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  • Writer's pictureMatt Crumpton, Esq.

The Tiger King's Fraudulent Transfer Gives Carole Baskin His Park

Netflix star Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic, suffered another major setback this week with a decision from an Oklahoma judge.

As anyone who watched Tiger King knows, Joe Exotic’s arch enemy is Carole Baskin, the owner of Big Cat Rescue. In 2013, Big Cat Rescue was awarded $1 Million in a trademark infringement lawsuit against Exotic.

After that million dollar judgment, Exotic transferred certain property from himself to Shirley Schreibvogel, his mother, and to Greater Wynnewood Development Group, LLC. The quit claim deeds transferring the property were recorded on September 9, 2015 and February 12, 2016 – after Joe Exotic already had the million dollar judgment to pay.

In a Summary Judgment Order, the Oklahoma judge concluded that the transfers from Exotic to his mother were fraudulent because she was aware of the million dollar claim Carole Baskin had against her son.

This case underscores the importance of the uniform fraudulent transfer act, which has been adopted by most states. Pursuant to R.C. 1336.04(A)(1), a transfer made or an obligation incurred by a debtor is fraudulent as to a creditor if the debtor made the transfer or incurred the obligation with actual intent to hinder, delay, or defraud any creditor of the debtor.

Intent is decided by looking to eleven factors (R.C. 1336.04(B)):

(1) Whether the transfer or obligation was to an insider;

(2) Whether the debtor retained possession or control of the property transferred after the transfer;

(3) Whether the transfer or obligation was disclosed or concealed;

(4) Whether before the transfer was made or the obligation was incurred, the debtor had been sued or threatened with suit;

(5) Whether the transfer was of substantially all of the assets of the debtor;

(6) Whether the debtor absconded;

(7) Whether the debtor removed or concealed assets;

(8) Whether the value of the consideration received by the debtor was reasonably equivalent to the value of the asset transferred or the amount of the obligation incurred;

(9) Whether the debtor was insolvent or became insolvent shortly after the transfer was made or the obligation was incurred;

(10) Whether the transfer occurred shortly before or shortly after a substantial debt was incurred;

(11) Whether the debtor transferred the essential assets of the business to a lienholder who transferred the assets to an insider of the debtor.

Joe Exotic should have looked at the fraudulent transfer act to tailor his transaction in a way that complies with the law. Then again, there are A LOT of things Joe Exotic should have done differently. When you are actually trying to defraud someone like Joe Exotic was, there really is no getting around the fraudulent transfer act.

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