Kenneth Dante Murena
Mr. Murena is a Federal Court-appointed Receiver, Receiver’s counsel, and business litigator with extensive experience in both Federal and State Court, at the trial and appellate levels. He has spent most of his career representing Federal and State Court-appointed Receivers, Monitors, and other fiduciaries, as well as defrauded investors, in government enforcement actions brought by the SEC, CFTC and FTC based on securities, commodities and consumer fraud and in asset recovery litigation and class actions arising therefrom.
Mr. Murena also represents investors, who were defrauded in connection with seeking permanent residency under the federal EB-5 program, in actions against the perpetrators of the fraudulent schemes and SEC whistleblower proceedings. In addition to representing defrauded investors, Mr. Murena represents individuals, small businesses, and public companies in litigation matters involving financial fraud, business torts, secured transactions, and real property.
In Bankruptcy Court, Mr. Murena routinely represents Trustees in bankruptcy cases and adversary proceedings and has represented a broad range of interests in Chapter 11 reorganizations and liquidations, including Liquidating Trustees, Creditors Committees, individual and corporate creditors, and corporate debtors-in-possession. And, in Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors proceedings, Mr. Murena has significant experience serving as (i) the Assignee, tasked with operating, winding down or selling the subject company, liquidating its assets, and distributing the proceeds to creditors, (ii) counsel for the subject company, and (iii) counsel for the purchaser of the subject company or its assets.
After graduating from law school in 1998, Mr. Murena served as the Law Clerk to the Honorable Paul G. Hyman, Jr., United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Southern District of Florida. Subsequently, he joined a prominent Miami-based law firm and focused his practice on complex commercial litigation, receiverships and bankruptcy.
Mr. Murena was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1998 and is licensed to practice in all state and federal courts in Florida and the United States Courts of Appeals for the Third and Eleventh Circuits. Mr. Murena received his law degree from the University of Florida College of Law (J.D., 1998), where he served as the Senior Articles Editor of the Florida Law Review. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Florida College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (B.A., with honors, Phi Beta Kappa, 1995), graduating in the top 1% of his class.
Profile at a Glance
- Practice Areas
- Organizations & Memberships
- Speaking Engagements
- Receivership & Other Fiduciary Appointment and Representation
- Investor Fraud & Whistleblower Advocacy
- Business & Financial Fraud Litigation
- Securities, Commodities & Consumer Fraud Litigation
- Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights
- The Florida Bar (1998)
- The United States District Courts for Southern, Middle & Northern Districts of Florida (1999)
- The United States Courts of Appeals for the Third & Eleventh Circuits (2001)
- The Florida Bar: Business Law Section – Bankruptcy/UCC Committee Member, Uniform Commercial Real Estate Receivership Act, Task Force Chair
- National Association of Federal Equity Receivers: Former Regulatory Committee Co-Chair
- Federal Bar Association
- American Bankruptcy Institute: Commercial Fraud Committee – Former Special Projects Director
- Bankruptcy Bar Association
- Dade County Bar Association: Federal Courts Committee
- Educate Tomorrow
- AV Preeminent® Rated by Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™
- Best Lawyers in America (2018-2020)
- Florida Trend – Florida Legal Elite (2009)
- Florida Super Lawyers – Top Young Lawyers in Florida (2010)
- Author. Uniform Commercial Real Estate Receivership Act – Florida SB 660 and HB 783, The Florida Bar Out-of-State Division’s State-to-State Newsletter (Winter 2020)
- Litigating Commercial Cases in Bankruptcy Court, Chapter 19, BUSINESS LITIGATION IN FLORIDA, (10th ed. 2019).
- Contributing Author (2015). Fraud and Forensics: Piercing Through the Deception in a Commercial Fraud Case. Alexandria, VA: American Bankruptcy Institute.
- The Dodd-Frank Act, the CFTC’s Crackdown on Off-Exchange Financed Commodity Transactions, and the Role of the Court-Appointed Fiduciary, THE RECEIVER (Issue 2, Sept. 2013).
