The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has won a court order to stop a former Marine who allegedly defrauded fellow military veterans while masquerading as a successful hedge fund manager.
Clayton A. Cohn of Chicago and his hedge fund management firm, Market Action Advisors, fraudulently raised nearly $1.8 million from investors through Market Action Capital Management, a hedge fund he managed, according to an SEC complaint filed in federal District Court in Chicago.
Cohn lied to investors about his success as a trader, the performance of the hedge fund, his use of investor proceeds and his personal stake in the hedge fund, according to the SEC, which added that Cohn invested less than half of the money raised from investors and lost of most of what he did invest. He used at least $400,000 for personal expenses such as a Hollywood mansion, luxury automobile and extravagant tabs at high-end nightclubs, according to the complaint.
He used his lavish lifestyle to carefully contrive the image of a successful trader and investor, when in reality he lost nearly all of the money invested through the hedge fund, according to the SEC. Cohn hid his activities with fake account statements showing annual returns exceeding 200 percent for 2012, according to the SEC.
The federal court granted the SEC’s request for emergency relief including a temporary restraining order and asset freeze. The SEC is seeking a permanent injunction, restitution of the funds and financial penalties.