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Aug. 24, 2022

Howard M. Ehrenberg

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LOS ANGELES - Over his more than 30 years as a bankruptcy attorney and trustee, Howard M. Ehrenberg has dealt with several bankruptcies created by fraudsters. Currently, he is the liquidating trustee of Orion HealthCorp, Inc. and a related company. The principal of the companies allegedly created a number of health-related businesses that didn't actually operate, but did borrow millions from a group of banks. Soon enough, "the whole house of cards collapsed," and the principal was indicted, he said. "We've uncovered tens of millions of dollars of fraudulently ill-gotten gain," Ehrenberg said. "And we are in the process of recovering these monies." In re: Orion HealthCorp, Inc. 18-71748 (Bankr., E.D. N.Y., filed March 16, 2018). Perhaps his best-known matter as a trustee was part of the story in the "Molly's Game" book and movie. The title character operated illegal, highstakes poker games for A-list celebrities. "When she moved to New York, she had another set of problems," he said. "But when she was in California running the game for the celebrities, that was my case." The debtor was a hedge fund operator who regularly lost heavily at the games. He also managed to entice the other players into investing in his fund, which turned out to be a Ponzi scheme. In re: Ruderman Capital Partners LLC, 2:09- bk-19539 (Bankr., C.D. Cal., filed April 24, 2009). "One of my lawsuits was against Leo DeCaprio," Ehrenberg said. Ehrenberg said about 75% of his work is as a trustee or receiver. As an attorney, he frequently represents other trustees. He also mediates about one bankruptcy matter a month, he said. Not all his cases involve fraud. As Chapter 7 trustee, he quite recently shepherded the sale of a nursing home facility that housed comatose patients. Philmar Care LLC, 6:18-bk-20286, (Bankr. C.D. Cal., filed Dec. 7, 2018). Being the trustee overseeing the facility was exceptionally stressful, he said. "I was responsible for the lives of 150 people, many of whom were nonresponsive." A decade earlier, he had another big job as trustee when the Queen Mary in Long Beach was in Chapter 11. In re: Queen's Seaport Development Inc., 2:05-bk-15175 (Bankr., C.D. Cal., filed March 15, 2005). "For those two years, I was operating the Queen Mary tourist attraction and hotel," he said. "The one thing they would not let me do was to perform weddings."


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