SEC charges missing money manager Nadel with fraud

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by Compulsive, Jan 21, 2009.

  1. They are coming out like cockroaches

    WASHINGTON – Federal regulators on Wednesday charged a missing hedge fund manager with fraud, saying he misled investors and overstated the value of investments in the six funds by about $300 million.

    The Securities and Exchange Commission won a court order freezing the assets of Arthur G. Nadel, of Sarasota, Fla., and other defendants in the case.

    Nadel owed investors a $50 million payout, told his wife in a note he felt guilty and threatened to kill himself, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office. The authorities believe that Nadel, 76, planned his Jan. 14 disappearance.

    In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Tampa, the SEC said Nadel recently transferred at least $1.25 million from two of the funds to secret bank accounts that he controlled.

    Two investment companies co-owned by Nadel, Scoop Capital and Scoop Management, agreed in a settlement with the SEC to injunctions and an asset freeze. They neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing.

    According to Scoop Management's internal accountant, there are between 500 and 600 investors nationwide. Last week, many were told that the funds were empty. Sarasota police have been fielding inquiries from around the country and as far away as France.

    Robert Wilkes, a 76-year-old retiree in Vero Beach, Fla., who worked in commercial banking, said the SEC's charges against Nadel didn't surprise him.

    "He should be charged with fraud," Wilkes told The Associated Press. He wouldn't disclose how much he'd invested with Nadel, but said, "We're going to have to completely revamp our style of living. We're going to have to cut back."

    The SEC also is seeking unspecified restitution plus interest from several so-called relief defendants: investment advisers Valhalla Management and Viking Management, and hedge funds Scoop Real Estate, Valhalla Investment Partners, Victory IRA Fund, Victory Fund, Viking IRA Fund and Viking Fund.

    Those defendants consented to an asset freeze, also without admitting or denying the allegations. Nadel provided false and misleading information to those companies to be distributed to investors through account statements and other materials, according to the SEC suit.

    The agency said Nadel's funds appeared to have assets totaling less than $1 million — while he claimed in sales materials for three of the funds that they had about $342 million in assets as of Nov. 30. The materials also boasted of monthly returns of 11 to 12 percent for several of the funds last year, when they actually had negative results.

    An investor in one fund received an account statement for November indicating that her investment was worth almost $420,000. In reality, the entire fund had less than $100,000, according to the SEC.

    "Investors should be able to rely on the truthfulness of an account statement and offering materials," David Nelson, director of the SEC's regional office in Miami, said in a statement. "Mr. Nadel's alleged actions deceived investors, and we are seeking to hold him accountable for that misconduct."

    Wilkes already has his Florida home on the market and now plans to put his second home in Vermont up for sale.

    "It's just been a very traumatic event for us," he said. "Like a bad dream that when you wake up, you find it's not a dream. It's a nightmare."


    Associated Press writer Christine Armario contributed to this report from Tampa.