Hedge Fund Founder Charged For Operating Ponzi Scheme - Essay Example

The founder of several hedge funds, Hemut Kiener, 53, is currently facing charged for defrauding investors in Philadelphia. He is already serving 10 years in a German prison for defrauding investors of nearly $500 million.

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He controlled a number of hedgefunds including K1 Global Limited, Oceanus, Mezzanine and K1 Invest. According to federal prosecutors, Kiener misused $311 million in a Ponzi scheme that he used to pay for a luxurious lifestyle. Some popular victims of Kiener’s ponzi scheme: Bear Stearns which lost $82 million to Kiener for three years until the financial institution went belly up in 2008, Barclays Bank which lost $137 million and BNP Paribas which lost $13.4 million.

Kiener, who was a psychologist in the past, spent most of the money for a luxurious lifestyle. He bought a $21 million oceanfront estate in Delray Beach, several cars including a Bentley, a Mercedes and a Maybach, two luxury watercraft, and over $8 million in improvements to his other properties. It seems like he also fell in love with air crafts: He bought a Bombardier executive jet in July 2007 for $37.1 million, a Bell helicopter in November 2007 for $4.8 million, and a short-range aircraft purchased in July 2008 for $4.5 million.

In his scheme, Kiener convinced the banks to invest at least $100 million in two offshore funds. Instead of working with the money for increasing the capital, Kiener laundered the money through a third-party which routed the money back to K1 Global, creating the impression that the funds were actually very profitable, according to the indictment.

A German court last year found Kiener guilty of fraud, forgery and tax evasion for his ponzi scheme. Several associates also received prison time, one committed suicide because he feared the arrest. In February 8, Kiener was charged in an information with four counts of wire fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and three counts of money laundering in Philadelphia. The charges were filed in Philadelphia because of its connection with another major money laundering scheme, prosecutors said.

If found guilty, Kiener faces a maximum sentence of 200 years in prison, restitution, and a maximum possible fine of $7.936 million. According to Bloomber News, Kiener said after the German verdict: ”My problem was that I didn’t have the courage to end it all earlier, now I have to pay for it.”