Search This Blog

12 Jan 2007

Hedge Fund Managers Indicted for Fraud

The managers of KL Group in West Palm Beach, Fla. were indicted yesterday, accused of orchestrating an extensive fraud that raised more than $194 million from at least 250 investors.

KL operated many hedge funds until March 2, 2005, when the SEC filed an emergency civil action to halt the massive fraud by the group of Palm Beach, Florida based hedge funds, their principals, their unregistered investment advisers, and an affiliated registered broker-dealer. The three, Won Sok Lee, Yung Bae Kim and his brother Jung Bae Kim, are accused of promoting the KL hedge funds as successful, when, in fact, some of the funds suffered losses every quarter of their existence.

From 1999 to 2005, KL claimed to have raised at least $81 million from investors nationwide, boasting annualized returns of 125 to 150, and KL sent false account statements to investors showing similar gains. According to the complaint, the hedge funds were suffering tremendous trading losses and only about $11 million remains of the more than $81 million that investors put into the hedge funds.

The collapse of the KL Group was the subject of an article in The New York Times in August 2005 that detailed how the three principals used their expensively furnished West Palm Beach office and high-tech trading floor to lure some of Palm Beach’s elite to invest in the funds. Prosecutors say that some money was also siphoned off for the personal use of the three principals.

The scheme was further carried out, court filings say, by paying a handful of early investors with money from new investors and using counterfeit documents to report investment returns falsely to mislead lawyers and accountants as well as investors.

According to The New York Times, John Kim, who faces 35 counts of various criminal charges, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, pleaded not guilty yesterday in Federal District Court in West Palm Beach. Calls to lawyers for Mr. Kim were not returned. The other two individuals remain fugitives and are believed to be living outside of the country, according to an individual briefed on the case.

No comments: