The Spouse That Roared: Hedge Funder’s Ex Slaps Him With Rico Charge

Firms dragged into nasty divorce; who's next?

“It’s a completely frivolous lawsuit,” attorney Robert Stephen Cohen told The Observer, noting that the RICO action was filed just before a judge awarded Mr. Perry sole custody of the couple’s two children. “It was an attempt to intimidate him. As we speak, papers are being drafted to dismiss the case.”

Neither Mr. James nor Mr. Foster, the plaintiff’s attorneys, responded to email and telephone requests for comment. But at least one part of their client’s case that doesn’t appear to track: “You don’t have an injury until you have a final result,” Jeffrey Grell, a Minneapolis-based lawyer who has litigated civil RICO actions on behalf of plaintiffs and defendants, told The Observer. Which is to say that until a spouse shows damages derived from the concealment of assets, the racketeering law may not apply.

Even if Ms. Bingham-Perry’s case is found to be without merit, however, its effects might be far-reaching. Just as the Cohen matter spawned the Bingham-Perry complaint, more than one lawyer familiar with civil RICO actions predicted the latter case would give rise to a series of copycats.