A hedge fund manager has settled Securities and Exchange Commission charges that he misrepresented Pinnacle West, LLC and Sunquest Development, LLC as sound investments and, as a result, defrauded investors of almost $20 million. Mark Joseph Peterson Boucher will pay a $100,000 civil fine and will be barred from giving investment advice for five years. He also agreed to a permanent injunction from antifraud violations in the future.
Per the SEC’s complaint, the San Francisco-based hedge fund manager told clients that the real estate development companies did not have much debt and owned viable real property when, in fact, one of the companies did not own any property and the other company owned one property and had debts that exceeded potential profits. Along with the companies’ owners, Boucher was accused of using the invested funds for personal purposes. He is not agreeing to or denying the allegations by settling.
The SEC says that even though Boucher was not a registered investment adviser, he charged a fee to give clients advice. He is the author of the book The Hedge Fund on investing and the SEC says that he recommended the companies to clients in a newsletter that he owns.
Gary Paul Johnson, who owns 20% of Sunquest Development stock, also settled antifraud allegations. As part of his agreement with the SEC, Johnson will pay a $120,000 civil penalty, disgorge over $1.8 million in ill-gotten gains and about $700,000 in pre-judgment interest. Defendant and primary Pinnacle West owner John Earl Brake has not yet reached a settlement with the SEC.
SEC Charges Bay Area Investment Adviser, Others in Real Estate Investment Scam, SEC, August 27, 2008
Read the SEC Complaint (PDF)
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