A Wall Street executive who developed a reputation for turning around distressed companies is defending herself against civil fraud claims.

Lynn Tilton told an administrative law judge Tuesday that investors trusted her expertise when they invested in funds related to distressed companies.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has accused her of cheating investors of over $200 million by misleading them about companies' ability to meet debt obligations. The commission is seeking to have her banned from the securities industry. It also wants her to pay back more than $200 million.

When questioned by an SEC lawyer, Tilton said investors were "signing up" for her expertise when they invested. She said they hoped she'd take distressed companies from "a place of darkness and loss to a place of profitability."