Friday, 30 January 2015
Last updated 2 hours ago
Apr 29 2010 | 12:42pm ET
A Colorado hedge fund manager defrauded investors of more than $20 million and then threatened to kill himself, according to authorities.
The Colorado Securities Commission has seized the assets of Sean Mueller and his Mueller Capital Management, less than a week after Mueller was talked down from a building in suburban Denver. According to the state’s lawsuit against him, Mueller admitted he scammed investors in a series of e-mails and notes written prior to his suicide attempt.
“The confusion has finally won its battle with me and I feel like there are no good options left,” Mueller wrote to investors on April 22, the day of the suicide attempt. “I always thought I could make it back, but that’s not going to happen.”
In a note written after the suicide attempt, Mueller admitted that documents claiming his Over-Under Fund managed $122 million were falsified. He wrote that only $15 million remained of the $20.6 million he collected.
According to Colorado Securities Commissioner Fred Joseph, Mueller promised double-digit returns regardless of market conditions, telling potential investors he had never lost money in eight years and consistently returned between 12% and 25% annually.
“That is very reminiscent of what Mr. Madoff did,” Joseph said. “And promises of consistent 12% returns in all markets? That’s like trying to roll the dice and come up with seven, 52 times in a row.”
The claims of consistent returns aren’t the only Madoff parallel: Like the incarcerated Ponzi scheme mastermind, who pleaded guilty without a deal with prosecutors to avoid having to name accomplices, Mueller claims he ran the fraud entirely on his own.
In the post-suicide attempt note, Mueller wrote that Greenwood Village, Colo.-based Mueller Capital’s other employees were “silent partners.”
“To my knowledge, they didn’t know about the falsified documents,” he wrote.
“Nobody in the firm got to see the original statements,” Mueller claimed. “I would have somebody fax or e-mail a copy of the statement I did. They had no way of knowing it was false.”
A court hearing on the civil lawsuit is scheduled for May 6. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is assisting in the probe.
Jan 23 2015 | 1:00pm ET
In our new section, FINtech Focus, we will profile one of these firms each week. While fintech is a broad category, we will be focusing on firms that specifically cater to the alternative investment industry. Read more…