The investment adviser that manages a $10 billion portfolio for a billionaire investor has been caught manipulating the portfolio to make it appear that it’s safer than it really is, according to new disclosures.
The fund manager, James B. Zorn, who runs the Vanguard Group’s Emerging Markets Fund, has been charged with securities fraud and wire fraud.
The charges were announced Thursday by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Zorns lawyer, John C. Doss, said that the SEC was pursuing Zorn and his firm because the fund manager had failed to disclose the potentially criminal conduct to investors.
The SEC’s charges also say that Zorn “engaged in a scheme to commit securities fraud in the United States by engaging in a plan to manipulate, defraud and deceive the securities marketplace to benefit himself and other fund managers.”
The SEC also charged Zorn with wire fraud, which could lead to up to 10 years in prison.
ZORN is the former head of Vanguard’s Emerging Market fund.
Vanguard has faced a string of allegations of predatory trading in recent years, including its role in buying up large chunks of the financial industry in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.
Zeros portfolio was valued at $10.2 billion at the end of last year, according a report by The Wall Street Journal.
He also has an investment in a large hedge fund, which was valued by the Journal at $3.3 billion.
The report said that when Vanguard acquired the hedge fund in 2014, Zorn had invested roughly $600 million in it.
The hedge fund is run by a former top aide to President Donald Trump, David Ochsner.
The indictment charges that Zorns scheme involved Zorn taking the funds private by offering to sell them on the stock market, but Zorn did not tell investors that he was offering to buy the funds on the open market.
The Securities and Futures Commission is investigating.
The case is in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
In a statement, Vanguard said it had cooperated fully with the SEC.
The firm also said that it is committed to working with regulators and to fully cooperate with the commission as they continue their investigation.