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Accused HF Fraudster Molitor Dead in Crash


Date: Friday, August 24, 2007
Author: Jacob Bunge, Financial Correspondent, Lipper Hedgeworld

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (HedgeWorld.com)—Michael A. Molitor, a former hedge fund manager charged last spring with defrauding his investors, died Monday [Aug. 20] in a motorcycle accident in Dix Hills, N.Y. He was 41.

At the time of the accident, Mr. Molitor was traveling east on the Long Island Expressway Drive South when he collided with a guardrail, according to a report in Newsday. The crash occurred at 9:45 p.m. and the road's surface was wet.

He is survived by his wife, Michele, and a son, Michael Jr.

Mr. Molitor was arrested in late April on fraud charges related to his operation of the Columbia U.S. Growth Fund, a long/short equity hedge fund Previous HedgeWorld Story. According to an FBI investigation, Mr. Molitor misled investors about the performance of the fund while losing money and purchasing expensive automobiles with investors' assets.

The FBI was tipped off by one of these investors, who received a letter from Mr. Molitor in September 2006 explaining that the investor's entire $150,000 investment had been lost. Soon after the authorities were contacted, Mr. Molitor was served with two civil lawsuits alleging securities fraud, and several months later he was arrested on criminal charges. After pleading not guilty, he was released April 25 on $50,000 bail.

Mr. Molitor was represented in all proceedings by Peter Panaro, an attorney based in Massapequa, N.Y. Mr. Panaro did not return a call seeking comment.

Mr. Panaro also represented Mr. Molitor in 1999, when Mr. Molitor was found guilty of falsifying income tax returns as part of a business that helped college students secure financial aid. In that matter, Mr. Molitor served one year in federal prison.

JBunge@HedgeWorld.com