A Wilton man has pleaded guilty for his role in defrauding hedge fund investors in a Ponzi-style scheme.Steven Simmons, the former head of alternative investments at Sideris Capital Partners in Stamford, solicited more than $6 million in investments for the Stamford hedge fund Sentinel Growth Fund Management LLC between 2013 and January 2017. Simmons was accused of using some of the money for personal spending and then used new investments to pay back earlier investors. Simmons gave investors false and misleading information on where the money was being invested and created fraudulent monthly financial statements to keep the ruse active.
Simmons pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud. Simmons’ conspiracy count carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. In addition, according to a plea agreement with the federal government, Simmons agreed to forfeit $6.9 million.
Mark Varacchi, founder of Sentinel Growth Fund Management LLC, pleaded guilty in Manhattan Federal Court in February to conspiracy, securities fraud and wire fraud charges.