Managing Member Of Altamont Global Partners Pleads Guilty To $16 Million Investment Fraud
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida
Orlando, Florida - Acting United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that John G. Wilkins (63, Chuluota, Florida) today pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. Wilkins is facing up to 20 years in federal prison. Wilkins has also agreed to forfeit more than $4 million that is being held in various bank and trading accounts. These monies will be returned to the victims of the fraud, as partial payment towards the expected restitution in the case of over $16 million. Sentencing has been set for November 21, 2013.
According to court documents, Altamont Global Partners, L.L.C. owned or managed a series of investment funds. Altamont Global began operating business in 2009. Wilkins joined the company in 2009 and later became one of its managing members.
The Matterhorn Fund, LLC was the first fund for which investors were solicited by Altamont Global. To induce individuals to invest, Wilkins and others falsely represented that the Matterhorn Fund had a long history of making profits and that the individual who would be handling the trading was a graduate of Stanford University, worked for Salomon Brothers as an institutional investment advisor, and had successfully traded worldwide investment vehicles for more than three decades.
In the first quarter of 2010, the Matterhorn Fund experienced significant trading losses. Rather than accurately reporting those losses on the quarterly statements, Wilkins falsified the quarterly statements to falsely claim that the Matterhorn Fund was earning an above-market rate of return.
The false rates of returns that were claimed for the Matterhorn Fund were then used to induce individuals to invest in the McKinley Fund. The McKinley Fund also lost money and Wilkins, again, falsified the quarterly statements for that fund. Wilkins and others then used their alleged performance with the Matterhorn Fund and the McKinley Fund to solicit investments in two other funds: Midas Management Partners LLC and Binary Strategy One Fund, LLC. In total, more than 200 individuals invested more than $16 million in the four funds owned or managed by Altamont Global.
In June 2012, the National Futures Association (NFA) conducted a surprise examination of Altamont Global. During that examination, the NFA discovered that the quarterly statements were being falsified to hide losses and that the net asset values of the Matterhorn Fund and the McKinley Fund were being inflated to make it appear that trading had been successful.
On July 16, 2012, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission filed a complaint against Wilkins and others. The District Court entered an emergency order that same day, freezing the assets of the defendants in that civil case.
This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service and the State of Florida, Office of Financial Regulation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg.
Updated January 26, 2015