A Chicago investment fund manager has been sent to prison for six years for paying for his lavish lifestyle with $11.3 million belonging to his family, friends and other clients, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and the SEC announced Tuesday.
Neal Goyal, 34, of Chicago ran a sophisticated Ponzi scheme with clients’ money, the U.S. Attorney says. He pleaded guilty in February to one count of wire fraud.
“Goyal was running a Ponzi scheme and he stole much of his investors’ money to prop up his extravagant lifestyle,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Yeadon argues in a sentencing memorandum. “There is no justification for the crimes that Goyal committed other than his own desire to place his own self-interests in front of the interests of his investors.”
Among the expenses funded with the money, were two baby clothing boutiques, the U.S. attorney says.
From 2006 to 2014, Goyal carried out his scheme by setting up a fake trading shop on Michigan Avenue in Chicago in order to fool his investors into believing that his trading strategy generated market-beating returns. Goyal concealed his scheme by using new investor money to repay earlier investors, and by creating and distributing false account statements. Many of the duped investors were Goyal’s friends and family members, the U.S. Attorney says.
In addition to being sentenced to prison, Goyal was ordered to repay $9.2 million to the victims. He fraudulently obtained $11.3 million from more than 40 investors, says the SEC, which filed a civil complaint against Goyal.
He concealed his fraud by creating phony account statements, the SEC says, which also named the two companies Goyal controlled, Caldera Advisors and Blue Horizon Asset Management, in the complaint.
The SEC froze the assets of Goyal and the two companies and is asking for disgorgement of funds and civil penalties.