(Bloomberg) U.S. regulators accused Colorado investment advisor Neal Greenberg of misleading clients including retirees while marketing hedge funds that later had losses linked to Bernard Madoff's record Ponzi scheme.
Greenberg, 54, falsely portrayed three of his Agile Group hedge funds as "immensely" diversified and low-risk, even as they concentrated positions and used leverage, the Securities and Exchange Commission said in a civil complaint yesterday.
The funds held $174 million in investor capital when they suspended redemptions in September of 2008 following losses linked to an outside investment fraud, the agency said. Three months later, investors learned they also had lost money through investments linked to Madoff, the agency said. It didn't accuse Greenberg of knowing about either of those investment scams.
"Greenberg's unsuitable recommendations and misrepresentations deceived his advisory clients into believing their money was safe with him," said Donald Hoerl, director of the SEC's regional office in Denver, in a statement. Clients included "conservative investors who were dependent upon their investment income for some or all of their living expenses."
A call to Steven Feder, a Denver attorney representing Greenberg, wasn't immediately returned.
The agency also claimed the Agile funds collected at least $2 million from inadequately disclosed fees between 2003 and 2006. The complaint seeks an administrative hearing to consider seizing Greenberg's profits and imposing fines.
Madoff, whose scheme unraveled in December 2008, is serving a 150-year prison term after pleading guilty.