The government has frozen the assets of Lawrence E. Penn III and his
firm, Camelot Acquisitions Secondary Opportunity Management, another
individual and three entities that may be related to the theft,
according to an SEC release.
The SEC alleges that Penn used about $9.3 million from the fund to
pay fake fees to Ssecurion, a company controlled by his longtime
acquaintance, San Francisco-based Altura S. Ewers, who would then
kick the money back to companies and accounts controlled by Penn.
Penn used the funds to rent luxury office space and pay commissions
to third parties to secure investments from pension funds, according
to the release.
Camelot's auditors began to become suspicious of the fees in 2013
after Penn and Ewers lied and forged documents in order to cover up
their scheme, according to the SEC.
"Penn held himself out as an ultra-sophisticated and well-connected
investor in the private equity world," Andrew M. Calamari, the
director of the SEC's New York Regional Office said in a statement.
"Behind the scenes, Penn disregarded his obligations to the fund's
investors and treated their assets as his own personal and
professional slush fund."
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A Camelot representative was unavailable to comment on the SEC
charges. Contact information for Penn and Ewers was not readily
The SEC's complaint, which was filed in a federal court in New York,
charges Penn, two Camelot entities, Ewers and Ssecurion with
violating U.S. securities laws. It seeks the disgorgement of
ill-gotten gains with interest and applicable penalties.
Penn founded the private equity fund Camelot Acquisitions Secondary
Opportunities LP in 2010, eventually securing capital commitments of
roughly $120 million, according to the SEC. Camelot's investments
are primarily growth-stage private companies that want to go public.
(Editing by Stephen Coates)
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