Kenneth Starr, a New York investment adviser to celebrities such as movie director Martin Scorcese and actor Uma Thurman, was arrested by U.S. agents on Thursday on charges of running an alleged investment fraud of as much as $30 million, prosecutors said.
Criminal and civil complaints filed in Manhattan federal court said Starr, 65, who is also a lawyer, bilked high net-worth investors through Starr Investment Advisers and Starr & Co. His wife, Diane Passage, and Colcave LLC, another firm Starr controlled, were also named as defendants in civil charges filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The criminal complaint also charged prominent New York City politician Andrew Stein, a Democrat, with making false statements to the Internal Revenue Service and failing to disclose the existence of an entity called Wind River LLC.
Starr stated that funds going to Wind River were loans to Stein, a former president of the New York City Council, for his work as a placement agent for investments, according to an affidavit filed in court by an IRS agent.
The criminal complaint said that since at least January 2008 through April 2010, Starr marketed his services as an accountant and financial adviser to clients, gained control over millions of dollars belonging to his clients, and then misappropriated millions of dollars of his clients' assets for his own personal use, including to purchase himself a new, multimillion-dollar residence worth $7.5 million.
Starr, whose client list includes Scorcese, Thurman and celebrity photographer Annie Leibowitz, according to NBC News in New York, was expected to make an initial appearance in court later on Thursday on charges of wire fraud, investment adviser fraud and money laundering.
A lawyer for Starr, Jonathan Bristol, could not immediately be reached for a comment.
The office of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said he and other law enforcement officials would announce details of the charges at a 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT) press conference. It said Starr is accused of allegedly perpetrating a $30 million fraud against his clients.
He is not the same Kenneth Starr who led the investigation of former President Bill Clinton in the affair over White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
The case is USA v Kenneth Starr and Andrew Stein, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
(Reporting by Grant McCool; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Maureen Bavdek)