The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced fraud charges against Detroit-based EIA All Weather Alpha Fund I Partners LLC (EIA) and its sole owner, Andrew M Middlebrooks, for allegedly engaging in a multi-year scheme that included the misappropriation and misuse of investors’ funds.
To halt this alleged ongoing fraud, the SEC sought, and on 19 May, 2022 obtained, emergency relief from the US District Court in the Eastern District of Michigan, including a temporary restraining order against EIA and Middlebrooks and an asset freeze against the defendants and named relief defendants.
According to the SEC’s complaint, from at least mid-2017 to April 2022, EIA and Middlebrooks deceived investors in their hedge fund, EIA All Weather Alpha Fund I, LP, including by making repeated false statements about the fund’s performance and total assets; providing falsified investor account statements; misrepresenting that the fund had an auditor; and creating and disseminating a fake audit opinion to investors.
The SEC’s complaint also alleges that EIA and Middlebrooks misused new investor money to make Ponzi-like payments to other investors in the fund in order to continue to deceive investors into believing that the fund was profitable. According to the complaint, Middlebrooks also misappropriated investor funds for personal use, including for jewelry and credit card payments.
The SEC’s complaint, filed in the Eastern District of Michigan, charges EIA and Middlebrooks with violating the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws and further charges Middlebrooks with aiding and abetting EIA’s violations of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. The SEC seeks injunctions, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest, and financial penalties against EIA and Middlebrooks. The SEC also named EIA All Weather Alpha Fund I, LP, EIA All Weather Fund Partners II, LLC, and Shop Style Shark, LLC as relief defendants.