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Westchester Man Pleads Guilty To Defrauding Investors Of $38M

Andrew Caspersen pled guilty in federal court Wednesday.
Andrew Caspersen pled guilty in federal court Wednesday. Photo Credit: Dow Jones Events Flickr

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. -- Bronxville resident Andrew Caspersen pled guilty in federal court on Wednesday, to defrauding investors of over $38 million and misappropriating more than $8 million from his former employer.

Caspersen, 39, pled guilty to one count of securities fraud and one count of wire fraud before U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff. Each carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison.

"Andrew Caspersen's guilty plea today closes a sad chapter in a tale of deception and betrayal," said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

"Parlaying his privileged background, Caspersen concocted a wild fraud scheme that involved made-up private equity ventures, fake email addresses and fictional financiers. Through a litany of lies, Caspersen took millions from unwitting investors, including some of his own family and friends."

According to the allegations, Caspersen engaged in a Ponzi-like scheme, beginning in November 2014. He solicited investments, claiming that investors would see a 15-20 percent rate of return. He attempted to defraud more than a dozen investors of nearly $150 million, and investors wired a total of approximately $38.5 million, in approximately 18 payments.

But instead of investing the funds, Caspersen used them for other purposes, including making securities trades in his own brokerage account and making periodic interest payments to earlier investors.

At one point, his brokerage account contained approximately $112.8 million in cash -- with which he could have repaid all of his investors -- but he continued trading and lost approximately $108.2 million in options trading.

Caspersen was employed in the secondary advisory group at Park Hill Group from January 2013 through March 2016. In July 2015, he opened a bank account named "PHG Operating LLC" and instructed a company to wire $8.1 million, as payment for work Park Hill Group had done. Months later, he transferred $8.1 million into a real Park Hill Group account -- money traceable to funds that he'd obtained by defrauding investors.

Caspersen's sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 2.

These charges were brought in connection with the president’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to aggressively investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys' offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud.

Since fiscal year 2009, the Justice Department has filed over 18,000 financial fraud cases against more than 25,000 defendants. For more information on the task force, visit its website.

For more details on the case, read this March Daily Voice article.

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