Tilton Rejected as U.S. Supreme Court Lets SEC Case Proceed

  • Patriarch Partners founder at risk of securities industry ban
  • SEC accuses Tilton of misleading investors about loan pools

The U.S. Supreme Court let the Securities and Exchange Commission press its case against Lynn Tilton, the Patriarch Partners founder once known as the “Diva of Distressed,” leaving her at risk of being barred from the securities industry.

Rejecting without recorded dissent a request by Tilton and Patriarch, the justices refused to halt the case while they decide whether to hear her contentions that the SEC’s use of in-house judges is unconstitutional.

The SEC filed an administrative complaint against Tilton in 2015, accusing her of misleading investors about the value of risky pools of corporate loans.

The agency says Tilton, 57, overcharged investors almost $200 million on fees she collected on $2.5 billion of collateralized loan obligations she created to help fund her various businesses. Patriarch says the claims are meritless.

"We’re disappointed, but we will work tirelessly to see to it that justice is ultimately done here and Lynn Tilton is exonerated ‎of these baseless SEC charges," Tilton’s lawyer, Randy Mastro, said in an e-mailed statement.

At the Supreme Court, Tilton and Patriarch called the SEC’s administrative process a “stacked-decked proceeding,” and said they have a constitutional right to go to federal court before the agency can impose penalties.

“The administrative proceeding could culminate in both significant monetary penalties and an immediately effective securities-industry bar on Ms. Tilton,” they argued.

The Obama administration and SEC urged the court to reject the request, saying Tilton and Patriarch would have ample opportunity to ask a court to block the penalties if the agency ultimately imposes them.

Those penalties “are neither imminent nor certain,” the government said in its argument.

The court will formally open its term on Monday.

The case is Tilton v. SEC, 16A242.

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