Andrew Caspersen, 39, charged with defrauding investors of $25million and trying to get $95million Partner in PJT Partners
Princeton and Harvard Law educated executive scammed clients into investing in non-existent portfolios
Created and made up web domain and emails to support fake investments
Put $25million in a personal account and lost it all on risky trades
Arrested on Saturday at an airport out on $5million bail
Terminated from his job at PJT partners who claim they are “stunned and outraged.” Faces up to 40 years in prison
An Ivy League-educated former executive at a New York investment bank was arrested Monday on charges he tried to defraud investors of more than $95 million as he led what a prosecutor called a ‘shameful charade’ to cover his tracks.
Prosecutors said Andrew Caspersen, 39, only got away with $25 million, which he then lost.
He was charged in Manhattan federal court with securities and wire fraud after his Saturday arrest and released on bail.
He’s accused of scamming clients of PJT Partners Inc. into investing millions of dollars in sham private equity investments from July through March.
After an initial court appearance, he was released on $5 million bail, ordered by the judge to have a psychological evaluation and left court holding hands with his wife.
Dan Levy, a lawyer for Caspersen, declined comment outside court.
Caspersen has homes in New York City and suburban Bronxville, New York.
Caspersen’s father Finn, pictured, a noted philanthropist, killed himself with a gunshot to the head in 2009
He is the son of Finn M.W. Caspersen, who was a prominent philanthropist and former chief executive of the financial services firm Beneficial Corp.
The elder Caspersen, once worth hundreds of millions of dollars, was found dead in 2009 of a self-inflicted gunshot in a Rhode Island beach community where he had a home.
The family also had homes in Jupiter Island, Florida, and the horse country of New Jersey.
That shocking suicide was the subject of a 2010 Vanity Fair article, which detailed his life of privilege and excess – even riding horses with the royals at Windsor castle.
PJT Partners released a statement saying it was ‘stunned and outraged’ to discover the fraud while Caspersen was a partner in its Park Hill Group.
It said it referred the matter to federal prosecuters after learning fact suggesting improper behavior.
‘To advance his $95 million fraud scheme, Caspersen allegedly put on a shameful charade — creating fake email addresses, setting up misleading domain names, and inventing fictional financiers,’ U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a press statement.
‘When confronted by a suspicious client who had invested $25 million,The sham investment for which money was solicitied was an entity called Irving Place III SPV, which was intentionally similar to Irving Place Capital Partners III SPV, which is an legitimate private-equity fund.
The Securities and Exchange Commission also filed civil charges against Caspersen, seeking a return of ill-gotten gains with interest and monetary penalties.
It said that after graduating from Princeton University in 1999 and Harvard Law School in 2002, Caspersen was a principal at a private equity firm in London before he became a managing principal in January 2013 at the New York firm.
‘As alleged, Caspersen engaged in a brazen fraud by raising money under false pretenses and simply stealing the funds,’ said Andrew M. Calamari, director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office.
‘This action amply demonstrates that even sophisticated institutional investors are not immune to financial scams.’
Prosecutors said Caspersen fraudulently solicited investors by promising investments would be safe, all while he converted their money to his own use without their authorization.
If convicted, Caspersen could face up to 40 years in prison. He was released on $5million bail
They said he used a portion of nearly $25 million from a charitable foundation to trade securities in his personal brokerage account, only to lose most of the money through aggressive options trading.
He used the rest to cover losses from money he had already allegedly stolen.
The foundation has not gotten back any of the money, prosecutors added.
Before his arrest, Caspersen tried to solicit an additional $20 million from the same charitable foundation and a $50 million investment from another multinational private equity firm headquartered in New York, the government said.
He was arrested on March 26 at New York’s Laguardia’s airport.
If convicted of both charges, Caspersen could face up to 40 years in prison.
Caspersen is the youngest of four sons, all of whom graduated Harvard Law. Their father donated $30million to the school, also his alma mater, a few years before his death.
He lost his college girlfriend in the World Trade Center on 9/11, and spoke movingly of her in the New York Times Portraits of Grief in October 2001. His brother Sam provided legal counsel to the 9/11 Commission. He has since married.