Financier C. Arnholt Smith, along with several family members and business associates, was slapped with a record $30 million civil judgement today stemming from the 1973 collapse of the United States National Bank.
A six-member federal jury deliberated two days before finding that the one-time "Mr. San Diego" had defrauded about 4,000 investors in the scandal-ridden financial institution.
The jury ordered Smith, his wife Helen; their daughter, Carol Smith Shannon, and former business associates Philip A. Toft and M.J. Coen of Kansas City to pay a total of $12.3 million in compensatory damages for investor losses.
In addition, Smith, who controlled the bank, was ordered to pay $11 million in punitive damages. The jury further ordered Coen and Shannon to pay $3 million each in punitive damages and Helen Smith to pay $750,000.
However, U.S. District Court Judge William Enright will entertain defense motions Jan. 14 for either a new trial or a reduction in the judgment.
Even if those motions are denied; the former shareholders may have to wait severl more years before expected appeals are exhausted.
The same jury had set the stage two months ago for the massive judgment when it ruled that most of the originally named defendants were liable for investor losses when the bank collapsed Oct. 18, 1973, in what then was the largest banking scandal in the nation's history.