Assistant Charged With Theft Says Boss Was No Hedge Fund Manager

Apr 13 2012 | 11:06am ET

Hedge fund manager Todd Meister is lying about more than the $900,000 he says his former assistant stole from him.

Meister—better known as the son of former Aon Group executive Robert Meister, the ex-husband of socialite Nicky Hilton and now as an alleged fraud victim than as a money manager—isn't just lying about the first part of the latter description, his former personal assistant's lawyer says. He's lying about the second.

According to Marc Agnifilo, the lawyer for Renata Shamrakova, Meister is not a hedge fund manager, merely a spoiled rich kid who wasn't ripped off by his assistant, but who was buying things for the woman he was sleeping with.

"It is patently implausible that a successful, experienced hedge fund manager of the type Meister portrayed himself to be… would have his company's finances in this state of disrepair and inattention," Agnifilo wrote.

What's more, "Todd Meister was not actively managing a hedge fund and aside from money directed to him by members of his family, he conducted virtually no hedge fund business whatsoever during" the 10 months that Shamrakova worked for him.

Despite those damning accusations, Agnifilo was unable to convince New York State Judge Bart Stone to force Meister to hand over his financial records, e-mails, text messages and other personal communications for the period covering Shamrakova's employment.

What's more, prosecutors said, they have offered to meet with the defendant to discuss her claims that she had a sexual relationship with Meister, but "to date, the defendant has opted not to meet with the district attorney," prosecutor Cory Jacobs said.

Shamrakova worked for Meister until January. Prosecutors have charged her with grand larceny, alleging that she and her boyfriend opened a pair of American Express cards in Meister's name and racked up the bills for vacations all around the world and on thousands of pieces of jewelry for an online business they ran. She faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.

For his part, Meister denied the allegations about his professional life.

"Mr. Meister was the co-founder and owner of Pride Rock Management which managed over $2 billion," a spokesman told the New York Daily News. "Pride Rock was one of the leading hedge funds in the country with annual returns in excess of $20 million for a six-year period."

"He is currently a significant equity owner and director of Lone Star Resources, an energy company in Texas, and a partner in Green Partners, an alternative private equity energy investment firm."

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