Venezuelan Workers Fall Victim to Francisco Illarramendi’s Ponzi Scam

Our Stockbroker Fraud Blog and our Institutional Investor Securities Blog have been following the story of Michael Kenwood Capital Management, LLC principal Francisco Illarramendi, who recently pleaded guilty to securities fraud, investment adviser fraud, and conspiracy to obstruct justice, and wire fraud. Now, news that the Ponzi scam, which targeted clients overseas, may be impacting workers in Venezuela.

Illarramendi is Venezuelan-American. According to National Public Radio/AP, he was in charged of investing hundreds of millions of dollars from a state oil workers’ pension fund. Now, the Venezuelan government is attempting to recover what it can from the employee retirement fund for Petroleos de Venezuela, which put forth about 90% of the investment. Rafael Ramirez, Venezuela’s oil minister, says that any pension fund losses would be made up by the oil company. Per The Wall Street Journal, officials from the petroleum workers union are claiming that about $500 million was invested.

The monetary scope of the Ponzi scheme has not been verified. The Securities and Exchange Commission, however, has said that at one point Illarramendi gave over a bogus letter from an accountant in Venezuela in an effort to verify some $275M in nonexistent assets.

Prosecutors claim that Illarramendi transferred money between investment accounts without notifying clients, as well as falsified documents to fool his clients.
While all his investors are located abroad, the financial fraud scam has impacted startup technology companies in the US that depended on Investments from Illarramendi’s group.

If convicted, Illarramendi could end up serving up to 70 years behind bars.

Venezuelan Workers Caught Up In Conn. Ponzi Scheme, NPR/AP, March 30, 2011
Venezuela Oil Min: Working With US To Recover Pension Fund Money, The Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2011

Related Web Resource:
Petroleos de Venezuela

More Blog Posts:
Michael Kenwood Capital Management, LLC Principal Pleads Guilty to Securities Fraud Involving Ponzi Scam, Institutional Investors Securities Blog, March 17, 2011
Order to Freeze Assets in $53M Fund Fraud Allegedly Involving Michael Kenwood Asset Management LLC Obtained by SEC, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, February 21, 2011
Our stockbroker fraud law firm represents clients both throughout the US and abroad that were victims of security fraud.

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