New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer announced Wednesday he plans to formally charge Richard Strong, chairman and founder of Strong Financial, with using inside fund information to take $600,000 in market-timing profits between 1998 and 2001.
Spitzer said he will press these charges in conjunction with the Securities and Exchange Commission, although he reportedly declined to say whether they would be criminal or civil charges. Strong, one of the original four firms named in Spitzers original suit against Canary Capital Partners, will also be charged along with at least one other executive.
Strong, one of the 400 richest people in America by Forbes, is worth $800 million, would be the first mutual fund CEO to be charged in the ongoing probe by Spitzer, the SEC and a growing number of state regulators. The CEO allegedly also permitted family and friends to market time funds in his firm, which he founded in 1974.
Also a first in this ongoing scandal, Spitzer indicated that "there were a core of people at the top of the company who knew about this." He also promised he wouldnt allow any settlements with his office unless the fund industry undergoes extensive reform. Spitzer is scheduled to testify before the Senate government affairs subcommittee Monday.
"This is an outrage that should distress every mutual fund investor. What has emerged is one of the most scurrilous tales Ive seen yet," Spitzer reportedly said. "If you ever wanted proof that there were two sets of rules one for insiders and one for individual investors this is it."
Strong issued a statement Wednesday saying it was cooperating with regulators and continuing its internal investigation.