Friday, April 27, 2012

Obama campaign to return accused Ponzi schemer's donation

The Obama campaign will return the donations of an accused Ponzi schemer who is facing an SEC investigation, a campaign official confirms.

"With 1.8 million donors thus far, we constantly review those contributions for issues. In this particular case, we will be refunding the contributions and have placed the funds in escrow until a trusteeship or other appropriate place to return these funds is established given the interests of the investors," a campaign official told POLITICO.

Shervin Neman, a hedge fund manager in Los Angeles, stands accused by the SEC of defrauding members of his California Persian-Jewish community, the conservative Washington Free Beacon reports.
According to the SEC complaint, Neman was running a $7.54 million Ponzi scheme that defrauded at least 11 investors. According to the SEC, 99 percent of the money raised by Neman went to paying existing investors or "funding his lavish lifestyle."

According to public records, Neman gave the maximum $35,800 donation to the Obama campaign and another $30,800 to the Democratic National Committee. He is also a donor to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

The Free Beacon also reported that Neman visited the White House in November 2011, and was hosted by the White House director of the Office of Public Engagement Jon Carson.
It's not the first donation that the campaign has returned. Obama bundler and former N.J. Gov. Jon Corzine is facing an investigation into the collapse of his investment firm MF Global. In February, the campaign had to remove bundler Ron Klein for lobbying because of a self-imposed pledge against accepting lobbyist donations. And the New York Times reported earlier this year that one of Obama's top bundlers had ties to a Mexican fugitive whose family was seeking a criminal pardon.


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