U.S. securities regulators charged an investment firm and one of its executives in connection with a multimillion-dollar kickback scheme involving New York's largest pension fund, the Securities and Exchange Commission said on Thursday.
The SEC alleges that Dallas-based Aldus Equity Partners and one of its founding principals Saul Meyer participated in a kickback scheme in order to win investment business from the $122 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund.
The SEC and New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo have launched a joint probe, and Cuomo's office said Meyer had surrendered to his investigators in New York City.
The so-called pay to play scheme has already ensnared Henry Hank Morris, the former state comptroller's top fund raiser, and David Loglisci, the pension fund's former top investment officer, who are charged with orchestrating the scheme to enrich Morris and other political allies and associates.
According to the SEC's complaint, Meyer caused Aldus to pay a shell company owned by Morris about $320,000 in fraudulent finder fees in exchange for which Loglisci caused the pension fund to invest $375 million with Aldus from 2004 to 2006.
A lawyer for Aldus Equity had no comment. Meyer's lawyer did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
The SEC and Cuomo also have charged Raymond Harding, the former leader of New York's Liberal Party. Hedge fund manager Barrett Wissman has pleaded guilty to a felony and agreed to forfeit $12 million and serve as a witness.
(Reporting by Joan Gralla in New York and Rachelle Younglai in Washington, D.C., editing by Gerald E. McCormick)