UPDATE: ‘Christian’ Hedge Fund Fraudster Denied Bail

Mar 4 2008 | 1:16am ET

Steve Wilson, the California man charged with defrauding investors of more than $5 million in a hedge fund Ponzi scheme, has been denied bail.

A federal magistrate denied Wilson’s application for bail following his arrest on Sunday, agreeing that he is a flight risk.

“Wilson is facing 20 years in prison,” Robert Lapham, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, said. “He’s also got the prospect of lawsuits from 70” of his alleged victims.

According to an affidavit in support of the federal complaint, Wilson’s hedge fund, variously known as the Christians in Crisis Investment Fund, Shake the Nations and Opus Capital Holdings, collected some $9 million in investments, promising 24% annual returns in exchange for a one-year lockup period.

In fact, according to authorities, Wilson used about $2 million of the money raised between March 2006 and July 2007 to pay off investors. Of the remaining balance, he allegedly lost $5.1 million in trading on the fund’s Ameritrade brokerage account, and used $1.1 million for personal expenses, including a Porsche and pleasure boat.

Authorities say Wilson—a.k.a. Stefan Andre Wilson—changed his name to hide a fraud conviction and bankruptcy filing, and convinced some of his investors to refinance their homes in order to invest in his fund.

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