The board of Amerindo Funds has replaced founder and CEO Alberto Vilar and President Gary Tanaka because of criminal complaints that have landed the pair in jail, according to an SEC filing. Both are facing charges of stealing millions in investor funds for personal use.
However, the SEC has gone a step further and asked a federal judge to appoint a temporary receiver for Amerindo Investment Advisors, the Amerindo Technology Fund's advisor, The Wall Street Journal reports. "There does not appear to be an individual at Amerindo with full decision-making authority," the SEC stated in its plea for a restraining order prohibiting the destruction of documents and disgorgement of ill-gotten gains.
Although the Amerindo Funds formally appointed Dana Smith, chief compliance officer, as acting president, the funds only had around $98 million in assets under management as of May 31, a little more than a tenth of total assets under management, which were $921.5 million. The board also closed the fund to new assets and is on the hunt for a new investment manager.
"As a precautionary measure, the Fund's auditors have been retained to conduct a special audit of the Fund," the SEC filing reads. In the meantime, trades in the portfolio can be made by any of the independent directors.
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