U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 23482 / March 9, 2016
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Edwin Yoshihiro Fujinaga and MRI International, Inc., et al., Civil Action No. 2:13-CV-1658 JCM (CWH) (D. Nev.)
Court Denies Motion to Reconsider Summary Judgment Filed by Wife of MRI CEO Edwin Fujinaga and Wife's Trust in MRI Ponzi Scheme Case
On March 4, 2016, the Honorable James C. Mahan, United States District Judge for the District of Nevada, entered an order denying a motion for reconsideration of the final judgment filed by relief defendants June Fujinaga and her trust, The Yunju Trust. In so ruling, the court rejected Mrs. Fujinaga's and the trust's argument that they have a legitimate claim to $2,333,382 in ill-gotten gains, and found that reconsideration would unduly frustrate and delay investors' ability to recoup lost money. While the court's ruling allowed for a $50,000 clerical adjustment to the disgorgement obligation in the final judgment against Mrs. Fujinaga and her trust to correct an undisputed calculation error, it affirmed their liability for disgorgement.
The final judgment against Mrs. Fujinaga and her trust, which was ordered on August 11, 2015, holds them jointly and severally liable to pay disgorgement of more than $2.3 million, representing assets and funds that they received from Mrs. Fujinaga's husband, Edwin Fujinaga, or companies that he owned or controlled, and to which Mrs. Fujinaga and her trust have no legitimate claim. In a predicate ruling on July 29, 2015, the court granted summary judgment against Mrs. Fujinaga and The Yunju Trust, finding that the "relief defendants possess funds to which they are not entitled," and that The Yunju Trust "holds title to properties obtained with fraudulent proceeds."
The court's March 4th ruling is the latest in a series of favorable decisions for the SEC in a case that was filed on an emergency basis in September 2013 alleging that the defendants, including Edwin Fujinaga and his company, MRI International, Inc., perpetrated an elaborate Ponzi scheme designed to misappropriate money from investors. In October 2014, the court granted the SEC's motion for summary judgment on liability against Mr. Fujinaga and MRI on all charges against them, including violations of the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws. In January 2015, the court entered a final judgment requiring Mr. Fujinaga and MRI to pay more than $580 million in disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and civil money penalties, and permanently enjoining them from further securities violations.
For further information, please see Litigation Release Number 22832 (October 3, 2013) [SEC Obtains Asset Freeze and Other Emergency Relief in Ponzi Scheme Targeting Investors in Japan]; Litigation Release Number 23111 (October 10, 2014) [SEC Obtains Summary Judgment Win on Liability in Ponzi Scheme Case]; and Litigation Release Number 23184 (January 30, 2015) [Judge Orders MRI International Inc. and Its CEO Edwin Fujinaga to Pay More Than $580 Million in Ponzi Scheme Case].
The SEC appreciates the assistance of the Financial Services Agency of Japan and the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission of Japan in this matter.