Meet the New Editor: Kathy Bazoian Phelps
By Mosier, Robert*
Kathy Bazoian Phelps is a partner at Danning, Gill, Diamond & Kollitz, LLP, a premier bankruptcy boutique law firm in the Los Angeles area that represents trustees and receivers, debtors, secured and un-secured creditors, creditors' committees in bankruptcy cases, and plaintiffs and defendants in bankruptcy and commercial litigation matters. Ms. Phelps started working at DGD&K as a summer associate in 1990 while attending UCLA Law School and began full time as a lawyer at the firm in 1991, when she was admitted to the California Bar. At the firm, Ms. Phelps has handled virtually every type of representation in a variety of different types of insolvency proceeds.
She is most recognized by peers for her ability to trace and recover “hidden” funds in large-scale complex cases and for her familiarity with all issues arising in Ponzi cases. She has developed a specialty in representing bankruptcy trustees and receivers in litigation involving fraudulent activities and has been lead counsel in large-scale litigation involving recovery of concealed assets in Ponzi scheme cases.
She has just completed writing an 850 page book entitled The Ponzi Book: A Legal Resource for Unraveling Ponzi Schemes, which she has co-authored with Hon. Steven Rhodes, a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan. The Ponzi Book includes a thorough legal analysis of competing claims and defenses of affected parties, and contains a sophisticated discussion of the administrative practicalities that arise in Ponzi cases. It is expected that the book will be released in early 2012.
Some of Ms. Phelps’ other recent publications include: Emergence of Mareva by Letter: Banks’ Liability to Non-Customer Victims of Fraud, co-authored with Lincoln Caylor, Martin S Kenney, and Yves Klein, Business Law International, Vol. 12 No. 2, May 2011; In Pari Delicto and The Blame Game: Should Receivers Get Caught in the Fray? Receivership News, January 2011; Opportunities for Trustees in Ponzi Scheme Cases, NABTalk, Journal of the National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees, Summer 2010.
Although her career has focused significantly on fraudulent activities in insolvency proceedings, her background comes with an international focus. She graduated from Pomona College with a B.A. in International Relations and studied Mandarin Chinese during and following college. Her ability to understand and speak Chinese has come in handy in her practice on a few occasions, enabling her to communicate directly with Chinese clients in their native language and to discern issues that did not rise to the surface in the English language.
Ms. Phelps is actively engaged in the bankruptcy and receivership communities both locally and nationally. She has lectured widely throughout the country on issues arising in Ponzi scheme cases and other bankruptcy-related topics for organizations such as the American Bankruptcy Institute, the National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees, the Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Accountants, the International Association for Asset Recovery, the National Association of Attorneys General, the California Bankruptcy Forum, the California Receivers Forum, the Beverly Hills Bar Association, and the Los Angeles Bar Association, among others. She is a member of those organizations as well, along with the American Bar Association, the Armenian Bar Association, Financial Lawyers Conference, and the Los Angeles Bankruptcy Forum.
Ms. Phelps is actively involved in the California Receiver’s Forum, serving as a member of the board of directors and secretary of the Los Angeles/Orange County Chapter and, most recently, as the editor of the Receivership News. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Century City Chamber of Commerce and a member of the advisory board of the International Association for Asset Recovery.
In addition to the completion of the The Ponzi Book, Ms. Phelps has had many career successes. Among those, she has most enjoyed serving as counsel for federal equity receivers in SEC actions, supervising the winding down of businesses, the reconstruction of missing and incomplete records, the analysis and tracing of investor funds, the liquidation and recovery of various investments made by the debtor, and the prosecution of litigation to recovery funds for the benefit of the investors and creditors. She has also served as counsel for Chapter 11 trustees in sizeable Ponzi scheme cases, recovering substantial funds for the benefit of the creditors while the perpetrators of the schemes find themselves in jail.
Regarding her personal life, Ms. Phelps is extremely proud of her two children, ages 8 and 10, who she notes enrich her life and make her smile every day. She has been happily married for 16 years to her husband, Tom, who she comments has been enormously supportive of her career, enabling her to juggle family, law practice, and book writing by creating time for her and always being there for her and their family. Her interests include extensive travel throughout the world, including a year on and off in China, which is where she furthered her study of the Chinese language. She also enjoys reading, noting that the last book that she read was Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust by Diana B. Henriques.
*Robert P. Mosier is a Southern California trustee and receiver and principal of Mosier & Company, Inc., a firm that has specialized in managing and turning around troubled companies for more than 25 years.