California Investment Adviser Faces Fraud Charges, SEC Suit

A San Francisco-based investment adviser faces federal criminal charges and a civil lawsuit by securities regulators for allegedly stealing more than $500,000 from an investor.

Hausmann-Alain Banet, chief executive officer of San Francisco-based Lion Capital Management Group, was arrested today and charged with wire and mail fraud and money laundering, according to an indictment unsealed in federal court. He was also sued today by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Banet, 49, allegedly took $544,000 from a client and falsely claimed that he invested it in a hedge fund. He created false account statements showing trading gains and spent the money on personal and business expenses, prosecutors in San Francisco said in an e-mail. Banet is in custody pending an Oct. 9 bail hearing, prosecutors said.

Jodi Linker, an attorney with the federal public defender’s office in San Francisco representing Banet, didn’t immediately return a voice-mail message seeking comment about the cases.

The criminal case is U.S. v. Banet, 12-715, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco). The SEC case is 12-5116, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

To contact the reporter on this story: Karen Gullo in San Francisco at kgullo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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