Andrew Caspersen, former managing principal and member of the secondaries group of Park Hill Group, pleaded guilty Wednesday to defrauding investors of more than $38 million and misappropriating more than $8 million from his former employer, according to a statement by Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Mr. Caspersen pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud and one count of wire fraud before U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff. Mr. Caspersen had been arrested in March and charged with securities and wire fraud in what Mr. Bharara's statement called a “Ponzi-like scheme” to defraud investors. He was dismissed in March from his job at Park Hill Group, which last October was spun off from Blackstone Group to financial advisory firm PJT Partners Inc.
Mr. Caspersen had created corporations with names that closely resembled legitimate private equity funds, according to Mr. Bharara's statement. These “fake funds” were shell companies. Mr. Caspersen misappropriated investor funds “from the fake fund accounts and converted them to his own use and use by others, including by using investor funds to meet Caspersen's periodic interest payment commitments to earlier investors,” the statement revealed.
“Andrew Caspersen's guilty plea today closes a sad chapter in a tale of deception and betrayal,” Mr. Bharara said in a written statement. “Parlaying his privileged background, Caspersen concocted a wild fraud scheme that involved made-up private equity ventures, fake e-mail addresses and fictional financiers. Through a litany of lies, Caspersen took millions from unwitting investors, including some of his own family and friends.”
Mr. Caspersen's sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 2.
PJT Partners spokeswoman Julie Oakes and Blackstone Group spokeswoman Christine Anderson declined to comment.