A 39-year-old Bronxville man has been charged with securities and wire fraud in connection to an alleged scheme to bilk a charitable foundation and other investors out of more than $95 million.
Andrew Caspersen, while working as a partner with a private equity firm, used his position between July 2015 and March to solicit a nearly $25 million investment from a charitable foundation by falsely claiming he had authority to do so on his employer's behalf, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
Caspersen ultimately squandered the money in a series of poor investments made through his personal brokerage account, Bhahara said, adding that the 39-year-old, in the lead up to his arrest, "fraudulently attempted to solicit an additional $20 million investment from the same charitable foundation and a $50 million investment from another multinational private equity firm headquartered in New York."
In a separate action, Caspersen also faces civil charges filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Bharara said.
“Andrew Caspersen, a partner at a major financial advisory firm, allegedly scammed his clients into investing tens of millions in sham private equity investments. 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," Bharara said in a statement Monday. "When confronted by a suspicious client who had invested $25 million, Caspersen had no good answers. He will now have to answer to federal securities and wire fraud charges.”
According to a criminal complaint, Caspersen emailed an individual with the charitable organization in October, claiming he had a "new investment" in which he planned to personally invest. Over the course of a few days, Caspersen informed the investor that his employer was creating an $80 million credit facility to facilitate investments in the private equity secondary market.
On Nov. 5, the unnamed individual wired $400,000 of his personal money and oversaw the wiring of $24.6 million of the charity's money into an account set up by Caspersen, according to the complaint. The next day, Caspersen wired $17.6 million of the invested money into his personal brokerage account and began making "largely unprofitable securities transactions," according to the complaint.
The Bronxville man continued to solicit investments, according to authorities. On March 1, he again reached out to the original investor, seeking another $20 million while claiming that he and his family were making an additional $5 million investment, according to the complaint. On March 8, he attempted to solicit a $50 million investment from another firm, according to complaint.
On March 7, the individual with the charitable group told Caspersen that he wanted the original $25 million investment back. Caspersen said the investment would be returned at the end of the month, according to the complaint. Neither the alleged victim nor the charitable organization has received their money, according to the complaint.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Caspersen is a son of Finn M.W. Caspersen Sr., who once was chairman and chief executive of Beneficial Corp., then one of the nation’s largest consumer finance companies.
The younger Caspersen was arrested Saturday at La Guardia Airport and was released on a $5 million bail package, according to the Journal.
Andrew Caspersen has been charged with one count of securities fraud and one count of wire fraud, according to Bharara. If found guilty on both counts, he could face up to 40 years in prison and fines of $5 million or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.