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SEC Busts NY Investment Advisers

MANHATTAN (CN) - The SEC accused three investment firms and four of their top officers with fraud, misuse of clients' assets and other securities violations involving their $66 million advisory business. West End Financial Advisors, its president Kevin Kramer, its investment adviser William Landberg misled clients after West End got into financial problems "stemming from Landberg's failed investment strategies," the SEC said in announcing its lawsuit.

Also sued are West End Capital Management LLC, Sentinel Investment Management Corporation, West End's CFO Steven Gould and its Controller Janis Barsuk.

"When starved for cash to meet obligations of the West End funds or for his personal needs, Landberg misused investor assets, fraudulently obtained more than $8.5 million from a bank, and used millions of dollars from an interest reserve account for unauthorized purposes," the SEC said in a statement. It said the investment advisers "misappropriated and commingled their clients' assets and sustained the illusion of a viable and successful business through a range of false representations."

The SEC seeks penalties, disgorgement, a court-appointed monitor and an injunction and restraining order.

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