A fugitive hedge fund manager who more than five years ago fled the Spanish island of Mallorca with $500,000 hidden in his underwear and luggage faces U.S. charges after his arrest at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Bloomberg reports that Florian Wilhelm Jurgen Homm, 53, was taken into custody by Italian police at 12:30 p.m. on March 8 at the world famous museum that houses Sandro Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Leonardo da Vinci’s Annunciation.
The arrest, by Homm’s own account as well as that of U.S. prosecutors, followed his 2007 decision to leave behind a life of wealth, castles and 'bimbos'. During his escape, he held a Liberian diplomatic passport as well as German and Irish passports, according to the FBI.
Homm is accused in a criminal complaint filed March 6 in federal court in Los Angeles of defrauding investors in hedge funds he controlled, causing $200m in losses. He is charged with four counts of conspiracy, wire fraud and securities fraud. He faces as long as 75 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
The founder and former chief investment officer of Absolute Capital Management Holdings Ltd. is accused of 'cross trading' billions of shares of penny stocks between the company’s funds to boost the value of the otherwise illiquid stocks.
The trades, through a Los Angeles-based broker-dealer that Homm co-owned, generated fees for Homm and Absolute Capital and also inflated the price of Absolute Capital’s shares, U.S. prosecutors said. Homm 'dumped' his shares and resigned from Absolute Capital on September 18th, 2007, 'in the middle of the night', according to the U.S.
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