Conn. Charges Alleged Hedge Fund Scammer

Feb 22 2008 | 12:59am ET

An alleged hedge fund fraudster has been arrested and charged with stealing tens of thousands of dollars from his investors.

Vernon Watts, a former Connecticut resident now living in Federal Way, Wash., allegedly stole almost $60,000 from four fellow Nutmeg Staters who invested in his Artist Kiosk hedge fund. Each of the victims lost between $10,000 and $20,000, Connecticut prosecutors say, as Watts frittered away the fund’s $85,000 in assets on bad investments and personal expenses.

Watts’ alleged scam, which ran from 2004 to 2005, was foiled when one of his investor-victims filed a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

He has been charged with larceny, securities violations and failing to register as an investment adviser. If convicted, he faces up to 58 years in prison.

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