SEC charges Minn. feeders in multi-billion dollar Petters Ponzi scheme

According to the SEC’s complaint, Fry, Palm, and Arrowhead hid the fact that Petters was on the verge of defaulting on certain of the notes held by the funds by engaging in a series of secret note extensions with Petters beginning around February 2008. While holding the Petters notes out as 90-day notes, the funds were holding a group of notes that were so far past due that they were on the verge of their 182-day default date. In order to hide that fact and help Petters avoid default, Fry, Palm, and Arrowhead secretly extended the due dates on these notes without ever informing investors in the funds.

The SEC alleges that Fry, Palm, and Arrowhead distributed pitch books to investors and potential investors that falsely represented that independent accountants were conducting quarterly examinations of the funds’ transaction procedures. In reality, no such examinations were conducted and Fry, Palm, and Arrowhead knew it.

The SEC’s complaint charges Fry, Palm, and Arrowhead, with violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and aiding and abetting violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The complaint charges Fry with direct violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder; charges Arrowhead LLC with violating Section 206(4) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and Rule 206-4(8) thereunder. The complaint charges Fry and Palm with aiding and abetting violations of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and Rule 206-4(8) thereunder. The SEC seeks entry of a court order of permanent injunction against Fry, Palm, and Arrowhead, as well as an order of disgorgement, including prejudgment interest and penalties.

Both Fry and Palm have been charged criminally in connection with the same misconduct. Palm pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud and one count of making false statements to SEC staff during investigative testimony. Fry pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of securities fraud, wire fraud, and making false statements to SEC staff during investigative testimony.

The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Michael D. Wells, Andrew P. O’Brien, Donald A. Ryba, and Peter K.M. Chan of the SEC’s Chicago Regional Office. The SEC’s litigation will be led by Daniel J. Hayes and John E. Birkenheier.

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