Funding regulators accuse NC insurance coverage magnate of fraud

DURHAM, N.C. — Federal securities regulators on Tuesday formally accused a North Carolina-based insurance coverage magnate, an affiliate and their funding advisory agency of defrauding purchasers out of over $75 million by way of advanced schemes involving undisclosed transactions.

Attorneys for the U.S. Securities and Alternate Fee filed a civil criticism in Durham federal court docket towards Gregory E. Lindberg of Durham, Christopher Herwig of Raleigh and Commonplace Advisory Companies Restricted, based mostly in Malta.

Lindberg was a founder and chairman of what was then known as Eli World, a Durham-based funding firm that in the end owned a whole lot of corporations, together with insurers.

Lindberg has additionally confronted different current civil and legal proceedings in North Carolina. A federal corruption case resulted in legal convictions in 2020 that have been just lately vacated, letting Lindberg go away a federal jail to await a brand new trial.

His spokesperson mentioned Tuesday that Lindberg will struggle the “false allegations” towards him contained within the SEC criticism.

The criticism accuses the 2 males and Commonplace Advisory Companies with violating antifraud provisions in federal legal guidelines regulating funding funds. The federal government needs them to give up the cash it alleges they fraudulently made, in addition to pay penalties and curiosity. The funding advisory agency had been registered with the SEC till October 2019, the criticism mentioned.

A information launch mentioned the alleged fraud ran from mid-2017 by way of 2018. It concerned “distinctive monetary constructions and numerous advanced investments, orchestrated by the defendants for their very own profit,” Osman Nawaz, chief of the Complicated Monetary Devices Unit inside the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, mentioned within the launch.

Lindberg owned Commonplace Advisory Companies, whereas Herwig was its portfolio supervisor, the criticism mentioned. The transactions additionally concerned 4 North Carolina insurance coverage corporations which Lindberg owned, the criticism alleged. The alleged fraud resulted in misappropriated shopper funds and in advisory charges, in line with the SEC.

The criticism got here in the future after a federal choose in Charlotte set a tentative March begin date for a brand new legal trial for Lindberg, who was as soon as North Carolina largest political donor.

He was convicted in 2020 of trying to bribe North Carolina’s insurance coverage commissioner to safe preferential regulatory therapy for his insurance coverage enterprise, and sentenced to greater than seven years in jail. However these convictions have been overturned in June by a federal appeals court docket, which discovered the choose erred by giving deceptive directions to jurors earlier than deliberations.

Lindberg spokesperson Susan Estrich mentioned Tuesday that the SEC criticism is weak identical to the unrelated legal matter and was filed after the SEC was “proven tens of millions of pages of paperwork to show them unsuitable.”

Messages left Tuesday at telephone numbers searching for remark from Herwig weren’t instantly returned.

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