Julio Ramirez, a former employee of placement agent Wetherly Capital Group, was named in an amended SEC complaint in connection with an allegedly fraudulent kickback scheme involving the New York State Common Retirement Fund.
Mr. Ramirez has already pleaded guilty in New York Supreme Court to securities fraud involving pay-to-play arrangements he was accused of making with Henry Hank Morris to place private equity investments of the $122 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany, confirmed a spokeswoman for state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.
Mr. Ramirez pleaded guilty March 5, but the records were unsealed Monday, the spokeswoman said.
Between 2003 and 2006, Mr. Ramirez entered into fee splitting arrangements with Mr. Morris to secure New York state pension fund commitments for FS Equity Partners V, Ares Corporate Opportunities Fund II and the Aldus/NY Emerging Fund, according to a news release from Mr. Cuomos office issued today. Mr. Ramirez also concealed Mr. Morris role from the pension funds investment staff and the general partners of the FS and Ares funds, the news release said.
Between mid-2005 and end of March this year, Mr. Ramirez worked for Park Hill, the placement agent subsidiary of private equity firm Blackstone Groups placement agent subsidiary, confirmed Peter Rose, spokesman for Park Hill and Blackstone. Park Hill in its own investigation found that Mr. Ramirez did not violate Park Hills standards of conduct nor evaded internal controls, Mr. Rose said.
Mr. Ramirez was an employee of Wetherly, and he recommended that Wetherly retain Mr. Morris as a consultant to assist in the firms marketing efforts on behalf of certain clients, according to a spokesman from Wetherly.
The principals of Wetherly first met Morris through Ramirez, and subsequently had limited interactions with him. Ramirez was Wetherlys principal contact with Morris. Ramirez and Wetherly went separate ways in February 2005. Wetherly has had no business dealings with Ramirez since that time, according to the statement.
Separately, Wetherly Capitals spokesman confirmed that Wetherly is one of many parties to receive information requests from Mr. Cuomos office.
We are fully cooperating with the attorney generals investigation and are confident that investigation will confirm Wetherly has engaged in no wrongdoing, he stated.