- University of Florida College of Law (J.D., Law Review, 1998)
- Georgetown University Law Center – International Law Program (Summer 1997)
- University of Florida College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (B.A., with honors, Phi Beta Kappa, 1995)
- On June 6, 2017, Mr. Murena moderated an American Bankruptcy Institute Commercial Fraud Committee discussion on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision Janvey v. Golf Channel, Inc., No. 13-11305 (5th Cir. Aug. 22, 2016), arising from the SEC enforcement action against Standford International Bank, Ltd. The discussion addressed the issue of whether trade creditors who fully perform in the ordinary course at market rates provide reasonably equivalent value to a Ponzi scheme, under the Bankruptcy Code and fraudulent transfer law in Texas and throughout the Fifth Circuit. The featured speaker was Kevin M. Sadler, Esq., lead counsel for the Receiver of Stanford International Bank, Ltd. in the Golf Channel litigation.
- On November 29, 2016, Mr. Murena moderated an American Bankruptcy Institute Commercial Fraud Committee discussion on the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act, which the Uniform Law Commission promulgated to replace the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act and several states already enacted. The featured speakers were esteemed bankruptcy attorneys, Patricia A. Redmond, Business Restructuring Partner at Stearns Weaver, and John B. Hutton, III, Restructuring & Bankruptcy Partner at Greenberg Traurig.
- On September 20, 2016, Mr. Murena moderated an American Bankruptcy Institute Commercial Fraud Committee discussion on the Ponzi Scheme Presumption in actions brought under the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act and two cases in which the presumption was at issue: Kelley v. Opportunity Finance, LLC, et al. (In re Petters Company, Inc., et al.), No. 10-4301 (Bankr. D. Minn. May 31, 2016) and Finn v. Alliance Bank, 860 N.W.2d 638 (S. Ct. Minn. 2015). The featured speaker was counsel for the Chapter 11 Trustee in the Petters case, James A. Lodoen, Partner and Co-Chair of the Financial Restructuring and Bankruptcy Department of Lindquist & Vennum, LLP.
- On May 25, 2016, Mr. Murena moderated an American Bankruptcy Institute Commercial Fraud Committee discussion on the recommendation of the Commission to Study the Report of Chapter 11 that section 550 of the Bankruptcy Code be amended to, among other things, permit Bankruptcy Trustees to name an alleged subsequent transferee as a defendant in the original complaint to avoid transfers under various sections of the Bankruptcy Code. The featured speaker was corporate restructuring and consumer bankruptcy attorney, Samuel A. Schwartz, founding Partner at Schwartz Flansburg.
- On January 14, 2016, Mr. Murena moderated an American Bankruptcy Institute Commercial Fraud Committee discussion on the proposal of the Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 to modify the standard of proof for the appointment of a Chapter 11 Trustee. The featured speaker was Debra A. Dandeneau, Partner in the Business Finance & Restructuring Department of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and Editor of the Weil Bankruptcy Blog.
Towerhouse Condominium, Inc. v. Taicher, et al.; Taicher v. Taicher, et al., Case No. 2018-018522-CA-01, in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida (Court-Appointed Special Magistrate)
Janett Poll Sarlabous v. Constantino Bagatelas Kouranov, et al., Case No. 18-010087-CA-01, in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida (Counsel for Court-Appointed Custodian)
South Beach 18, LLC, et al. v. Tziyona Cohen, et al., Case No. 18-023532, Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida (Counsel for Court-Appointed Custodian)
Julieta Spenzi v. Joseph Green, Case No. 13-025945-FC-04, Eleventh Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida (Counsel for Court-Appointed Receiver)
Benjany Viera v. Klever Ontaneda, Case No. 12-5693-FC-04, Eleventh Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida (Counsel for Court-Appointed Receiver)
Fannie Mae v. Residences at 107 Ave., Inc., (Case No. 11-14926 CA 32), Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida (Counsel for Court-Appointed Receiver)
Marimon v. Marimon (Case No. 11-4696 FC 04), Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida (Counsel for Court-Appointed Receiver)
U.S. Mortgage Finance II, LLC v. 3079 Aventura Lakes, LLC(Case No. 09-59337 CA 13), Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida (Counsel for Court-Appointed Receiver)
U.S. Mortgage Finance II, LLC v. 1406 Mystic Point, LLC (Case No. 09-59351 CA 13), Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida (Counsel for Court-Appointed Receiver)
BAC Florida Bank, a Florida Chartered Bank v. 1910 Island LLC, et al. (Case No. 09-59348 CA 02), Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court in and Miami-Dade County, Florida (Counsel for Court-Appointed Receiver)
Amanecer Investment Company, LLC v. Amanecer Christian Network, Inc., et al. (Case No. 05-11974 CA 30), Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida (Counsel for Court-Appointed Receiver)
State of Florida Office of Financial Regulations v. Robert Kurland Mortgage Co., Inc., Case No. 05-11974 CA 30, Eleventh Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida (Counsel for Court-Appointed Receiver)
Trustees: Mr. Murena represents court-appointed Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 bankruptcy trustees and liquidating trustees in corporate liquidations and reorganizations in bankruptcy court.
