Cambridge Hedge Fund Manager Pleads Guilty to Investment Fraud Scheme
BOSTON – The owner of two Cambridge-based investment advisory firms pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Boston in connection with a scheme to defraud hedge fund investors.
Yasuna J. Murakami, 44, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced on April 8, 2018 before U.S. Senior District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock. In May 2017, Murakami was charged and arrested.
Murakami was a managing member of MC2 Capital Management LLC and MC2 Canada Capital Management LLC – investment advisory firms through which he established and managed three hedge funds: the MC2 Capital Partners Fund, MC2 Capital Value Fund, and MC2 Capital Canadian Opportunities Fund. Between 2011 and 2016, Murakami fraudulently diverted millions of dollars of investor funds to business and personal accounts that he controlled. He used the money to pay for lavish personal expenses such as a luxury sports car, international travel, and payments to personal credit cards and high-end department stores. Murakami used new investor contributions to make Ponzi scheme-like payments to earlier investors who had made redemption requests and to place investments in his own name.
As part of the fraud, Murakami withheld material information regarding the management of the MC2 Canadian Opportunities Fund and provided investors with falsified account statements and tax documentation in an effort to lull them into believing that their investments were safe.
In a parallel action, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced securities fraud charges against Murakami and his hedge fund advisory firms in May 2017. The SEC also filed charges against Murakami’s former business partner, Avi Chiat, in connection with the scheme. In January 2017, the Massachusetts Securities Division filed civil fraud charges against Murakami for the same conduct.
The charging statute provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Joel P. Garland, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jordi de Llano, Deputy Chief of Lelling’s Economic Crimes Unit, is prosecuting the case.