Husband of Assemblywoman Diane Harkey found guilty of breaching contract and elder fraud, jury awards millions for investment losses
By Jim Shilander
Last week, investors involved in a fraud lawsuit against Orange County real estate lender Dan Harkey were handed a victory when a jury handed down over $10 million in damages for guilty verdicts over the past week.
A jury ultimately awarded more than 40 plaintiffs more than $10 million in damages in three separate awards last Thursday, Friday and Monday.
The lawsuit accused Harkey, owner of the Aliso Viejo-based Point Center Financial and husband of Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, of defrauding more than 80 investors—many of whom are elderly—out of more than $43 million. The suit also alleged that investor money helped fund Diane Harkey’s electoral efforts, but the assemblywoman’s name was removed from the case last month.
“The jury obviously saw it our way, significantly,” attorney David Grant said. “They found Dan Harkey and Point Center breached their fiduciary duties, intentionally, recklessly. On top of that, they found that breach was conducted on clear and convincing evidence, it’s close to beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal trial.”
The jury awarded $9 million to investors for the breach of fiduciary duties, and an additional $300,000 for financial elder abuse. On Monday, awarded $1 million in punitive damage. The attorney said this was “to punish and to set an example.”
Grant said the case will continue with several different phases, including an examination into whether the ownership of the Harkey’s Ritz-Cove home was transferred to hide funds. Grant said the plaintiffs were also looking to freeze the Harkey’s assets.
Harkey’s attorney could not be reached for comment.