Creditors’ Rights: Mr. Murena represents various creditor interests in Chapter 11 reorganizations and converted liquidations, including individual creditors, corporate creditors, banks and other lending institutions, private lenders, and corporate landlords seeking to enforce their rights and recover from debtors pursuant to multi-million dollar debts. See, e.g., E.S. Bankest, LLC v. United Beverage Florida, LLC (In re United Container, LLC), 284 B.R. 162 (Bankr. S.D. Fla. 2002).
Debtor Reorganization: Mr. Murena has represented individual and corporate debtors-in-possession, including national and international corporations and real estate developers, in Chapter 11 reorganizations involving tens of millions of dollars in debt.
Mr. Murena serves as the Fiduciary in Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors (ABC) state court proceedings involving companies seeking to sell their businesses as going concerns or liquidate their assets and inventory and wind down their operations. Mr. Murena also represents the companies that are the subject of the ABC proceedings and the individuals or companies who endeavor to purchase those companies and/or their assets in the ABC proceedings.
Mr. Murena has extensive experience handling a broad range of litigation matters in U.S. District Courts, U.S. Bankruptcy Courts, and State Circuit Courts throughout Florida. He routinely represents federal and state court-appointed equity receivers in fraud and other litigation matters arising from private civil actions and government enforcement actions and related receiverships. Mr. Murena has represented class representatives in class actions arising from federal equity receivership and defendants in enforcement actions brought by the Securities & Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Federal Trade Commission. He has also represented individual and corporate creditors in various bankruptcy litigation matters. Mr. Murena has significant litigation and trial experience representing individual and corporate plaintiffs and defendants in fraudulent transfer actions, alter-ego/piercing-the-corporate veil actions, successor liability actions, and actions seeking injunctive and declaratory relief. See, e.g., Harbaugh v. Greslin, et al., 436 F. Supp. 2d 1315 (S.D. Fla. 2006), aff’d 218 Fed. Appx. 950 (11th Cir. 2007). Mr. Murena has also successfully handled a number of appeals to the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Third and Eleventh Circuits, as well as to District Courts of Appeals in Florida. See, e.g., Flemming v. Air Sunshine, Inc., 311 F.3d 282 (3d Cir. 2002)
Among his more notable litigation matters, Mr. Murena worked on the legal team that represented class representatives in a class action filed in the billion dollar Mutual Benefits Corporation federal equity receivership arising from the enforcement action styled SEC v. Mutual Benefits Corp., et al. (Case No.: 04-60573-CIV-Moreno), brought in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida (www.mbcreceiver.com). After less than one year of litigation, class representatives and all members of the class recovered $85 million dollars – a 100% recovery. Mr. Murena also worked on the legal team that represented the estate of a prominent south Florida businessman in the half billion fraudulent transfer action arising from the leveraged buyout of an international airplane leasing company that had filed for Chapter 11 reorganization. He also worked on the legal team that successfully defended a prominent Miami-based international law firm in a half billion legal malpractice case that arose from the collapse of Florida’s then-second largest bank.