Kremen Can Continue Claims Against Cohen's Cousin
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A federal judge has ruled that Gary Kremen, the former Sex.com owner who is pursuing a $65 million unpaid judgment from Stephen Michael Cohen, can continue claims against Cohen's cousin.
In an opinion made Saturday, the court denied the cousin's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction claims and improper venue but it denied Kremen's motion to continue its preliminary injunction over $100,000 in funds in a Wells Fargo Bank account.
U.S. Judge Lucy Koh's earlier ruling froze assets of both FNBPay and a sister company, FNBMexico, that were allegedly used to funnel Cohen's money through various websites. The sites were said to have been operated by the cousin, who shares the same last name.
Cohen was ordered to pay the multimillion-dollar award in 2005 after a court determined he submitted a forged document to Network Solutions that won him control of Sex.com in 1995.
So far, the bill owed to Kremen amounts to $65 million, plus $3 million in interest. Kremen won back the domain in 2001 but has had a tough time finding where some of that awarded money is, or where it's been transferred to.
Koh, in Saturday's ruling, said that the defendants failed to meet their burden of show that litigating the case in Northern California would cause unfairness or inconvenience. Cohen's cousin lives in Arizona.
But she also said that the preliminary injunction over the Wells Fargo account would end because it is no longer clear that Kremen would suffer irreparable harm because the account had been closed.
"After the court issued the [preliminary injunction] and granted plaintiff limited expedited discovery, defendants produced bank statements for the Wells Fargo Account from Jan. 1, 2010 through Aug. 31, 2011 and alleged that the account was closed in August 2011 with a closing balance of $0.00.
"[T]here now appear to be substantial questions concerning whether the subject Wells Fargo Account is still open, and if so, what funds remain," she wrote.
According to court records, Kremen's counsel have been unable to acquire more information regarding the relationship between FNBPay Corp. and FNB Mexico, the relationship between Stephen Michael Cohen and his cousin, as well as Cohen’s involvement in the origination of funds that pass through the Wells Fargo account because Cohen attended the cousin's deposition on Dec. 13 and refused to leave.
Kremen in the suit is asking the court to order an injunction to restrain the conveyance of property, compensatory damages in the amount of deposit payments at FNBPay and Stephen Michael Cohen's mortgage payments for his Tijuana home and the principle amount of the unpaid judgment.
Cohen's cousin told XBIZ on Monday that he's asked authorities to probe the "illegal entry" into his bank account by Kremen investigators.
"I am in hopes that the Grand Jury will issue a true bill and these people will be indicted," he said, adding, "I expect that this case will be won at a summary judgment."