Church-Based Hedge Fund Fraudsters Plead Guilty

Mar 18 2010 | 9:44am ET

Five men who divided their time as leaders of a Queens, N.Y., church and Long Island hedge fund have pleaded guilty to defrauding investors of $12.3 million.

The last of the Jadis Capital quintet, former CEO and executive chairman Isaac Ovid, entered his plea in Brooklyn federal court earlier this month. All five pleaded guilty to conspiracy, admitted that Uniondale-based Jadis’ two hedge funds, launched in 2005, misled investors in a scheme that cost its victims $10.2 million.

Many of the victims were members of the Local Christian Assembly Church in Forest Hills, N.Y. All five men had senior leadership positions in the church; one, former Jadis chief marketing officer and CEO Joseph Jonathan Coleman, is the son of the church’s founder and was its heir apparent.

According to prosecutors, the men spent most of the money they raised on themselves and their friends, including a $200,000 Bentley driven by Ovid and others. What little trading they did produced very poor performance.

In addition to Ovid and Coleman, prosecutors won guilty pleas from former CFO Aaron Riddle, former chief business strategist Timothy Smith and former Northeast regional sales vice president Robert Riddle.

Each of the five men face up to five years in prison. Ovid, a native of Trinidad, could also be deported after the completion of his sentence.

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