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Execs Siphoned Off $4.4 Million, SEC Says

WASHINGTON (CN) - Three top officers of New York City-based Vero Capital Management diverted $4.4 million of their customers' money to another business, the SEC claims in court.

The SEC on Monday sued Vero Capital Management LLC; its co-owner Robert Geiger, 55, of Wainscott, N.Y.; its co-owner and general counsel George Barbaresi, 60, of White Plains; and co-owner and CFO Steve Downey, 57, of Prospect, Ky.

The SEC claims that the defendants told investors they would "wind down" two funds that had invested in mortgage-backed securities, but diverted $4.4 million through "undocumented 'bridge loans'" to an affiliated company.

They never told the investors that, though, the SEC says. "In fact, in one instance they even lied to the funds' custodial bank to withdraw $800,000 from the funds' bank account to divert to the other company," the SEC said in a statement Monday.

The date of a hearing before an administrative law judge has not yet been set.


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