U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 23175 / January 21, 2015
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Frederic Elm f/k/a Frederic Elmaleh, et al., Case No. 15-cv-60082-DIMITROULEAS/SNOW
SEC Charges Investment Adviser and Manager in South Florida-Based Fraud
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced fraud charges and an asset freeze against a Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based investment adviser, its manager, and three related funds with defrauding investors in a scheme that raised more than $17 million since November 2013.
The SEC's complaint, filed in federal court in the Southern District of Florida on January 15, 2015, charged Elm Tree Investment Advisors LLC, its founder and manager, Frederic Elm, and three funds, Elm Tree Investment Fund LP, Elm Tree "e"Conomy Fund LP, and Elm Tree Motion Opportunity LP. According to the complaint, Elm, formerly known as Frederic Elmaleh, his unregistered investment advisory firm, and three funds misled investors and used most of the money raised to make Ponzi-like payments to the investors. The complaint also alleges that Elm treated the funds as his personal piggy bank, tapping them to buy a $1.75 million home, luxury automobiles, jewelry, and cover daily living expenses. Elm's wife, Amanda Elm, formerly Elmaleh, is named as a relief defendant based on her receipt of investor monies.
The SEC's complaint charges Elm, his advisory firm and the Elm Tree funds with violating Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 as well as Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5. The complaint also charges Elm and ETIA with violations of Sections 206(1), 206(2) and 206(4) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and Rule 206(4)-8. The SEC is seeking relief for investors, including return of allegedly ill-gotten gains, with interest, and financial penalties.
The Honorable William Dimitrouleas on January 16 granted the SEC's request for a temporary restraining order and temporary asset freeze against Elm, his firm, and the three Elm Tree funds. The judge ordered a temporary asset freeze against Amanda Elm and required her and the other defendants to provide accountings. Judge Dimitrouleas also entered an order appointing Grisel Alonso as receiver for Elm Tree Investment Advisors and the Elm Tree funds. A court hearing has been scheduled for January 29.
The SEC's investigation, which is continuing, has been conducted by Katharine E. Zoladz and Mark Dee and supervised by Elisha L. Frank in the Miami Regional Office. Patrick Costello is leading the SEC's litigation.