Ruthless Me: Like Fraudster, Like Son

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“Dispelling the biases, myths and pre-conceived ideas that lead to bad decisions”

By Ed Emerson

Why does a 39-year-old silver spoon socialite with a Harvard Law degree, and who’s making $3 million per year as a partner at a financial services firm, suddenly decide to go native and dupe a gaggle of wealthy investors and charitable organisations out of $25 million?

You just can’t get the help anymore, eh?

In fact everything about Andrew Caspersen sounds a bit like a made-for-TV movie, even his penchant for bunburying in his fake financier persona of “John Nelson”, international man of mystery and golden boy scumbag with some serious character flaws.

And Caspersen, whose billionaire father Finn Caspersen committed suicide in 2009 as authorities closed in on tax evasion charges, appears not to have fallen far from his family tree.

He was charged earlier this month by the US Department of Justice with securities and wire fraud in connection with his scheme to defraud investors.  

Preet Bhara, the US Attorney in the Southern District of New York said in a statement: “Andrew Caspersen, a partner at a major financial advisory firm, allegedly scammed his clients into investing tens of millions in sham private equity investments. To advance his $95 million fraud scheme, Caspersen allegedly put on a shameful charade – creating fake email addresses, setting up misleading domain names, and inventing fictional financiers.  When confronted by a suspicious client who had invested $25 million, Caspersen had no good answers.  He will now have to answer to federal securities and wire fraud charges.”

So despite appearances; the big salary, the co-op on Manhattan’s East 62nd Street and a £million home in Westchester County, all but $40,000 of the money he bilked is now apparently gone. 

So why am I telling you all this?

Simples…

A sliver spoon, an ivy league graduation certificate and the right cuff links are not a guarantee of either good or bad investment advice.

Beware the man (or woman) who approaches you with the “you can’t lose” investment opportunity, or the one that “guarantees a risk-free 20% plus year-on-year return”. The good ones don’t push offers at you, they create a strategy only after they know exactly what you want.

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