Michael T. Seabolt, an investment manager in Wellington, Fla., has been barred from the financial industry by the Securities and Exchange Commission for his involvement in a financial fraud that had ties to Bernie Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme, the SEC announced Monday.
Seabolt, who agreed to the settlement with the SEC without admitting guilt, also was ordered to pay $426,000 in disgorgement, penalties and interest.
Between 2004 and 2012 Seabolt was the United States sales person for a company known as Private International Wealth Management, or PIWM, that was operated by Nikolai Battoo of Switzerland. In an earlier SEC action, Battoo was barred from the financial industry and ordered to pay $358 million in disgorgement, penalties and interest.
Seabolt learned in late 2008 that Battoo’s hedge funds and the PIWM investment program had significant exposure to leveraged investments in the Madoff Ponzi scheme and in a failed derivative investment program, the complaint says.
However, he did not inform investors of these facts and continued to tout the supposed strong performance of Battoo’s PIWM investment program to prospective and existing investors. He distributed account statements, marketing material and other documents misrepresenting the performance and value of the investors’ holdings.
Seabolt was instrumental in obtaining investments for Battoo’s funds and PIWM and often traveled with Battoo to make presentations to potential investors. Battoo maintained that his funds had minimal exposure to Madoff’s investments, when in fact some PIWM portfolios had 28 percent exposure to Madoff investments, the SEC says.
Battoo told Seabolt of the massive loses incurred because of Madoff and because of the 2008 financial crisis, but said he would make up the money from his personal funds so that PIWM investors would not lose money. Seabolt did not try to verify Battoo’s ability to repay PIWM investors, nor did he relay any of this information to investors, the SEC says.
Seabolt continued until 20012 to send investors false account statements and false reports of PIWM’s strong performance, the SEC says.