Prosecutors: Scammer Targeted Hedge Fund Principals

Oct 31 2011 | 8:41am ET

A New Jersey man has been charged with running a $200 million Ponzi scheme that targeted hedge fund principals.

Eliyahu Weinstein got his start scamming his fellow Orthodox Jews in 2004, prosecutors allege. But last year—a year in which he was arrested, in August—he expanded his targets to include hedge fund principals.

Prosecutors say that Weinstein, who was indicted along with an alleged co-conspirator, Vladimir Siforov, who is a fugitive, used the money he raised on art, cars, gambling, jewelry and his legal bills; indeed, according to the indictment, Weinstein continued to raise money even after being released on $10 million bail last year.

Weinstein allegedly told investors that he'd put their money into, among other things, real estate in a Georgia town called Trotwood—a town that doesn't exist. And, when confronted by angry clients, Weinstein frequently resorted to profanity, telling a representative for one, who invested $70 million, that he and the client's wife had something in common: "We both fucked you."

Another, who invested about $1.1 million, received a less-nuanced reply when she demanded he "send the money."

"Fuck you," was the response.

A lawyer for Weinstein said his client intends to plead not guilty. If convicted, Weinstein faces decades in prison on the 44 counts of fraud and money laundering.

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