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Federal Court sentences two for obstructing SEC investigation of Connecticut hedge funds manager

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Florida resident Juan Carlos Horna Napolitano has been sentenced to 14 months imprisonment, followed by two years supervised release, for his role in conspiring to obstruct a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation relating to Francisco Illarramendi, a Connecticut hedge fund advisor. Horna Napolitano was also ordered to forfeit USD935,000.

Judge Underhill had previously sentenced a Venezuelan accountant, Juan Carlos Guillen Zerpa, for his role in the conspiracy to obstruct the Commission’s investigation. On 14 December, 2011, Guillen Zerpa was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment, followed by two years supervised release and ordered to pay a USD10,000 fine and to forfeit USD315,000.

Separately, on 15 December, 2011, the Commission issued an Order suspending Guillen Zerpa forthwith from appearing or practicing before the Commission pursuant to Rule 102(e)(2) of the Commission’s Rules of Practice. Guillen Zerpa has been licensed as a certified public accountant in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela since 1989.

In January 2011, the SEC charged Illarramendi with engaging in a multi-year Ponzi scheme involving hundreds of millions of dollars. On 7 March, 2011, Illarramendi pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud, one count of securities fraud, one count of investment advisor fraud, and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, to obstruct an official proceeding and to defraud the SEC.  He is awaiting sentencing. On 3 August, 2011, the Commission issued an Order by consent barring Illarramendi from association with any broker, dealer, investment adviser, municipal securities dealer, municipal advisor, transfer agent, or nationally recognised statistical rating organisation.

The SEC’s investigation is continuing. The SEC acknowledges and appreciates the assistance of the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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