WASHINGTON (HedgeWorld.com)–The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has settled fraud and failure-to-supervise charges against the manager of investments and the principal of the now defunct hedge fund Marque Millennium Group Inc., New York.
In their complaint, SEC officials said Robert T. Littell worked as the manager of investments for three hedge funds run by Marque Millennium Group: Marque Partners I, Marque Partners II and Marque Fund II Ltd. Wilfred J. Meckel was the founder and senior managing director of Marque Millennium Group and Mr. Littell’s boss.
Mr. Littell, commission officials charged, lied to investors, potential investors, brokers and third-party marketers about the funds’ performance, their management structure, whether they had retained an auditor and accountant and about the funds’ risk management techniques. He also improperly redeemed some investors’ capital, leaving the investors who remained in the funds with less in assets than they should have had Previous HedgeWorld Story.
Mr. Meckel failed to supervise properly Mr. Littell, according to the SEC complaint.
Messrs. Littell and Meckel agreed to settlements with the SEC, without admitting to or denying the commission’s findings. Mr. Littell agreed not to work with or as an investment adviser and to pay a US$15,000 civil penalty. Mr. Meckel was censured and agreed not to work in a supervisory role at an investment adviser firm for six months. Neither man returned calls seeking comment.
According to a statement from the SEC, in determining the penalties, commission officials considered that Mr. Littell gave back all of the US$590,000 in incentive fees he earned from the Marque Fund II Ltd. fund prior to large losses in late 1999, as well as profits he earned on the investment of those fees. Mr. Littell also submitted a sworn statement saying he was unable to make any further restitution.
Mr. Meckel personally repaid US$593,000 to investors in the Marque Partners I and II funds, which when combined with another US$535,172 repaid by another unnamed principal was more than enough to refund all management and incentive fees collected by Marque Millennium but not enough to refund the investors’ initial capital.
Marque Millennium Group was never registered with the SEC. The charges and settlement are the commission’s first against and with an unregistered hedge fund. Marque Millennium Group previously was the parent company for Marque Millennium Capital Management Ltd., New York, which is a registered investment adviser with the SEC and of which Mr. Meckel is co-founder and senior managing director.