Toomre Capital Markets LLC

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Fraudster Kirk Wright Checks Out

Toomre Capital Markets LLC ("TCM") has previously written about the hedge fund con artist Kirk S. Wright and his now-defunct Atlanta-based hedge fund management firm International Management Associates. (Interested readers might want to review the TCM posts entitled Update on Kirk Wright and IMA hedge fund fraud scandal or Kirk Wright, IMA Hedge Fund Manager, Arrested in Miami Beach.)

According to The International Herald Tribune, on Wednesday May 21st 2008, this con artist was convicted in Atlanta Federal court of many fraud counts that effectively would lead to spending the rest of his life in Federal prison upon sentencing. From the article,

According to authorities, Wright and his company collected more than $150 million spread across thousands of client accounts since 1997 and used false statements and documents to mislead some of them to believe the value of those investments was increasing. Much of that money is missing.

Prosecutors said Wright had been lying to his investors since at least 2001 about their investments' performance and the balances in their accounts. He reported substantial investment gains almost every month; the evidence revealed that he lost almost every dollar invested in the market, prosecutors said.

They said he diverted millions of dollars of investor's money for personal expenses, including cash for himself and family members, jewelry, house renovations, a $500,000 wedding, up to six luxury vehicles, and multiple pieces of real estate, mainly in Atlanta and California….

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta, Wright could receive a maximum sentence of 710 years in prison, a fine of up to $16 million and be ordered to pay restitution to the victims. He already has been hit with a $20 million judgment as part of a civil suit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Sentencing is set for Aug. 26.

Now, according to the May 26th edition of The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Mr. Wright will not be present for that sentencing date. The paper states "Kirk Wright lived fast but died alone in a Union City jail cell Saturday night. Wright, the Harvard-educated fund manager convicted last week in a fraud scheme that bilked investors out of tens of millions of dollars, hanged himself, an investigator with the Fulton County medical examiner's office said Sunday. The 37-year-old Marietta resident was found dead in the cell where he was being held while awaiting sentencing; his prison term was expected to be lengthy. No foul play by another person is suspected, and the man's death was a suicide, said Betty Honey of the Fulton medical examiner's office."

Apparently this con artist had no problem living the high life for several years while lying to his investors and those close to him. However, in the end, he demonstrated his true character and chickened out by checking out of life. The path of pain and misery he leaves in his narcissistic wake is truly amazing.

Toomre Capital Markets LLC hopes that there are not more such ultimately weak-kneed managers among the 10,000 or so hedge funds that have sprouted in the last two decades. Hopefully, those that might even consider "shading the books" or committing fraud might remember that this con artist faced a maximum sentence of 710 years! Wise readers will do well to report any suspicious activity so that such actions can be promptly investigated and not be allowed to fester for almost a decade as was the case with Kirk S. Wright and his International Management Associates.