Tuesday, September 26, 2023
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Attorneys’ Fees for Hedge Fund Fraudster Denied

WASHINGTON (CN) - A hedge fund manager who won access to some records related to the $62 million disgorgement and penalties he faces cannot recover attorneys' fees, a federal judge ruled.

The Securities and Exchange Commission had nailed Michael Lauer after a five-year investigation as "the architect of a massive billion dollar hedge fund fraud" in 2008.

Lauer, who hails from Greenwich, Conn., was found liable in the Southern District of Florida for violating federal securities laws as the head of two Connecticut-based companies, Lancer Management Group and Lancer Management Group II.

"Lauer raised more than $1.1 billion from investors and his fraudulent actions caused investor losses of approximately $500 million," the SEC said in 2008.

While unsuccessfully appealing those findings, Lauer sued the SEC under the Freedom of Information Act in 2012, seeking agency records detailing when the SEC authorized the investigation into him.

The SEC released a total of five pages in responsive documents, and Lauer's attorney David Dorsen claimed that the move entitled them to attorneys' fees.

Though U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell agreed that Dorsen had won the matter on behalf of his client, the judge ruled that a reward is not in line "because the plaintiff acknowledges Lauer's commercial and personal interests in obtaining the requested documents, and the defendant's initial withholding was reasonable."

The ruling notes that Lauer was ordered to pay $62,596,807.74 in 2008 in disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and a civil penalty. The U.S. Supreme Court denied his petition for certiorari in October 2012.

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