Friday, January 28, 2011
The SEC today obtained a court order freezing the assets of a Stamford, Conn.-based investment adviser and its principal, Francisco Illarramendi, charging that they misappropriated at least $53 million in investor funds and used the money for self-dealing transactions. The SEC alleges that Illarramendi defrauded investors in the several hedge funds he managed by improperly transferring their money into bank accounts that he personally controlled. He then invested the money for his own benefit or for the benefit of the entities that he controlled, rather than for the benefit of the hedge fund investors.
According to the SEC's complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut on January 14, Illarramendi is the majority owner of the Michael Kenwood Group LLC — a holding company for, among other entities, investment adviser Michael Kenwood Capital Management LLC. Through this adviser entity, Illarramendi manages several hedge funds, including one that contains up to $540 million in assets. The SEC’s complaint alleges that Illarramendi took at least $53 million in investor money out of this hedge fund without the knowledge or consent of the hedge fund’s investors
The SEC sought an asset freeze and other emergency relief because it alleged that Illarramendi was imminently planning to make additional investments using investor funds without the knowledge or consent of the investors.