The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it has charged New York-based investment adviser Premium Point Investments LP with inflating the value of private funds it advised by hundreds of millions of dollars. The SEC also charged Premium Point’s CEO and chief investment officer Anilesh Ahuja as well as Amin Majidi, a former partner and portfolio manager at the firm, and former trader Jeremy Shor.
According to the SEC’s complaint, the scheme ran from at least September 2015 through March 2016 and relied on a secret deal where in exchange for sending trades to a broker-dealer, Premium Point received inflated broker quotes for mortgage-backed securities (MBS). In addition, the defendants allegedly used “imputed” mid-point valuations, which were applied in a manner that further inflated the value of securities. This practice allegedly boosted the value of many of Premium Point’s MBS holdings and further exaggerated returns. The complaint alleges that the defendants overstated the funds’ value in order to conceal poor fund performance and attract and retain investors.
Investors rely on their investment advisers to fairly and accurately value securities, and that is especially true when the securities trade in opaque markets,” said Daniel Michael, Chief of the Enforcement Division’s Complex Financial Instruments Unit. “As we allege, Premium Point masked its true performance, which denied investors the opportunity to make informed investment decisions.
The SEC’s complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, charges the defendants with fraud, with aiding and abetting fraud, or both. The SEC complaint seeks permanent injunctions, return of allegedly ill-gotten gains with interest, and civil penalties.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, which conducted a parallel investigation of this matter, today announced charges against Ahuja, Majidi, and Shor.
The SEC’s investigation, which is continuing, was conducted by H. Gregory Baker and Brian Fitzpatrick of the Asset Management Unit, Osman Nawaz of the Complex Financial Instruments Unit, and Preethi Krishnamurthy of the New York Regional Office under the supervision of Mark D. Salzberg of the Asset Management Unit. The litigation is being conducted by Ms. Krishnamurthy, Mr. Baker, and Mr. Nawaz. The SEC acknowledges the assistance and cooperation of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI in this matter.