Not Funny: Will Ferrell, Larry David Fined $634G in Securities Case

Board rejects comics claim brokerage mishandled their money

By Greg Wilson
|  Friday, Nov 19, 2010  |  Updated 8:15 AM EDT
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The comedian uses survival tactics in the taping of <a title=Discovery Channel's "Man vs. Wild." Plus, Jay Leno is hospitalized. And, Kim Kardashian recovers from major sunburn in Mexico." />

The comedian uses survival tactics in the taping of Discovery Channel's "Man vs. Wild." Plus, Jay Leno is hospitalized. And, Kim Kardashian recovers from major sunburn in Mexico.

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The joke was on Will Ferrell and Larry David last week, when regulators tossed their case against JPMorgan and ordered the two funnymen to pay $634,000 in fines.

The comics took their $18 million case against the brokerage to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, accusing the giant bank's brokerage arm of mishandling their money.

Specifically, the case charged JPMorgan Securities with "unauthorized and unsuitable purchases of unspecified preferred securities." The case was first brought by Los Angeles business manager Matt Lichtenberg in 2008, according to the New York Post. In 2009, Lichtenberg, who made real estate deals involving Ferrell, added Ferrell, his wife Viveca Paulin, and a trust owned by David to the case.

In its ruling, Finra, which polices Wall Street brokerages, suggested that Lichtenberg was lackadaisical in supplying the evidence, the Post reported.

"After three motions to compel discovery by [JPMorgan] and three orders from the panel, [members of Lichtenberg's team] were still supplying ordered documents on the afternoon of the second day of the evidentiary hearing," Finra chided in their decision letter.

Ferrell and David were ordered to pay JPMorgan $22,500 for "discovery abuse and failure to comply with the forum's discovery rules" as a result. They were also ordered to pay $600,000 to JPMorgan for lawyers' fees and $12,000 in arbitration costs.

Selected Reading: New York Post, Forbes, Dealbook.

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