(Bloomberg News) Brian Kim, a former hedge-fund manager at Liquid Capital Management, pleaded not guilty to charges that he ran a $6 million Ponzi scheme.
Kim entered the plea today in state Supreme Court in Manhattan today, also pleading not guilty to a charge of bail jumping, for allegedly fleeing to Hong Kong.
Kim and his firm ran a pyramid scheme worth $6 million, according to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance. From 2003 to February 2011, Kim told clients they were investing in safe and stable securities while he generated losses trading highly speculative futures contracts and diverted money to himself, Vance said. He created fake monthly performance statements to conceal the scheme from at least 45 victims, according to prosecutors.
Kim and his employees told prospective clients the fund had generated returns of more than 240 percent, and he covered up losses by making new investments look like profits, according to a complaint from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which also sued Kim and Liquid Capital in February.
Shopping trips to Coach Inc. and Barneys New York Inc. in New York, skiing in Vermont and excursions to Atlantic City, New Jersey, were funded by improper withdrawals from the fund, the CFTC said.
The criminal case is People v. Brian Kim, 2011/86, New York state Supreme Court (Manhattan). The federal lawsuit is U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Brian Kim, 11-1013, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).