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The court-appointed receiver searching for assets in the midden of a collapsed $190 million Ponzi scheme headed by Minneapolis money manager Trevor Cook seems to be running short of patience.
Receiver R.J. Zayed was appointed Nov. 23 to liquidate Cook's assets, but he has allowed Cook's wife, Gina -- who was not implicated in the scheme -- to remain in their Apple Valley home until she could get her feet under her. Late Monday night, though, Zayed filed a motion demanding that Gina Cook explain why she should not be held in contempt of court like her husband.
The receiver contends that Gina Cook, 35, is trying to sell the house in an apparent end-run around the receivership so that her credit rating won't take a hit from a forced sale. The receiver says federal law requires the court's approval, and three appraisals, before the house can be sold.
The 4,300-square-foot home at 12735 Dover Drive is listed at $449,900. The Cooks bought the home in 2005, paying $155,900 in cash and a $420,000 mortgage in Gina's name. However, records show that all but one of the mortgage payments since then has come from accounts subject to the receivership.
That's not the end of the receiver's complaints, either.
Documents show that Gina Cook invested $55,575.52 with her husband's failed currency investment program and withdrew $112,419 -- nearly all of it in late June.
Tara Norgard, an attorney working with Zayed, made it clear in an e-mail to Gina Cook's attorney that the receiver expects her to cough up the "earnings" she made from the fraud scheme.
Norgard described Gina Cook as "akin to an insider," noting that she withdrew her investment proceeds "precisely as other investors were told they could not -- and precisely as federal regulators began closing in on Mr. Cook. The Receiver demands the return of the $56,843.48 overage that Ms. Cook received."
Gina Cook's attorney, Eric Olson of Bloomington, did not respond Tuesday to phone or e-mail messages seeking comment.
A hearing has been set for the receiver's motion for 12:30 p.m. Wednesday before Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis. The judge found Trevor Cook in contempt and ordered him to jail in January for concealing assets and refusing to cooperate with the receiver.
Trevor Cook pleaded guilty two weeks ago to fraud and tax evasion charges in an agreement that requires his cooperation, though he remains in custody.
Dan Browning • 612-673-4493