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Atlanta man accused of hedge fund scam
The SEC has accused an Atlanta hedge fund operator of defrauding his investors.
August 24, 2005: 10:19 AM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - An Atlanta hedge fund operator has been accused of using fake returns to lure investors and misappropriating the funds, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Barry Alan Bingham used false and misleading statements to lure investors into his Bingham Growth Partners L.P. fund, run through an unregistered investment adviser called Bingham Capital Management, according to an SEC complaint filed in U.S. district court in Georgia.

Bingham is alleged to have defrauded at least 22 investors from April 2001 to about November 2002, according to the SEC's complaint.

Bingham eventually collected $1.8 million in assets, but at least $460,000 of that money was raised using sales pitches containing false returns, the SEC charges.

By November 2002, the fund's assets had been completely drained, through a combination of Bingham's trading losses and his misappropriation of about $142,000 in assets, including $35,000 in client assets as "soft dollar credits" generated from the fund's trading commissions, according to the agency.

The SEC is seeking civil penalties and disgorgement of Bingham's ill-gotten gains.

Over the past five years, the SEC has filed 52 enforcement actions against hedge fund managers or managers purporting to run hedge funds.

The SEC cited a rising number of enforcement actions against hedge funds as one reason why it launched a two-year examination of hedge funds which ultimately resulted in a rule that will require hedge funds to register with the Commission starting in February 2006.

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