1988 he was convicted on 44 felony counts and ultimately sentenced to 27 years in a federal prison. When the sentence was handed down, then U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani told the press he hoped it would send a message that: “those like Galanis...who are involved in multimillion-dollar frauds and corruption will realize that no matter how wealthy or how powerful they believe they are, no matter how complex their scheme, they too can be brought to justice.” If the sentence indeed had any deterrent effect, it was short-lived. Perhaps this time, by rounding them all up at once, we can hope again that U.S. District Attorney Bharara has succeeded in shuttering the Galanis family business for good.