Fraudster Illarramendi Banned For Running Ponzi Scheme

Aug 4 2011 | 12:56pm ET

Admitted hedge fund fraudster Francisco Illarramendi has accepted a lifetime ban from the securities industry, the Securities and Exchange Commission said.

Facing up to 70 years in prison, Illarramendi, who pleaded guilty in March to running a $540 million Ponzi scheme, may figure he won't be needing the work, anyway: The SEC said it accepted his offer of a lifetime ban.

Illarramendi pleaded guilty to charges that he misappropriated more than $50 million invested in his Michael Kenwood Group and Highview Point Partners. He admitted that he engaged a pair of Venezuelans to provide a bogus letter from an accountant in that country verifying the existence of $275 million in imaginary assets.

Among the victims of Illarramendi's fraud was the pension fund for employees of Venezuela's state-owned oil company.

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