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Alternative Market Briefing

SEC freezes the assets of investment adviser who disappears in Georgia

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Bailey McCann, Opalesque, New York: The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has frozen the assets of an Georgia-based investment adviser who has disappeared after orchestrating a $40m fraud. The SEC alleges that Aubrey Lee Price raised money from more than 100 investors living primarily in Georgia and Florida by selling shares in an unregistered investment fund (PFG) that he managed.

According to the the complaint, when he started the fund, Price told investors that their money would be allocated to securities but instead made investments in illiquid South American real estate and a local bank that was already in financial trouble at the time of the investment. PFG was originally marketed to investors as a low-volatility equities focused fund, and an initial investment of over $36m was placed into a securities trading accont with a broker-dealer, however, the account suffered major losses. The complaint alleges that money was also frequently transferred from the broker-dealer account to the fund's main operating account, and false financial statements were prepared for investors claiming returns and allocations that did not exist.

"Price raised nearly $40 million from investors and made woeful financial transactions that he hid from them," said William P. Hicks, Associate Director of the SEC’s Atlanta Regional Office. "Now both the money and Price, are missing."

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