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Oklahoma hedge fund manager admits lying


Date: Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Author: Nolan Clay, Newsok.com

Federal regulators have accused an Oklahoma hedge fund manager of cheating and deceiving investors who gave him more than $34 million to trade for them in commodity futures contracts.

The manager, Mark S. Trimble of Edmond, reported making millions of dollars in trading profits when the hedge fund actually lost millions, regulators said.

He admitted lying to investors about their losses, regulators said.

 

Ice cold assets
A judge in Oklahoma City on Tuesday froze the assets of Trimble and Phidippides Capital Management. U.S. District Judge Timothy DeGiusti acted at the request of the regulatory agency, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

"Through the swift action ... millions of dollars have been frozen, which ultimately we will seek to return to the victims Trimble deceived by his scheme,” said Stephen J. Obie, an enforcement director with the commission.

The FBI is also investigating Trimble. Regulators said 60 investors were involved. Phidippides Capital Management has offices in Oklahoma City.

In a civil complaint, the regulators allege Trimble issued false statements to investors since at least October 2007 to hide substantial losses. Regulators also allege he and his company "paid themselves more than $1 million in fees ... based upon inflated profits.”

 

Possible Ponzi scheme
Trimble also is accused in the civil complaint of paying some investors "profits” from the funds of other investors — a type of fraud known as a Ponzi scheme. Regulators allege Trimble cannot explain what happened to $2.2 million that he accepted from investors.

In a January note addressed to family, friends and clients, Trimble wrote: "The reason our balances are off is because I could not look myself in the mirror and face all of you and notify you that in the last quarter of 2008 we lost all the profits for the year and then some. ... I now feel that I have made some very bad decisions and could be facing criminal charges for my actions.”

The note — sent to his brokerage firm — was an exhibit in the civil complaint. Trimble denied taking investors’ funds for personal use.

He wrote: "Psychologically my pride, ego, shame, disappointment and feeling of total failure kept me from being honest about our losses in the last quarter.”

His attorney, Mack Martin, said Trimble stopped trading voluntarily after he began cooperating with authorities several weeks ago.

"We will make the appropriate response in the appropriate forum at the appropriate time,” the attorney said.