Minelli, Pacino among victims of bankrupt investment company

NEW YORK, Feb 17 (Reuters Legal) - A celebrity investment firm filed for bankruptcy on Thursday, listing entertainers such as Liza Minnelli, Al Pacino, Paul Simon, TV interviewer Barbara Walters and film producer Harvey Weinstein among hundreds of creditors.

Starr & Company LLC and Starr Investment Advisors LLC filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy less than a year after its founder Kenneth Starr pleaded guilty to bilking millions of dollars from investors.

Other famous figures listed in the creditor claims include the photographer Richard Avedon, the author Cormac McCarthy and a company representing the late composer Leonard Bernstein.

Starr, 67, who is facing a prison sentence of between 10 and 12 years, stole between $20 million and $50 million from his clients in a Ponzi scheme, according to court documents.

It is unclear how much each creditor can recover in the bankruptcy proceedings, or whether any money is left for the court to distribute. The assets listed in the bankruptcy filing, about $140,000 plus some artwork, would be first distributed to priority creditors, who include dozens of employees.

Last year, the New York Post reported that some people, including Pacino and Walters, had withdrawn their investments shortly before Starr was arrested. But Pacino and Walters were among those listed as creditors in the bankruptcy filings.

Starr’s lawyer has urged the court to be lenient when deciding sentence, saying her client was unlikely to outlive a 10-year spell behind bars.

(Reporting by Jeff Roberts of Reuters Legal; Editing by Amy Singer and Eddie Evans)

This article first appeared on Westlaw News & Insight,