NYC Indian Anilesh Ahuja Sentenced
to Prison for Securities Fraud
November 26, 2019 - Hedge fund Premium Point Investments founder, CEO & CIO Anilesh Ahuja (51) is sentenced to 50 months in prison in connection for securities fraud-related offenses.
The sentencing of NYC Indian Anilesh Ahuja is followed by his conviction by a jury trial for engaging in a securities mismarking scheme from 2014 to 2016 on July 11, 2019.
According to the Indictment and evidence presented at trial:
In or about 2008, AHUJA co-founded PPI, where he was the chief executive officer and chief investment officer. PPI managed hedge funds focused primarily on structured credit products, including residential mortgage backed securities (“RMBS”). PPI’s flagship mortgage credit fund (the “Hedge Fund”) was launched in or about October 2009. A segregated ERISA fund held the same positions as the Mortgage Credit Fund. In 2013, PPI launched a new fund (the “New Issue Fund”) that purchased and securitized pools of mortgages that were not issued or guaranteed by a government agency. At various relevant times between 2008 and 2016, PPI managed billions in assets. JEREMY SHOR was employed by PPI as a trader, where he focused on non-agency RMBS – i.e., RMBS securities that were not issued by a government agency.In addition to the 50 month prison term, Anilesh Ahuja was further sentenced to three years of supervised release.
The Scheme to Mismark Securities
From at least in or about 2014 through at least in or about 2016, AHUJA and SHOR participated in a scheme to defraud PPI’s investors and potential investors in the Hedge Fund and the New Issue Fund by deceptively mismarking each month the value of certain securities held in these funds, and thus fraudulently inflating the NAV of those funds as reported to investors and potential investors.
PPI fraudulently obtained inflated quotes, including from corrupt brokers, and manipulated its valuation process to inflate the purported value of securities held by the funds. The effect of the mismarking scheme was to materially overstate the reported NAV – at times by more than $100 million across the funds managed by PPI. This benefited PPI in at least two ways. First, PPI was able to charge its investors higher management and performance fees. Second, the PPI was able to forestall redemptions by investors who would have requested a return of their funds had they known PPI’s true performance and operating health.
The mismarking scheme evolved as a result of demands by AHUJA that PPI maintain its track record of success and keep pace with the performance of peer funds, regardless of market conditions or the actual performance of the funds. To achieve the goal of posting competitive returns, AHUJA, along with another partner, set an inflated “target” return for the Hedge Fund and New Issue Fund at the end of each month, which was at times based in part on the performance of peer funds. The traders at PPI were then tasked with “reverse engineering” marks to meet the “targets.”
And, former trader Jeremy Shor (44) of Premium Point Investments who was convicted along with Anilesh Ahuja was sentenced to 40 months imprisonment and three years of supervised release on November 18, 2019.