SEC Charges New York-Based Fund Manager and His Two Financial Firms Over Alleged $11M Ponzi Scheme

The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed charges against fund manager Jason J. Konior and his Absolute Fund Management and Absolute Fund Advisors for running a Ponzi-like investment scheme that was supposed to maximize investors’ profits and instead allegedly funneled $2 million of clients’ money to pay for earlier investors’ redemption requests, as well as business and personal expenses. The SEC is charging Konior and his two firms with violating the Securities Exchange Act of 1934’s antifraud provisions. The Commission is seeking financial penalties, permanent injunctive relief, and disgorgement of ill-gotten gains.

According to SEC, beginning at least last November, Konior and the two firms raised about $11 million from investors by selling them Absolute Fund LP limited partnership interests. Konior allegedly touted this investment vehicle as having $220 million in trading capital. He and his two companies also allegedly made false claims that the fund would contribute millions of dollars as a promised match to clients’ investments (Konior had told investors that Absolute would put in up to nine times what they originally contributed), combine new investors’ money with its principal, and put their cash in brokerage accounts that investors could use to trade securities through. This “first loss” trading program investors was supposed to allow investors to significantly up their potential profits.

Per Absolute Fund Advisors’ marketing collateral, Absolute would give seed capital allocations to emerging and new hedge funds, which would then buy limited partnership interests in the fund. Absolute was supposed to match the investments by an up to 9:1 ratio. This means that if a hedge fund invested $1 million in Absolute then the fund would match it with $9 million, which means there would be $10 million in investment capital.

Absolute was to put this mix of funds in a brokerage firm sub-account to be managed by the hedge fund investor. Per the “first loss model” trading losses in the sub-account would be 100% allocated to the hedge fund investor up to the sum of its capital contribution. The hedge fund investor was then supposed to get 50-70% of trading profits.

Unfortunately, this trading program that was promised never went into operation. The investment fund not only neglected to match investors’ funds but also it failed to return their money when they asked to withdraw their investments.

Last week, the SEC secured an asset freeze order against Konior and his two companies. All three parties have consented to this order without denying or admitting to the securities charges. The Commission says that the current assets of Absolute are only a “fraction” of how much investors are still owed.

SEC Shuts Down $11M Ponzi Scam, May 25, 2012

Read the complaint (pdf)

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Our Ponzi scam lawyers at Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LTD, LLP represents institutional and individual investors.