Former Infinity Q exec settles charges related to alleged fraud

FILE PHOTO: The seal of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is seen at their headquarters in Washington, D.C.

By John McCrank

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The former chief risk officer of defunct investment adviser Infinity Q Capital Management LLC agree to settle charges of misconduct related to a fraudulent scheme to inflate the value of assets the firm advised by more than $1 billion, securities regulators said on Friday.

Scott Lindell failed to exercise reasonable care and to undertake an appropriate investigation concerning multiple red flags that indicated the value of Infinity Q funds' positions were inappropriate, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said in charges filed in Manhattan federal court.

Lindell agreed to settle the charges, with determination of disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and civil money penalties to be decided by the court at a later date, the regulator said.

Lindell could not immediately be reached for comment.

Infinity Q was forced last year to liquidate its mutual funds after the SEC found that the firm's founder and former chief investment officer, James Velissaris, manipulated a third-party pricing model used to value fund investments.

The SEC said Lindell negligently misrepresented to investors, representatives of the mutual fund's board, and others that the pricing service was independent from Infinity Q when, in fact, Velissaris exercised control over it.

Lindell also helped Velissaris submit misleading documents to the SEC in response to the regulator's initial inquiries over the valuations and, on one occasion, helped mislead the mutual fund's auditor "with at least reckless disregard of the truth," the SEC said.

Lindell, who was also Infinity Q's head of operations, chief compliance officer and a former portfolio manager and member of the firm's valuation committee, also willfully made misstatements on some Infinity Q SEC filings, the regulator said.

Velissaris was charged in February over the matter by the SEC, the Commodities Futures Traders Commission and the Southern District of New York (SDNY).

(Reporting by John McCrank; Editing by Marguerita Choy)