Hedge Fund Managers Assert ‘Duped’ Investors Were More Sophisticated Than Claimed

    Hedge Fund Expert WitnessThis case involves a group of defendants in Ohio who acted as fiduciaries and investment advisors to plaintiffs who assert they were conservative investors who trusted the defendants with most of their assets. The plaintiffs in this case alleged that the defendants breached their fiduciary duties by falsely and deceptively marketing, promoting, and recommending that the plaintiffs invest large sums of money in hedge funds managed and operated by them and others, including their consultant and business partner.

    The defendants, as well as their business partner, had financial interests in each other’s funds. One fund that the defendants recommended the plaintiffs invest in purportedly used a “proprietary strategy” involving an active, controlled, and complex investment formula whereby investors’ money was equally “long” and “short” in order to stabilize investment returns and protect against dramatic market fluctuations. The plaintiffs asserted that the fund never employed a proprietary trading strategy, and, in fact, employed no investment strategy and engaged in no trading of securities whatsoever. Rather, plaintiffs alleged it was nothing more than a “feeder fund” that simply funneled investors’ money to a large-scale Ponzi scheme run by a single manager. Further, the fund extracted hefty “management fees” from investors for doing virtually nothing with their money. The plaintiffs assert that they were denied the ability to control their money, and they lost their entire investment — nearly half of their assets — when the scheme was revealed.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. What evidence exists that the plaintiffs were conservative, unsophisticated investors?
    • 2. What investment losses outside of defendants’ funds did they incur?

    Expert Witness Response

    The plaintiffs portray themselves as conservative investors who were led astray by defendants’ fraudulent misrepresentations. They assert that, but for the fraud, they would have happily continued to invest in municipal bonds instead of purchasing interest in the defendants’ fund.

    After analyzing several other investments made by the plaintiffs between 2002 and 2008, I conclude that, in addition to the investments plaintiffs made in the defendants’ funds, they also made considerable investments in separate, sophisticated investment vehicles — totally unrelated to the defendants, that were nothing equivalent to municipal bonds. In fact, those investments carried considerable risk. These investments also resulted in significant losses — nearly a half million dollars and almost twice as much as they lost in the defendants’ fund.

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