Louis Bacon Foundation Says It Was Duped by PJT's Caspersenby , , and
Foundation says it alerted PJT Partners to irregularities
Prosecutors accused Caspersen Monday of stealing $25 million
The charitable foundation of hedge-fund billionaire Louis Bacon said it fell victim to Andrew Caspersen, the Wall Street banker accused of stealing $25 million in an investment scam.
The Moore Charitable Foundation, which seeks to preserve and protect natural resources, said Caspersen lied about a potential investment, prompting an investigation that led to his arrest Monday on fraud charges.
Caspersen, 39, duped a foundation out of $24.6 million, while one of its investment advisers put up $400,000, according to U.S. prosecutors, who didn’t identify the entity. Prosecutors said Caspersen, who worked for PJT Partners Inc. until he was fired Monday, fraudulently tried to solicit an additional $20 million from the foundation and $50 million from a private-equity firm.
“The foundation was lied to by Andrew Caspersen” about “a potential investment related to the publicly announced restructuring of a private-equity fund,” the foundation said in a statement, which was reported earlier Tuesday by the New York Times.
Released on Bond
When the foundation “detected irregularities in a proposed follow-on deal,” it notified PJT’s general counsel and helped that firm investigate the matter, according to the statement. After PJT notified the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office, the foundation separately called prosecutors, according to the statement.
Caspersen appeared Monday in federal court, where he was released on a $5 million bond. He also was sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. His attorney, Dan Levy, didn’t return a call on Tuesday seeking comment.
Caspersen worked at PJT’s Park Hill unit, which helps clients including hedge funds, private equity firms and secondary funds raise capital.
Park Hill is "one of the most blue-chip of all third-party marketing firms," which would give an investor confidence in dealing with its executives, said Samuel Won, managing director of New York-based Global Risk Management Advisors. Typically, a first-time investment in a new vehicle undergoes close examination, he said.
The opportunity that Caspersen was pitching “sounded too good," Won said, pointing to the complaint’s description of 15 percent annual interest payments on guaranteed principal. “No matter how you slice it, I expect the information presented should have thrown up some red flags.”
Bacon, 59, founded New York-based hedge fund Moore Capital Management in 1989 to make wagers on macroeconomic events. An avid birdwatcher and conservationist, he started the foundation Moore Charitable Foundation in 1992. It focuses on protecting land, wildlife, habitat and water resources, and also donates to education, health and arts programs. The hedge-fund manager received the Audubon Medal in 2013 for his environmental advocacy and philanthropy.