By Marlene Y. Satter
Peter A. Jenson, the former chief operating officer at Harbinger Capital Partners LLC, has agreed to settle charges brought by the SEC that he helped make it possible for the firm and its owner, Philip A. Falcone, to misappropriate millions of dollars from a hedge fund they managed to pay Falcone’s personal taxes.
Falcone and Harbinger were charged, along with Jenson, in a 2012 SEC action that not only included allegations of misappropriation of funds but also market manipulation and betrayal of clients. Falcone took $113.2 million in client funds to pay his taxes, ran an illegal “short squeeze” that manipulated bond prices so that he could punish a Wall Street financial services firm for shorting bonds, manipulated fund redemption to favor some investors over others and engaged in illegal trades, according to the government.
Jenson admitted in settling with the SEC that his informed cooperation enabled the scheme to go forward, and specified five separate ways he assisted Falcone and Harbinger.
The SEC charged that not only did Jenson fail to make sure that the hedge fund, Harbinger Capital Partners Special Situations Fund, had separate counsel to represent its interests, but that he didn’t bother to make sure that the loan was consistent with Falcone’s fiduciary obligations to the fund.
He failed to make sure that Falcone paid “above market” interest on the loan, nor did he disclose the existence of the loan to the investors.
Last but not least, he also failed to make sure that the lender accelerated Falcone’s payment on the loan once investors in the Special Situations Fund were allowed to redeem their investments.
Falcone and Harbinger settled with the SEC last year, admitting wrongdoing and paying more than $18 million. In also agreeing to settle, Jenson agreed to pay a penalty of $200,000 and also admit wrongdoing.
Originally published on BenefitsPro.com