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SEC Gets Order Freezing Petters Settlement Money

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(credit: Sherburne County Jail)

(credit: Sherburne County Jail)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators have won a court order against a hedge fund manager they accuse of funneling hundreds of millions of dollars from investors in his funds to the $3.7 billion Ponzi scheme run by convicted Minnesota businessman Tom Petters.

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced Monday the order by a federal judge in Minneapolis against Connecticut fund manager Marlon Quan. The order issued Friday by the judge freezes about $14 million that Quan was to get from a court-appointed receiver in the Petters case to settle claims against Petters by investors in Quan’s funds, the agency said.

The SEC filed civil charges against Quan of violating the securities laws and aiding the Petters fraud.

The agency also says Quan negotiated an agreement with the receiver to “divert” the Petters settlement funds to him and others instead of to the swindled investors.

The SEC also is seeking unspecified restitution and penalties against Quan, who lives in Greenwich, Conn.

An attorney representing Quan didn’t have an immediate comment Monday.

Petters was convicted in 2009 on 20 counts of wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and conspiracy in one of the biggest Ponzi cases in recent years. He is serving a 50-year prison sentence but is appealing his conviction.

The SEC alleged that Quan collected more than $459 million from at least 165 investors in his hedge funds and funneled the majority of it, an amount it didn’t specify, to Petters from 2001 through September 2008. Quan made about $90 million in fees from investors in his funds whose money was transferred to Petters, the agency said. When Petters couldn’t make payments on the investments, Quan hid Petters’ defaults from the investors by fabricating transactions, according to the SEC.

At least two other investment firms funneled money to Petters’ empire, according to the regulators. Now-defunct Lancelot Investment Management, of Chicago, is said to have lost $1.5 billion in the scheme; its CEO pleaded guilty to wire fraud in 2009 and testified against Petters. Palm Beach Finance Partners, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., lost $1 billion and filed for bankruptcy protection.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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