Massachusetts Brings Charges Against a Hedge Fund

You need to worry about more than just the Securities and Exchange Commission when it comes to private fund fraud. State securities regulators generally have the ability to bring fraud charges. Case in point is the Massachusetts’ Secretary of the Commonwealth bringing charges against Risk Reward Capital Management, RRC Management, the RRC Bio Fund and James A. Silverman.

William F. Galvin’s office moved against the parties because the fund allegedly used the “expert network” firm, Guidepoint Global LLC, to gain inappropriate information about clinical trials for biotech drugs.

“The first year returns for the Fund were poor, losing 16.9% of its value. In early 2008 Silverman began to pay $80,000.00 a year from the Fund’s assets to retain the services of Guidepoint Global LLC, (“Guidepoint”) a so-called “expert network” firm, in an effort to make the hedge fund more profitable. With access to Guidepoint, the Fund began a dramatic resurgence, generating returns of over 55% in 2009 and 52% in 2010. These returns were generated, at least in part, upon Silverman’s receipt of material non-public information he received through Guidepoint consultations.”

The complaint focuses on two public companies for which Silverman received non-public information through Guidepoint consultants: Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc.

The complaint lays out in detail how the government sees an “expert network” in operation and how it breaks the law.

The Secretary of the Commonwealth is looking not just at the misuse of the information, but also administrative violations of the Massachusetts’ Uniform Securities Act

The Division’s books and records review of Risk Reward also uncovered a widespread pattern of non-compliance with the Act and the Regulations. The Division uncovered violations of minimum financial requirements, document retention requirements, and a myriad of dishonest and unethical business practices, including improper assessment of performance-based fees. The Division observed a disorderly office appearance during the on-site Examination. In addition to leaving client documents including sensitive financial information laying about on tables, chairs, sofas and floors, the Division discovered that the office doors did not lock, leaving client data vulnerable.

This action was brought pursuant to the enforcement authority under M.G.L. c. 110A §§204 and 407A. You may have notice that the operative agency is the Secretary of the Commonwealth, not the Secretary of State. Massachusetts is a commonwealth, not a state. Not that there is a difference.