SEC bans Caspersen from working in private equity

The former Park Hill partner – who pleaded guilty to defrauding investors of almost $39m – has received a permanent ban.

Andrew Caspersen, the former Park Hill partner who pleaded guilty to securities fraud and wire fraud in July, has reached a settlement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that permanently bans him from the industry.

Caspersen is “barred from association with any broker, dealer, investment advisor, municipal securities dealer, municipal advisor, transfer agent, or nationally recognised statistical rating organisation,” the SEC said in a filing.

In March, the SEC charged the 39-year-old New York-based professional with soliciting two institutions to invest in a shell company he controlled whose name was deceptively similar to that of a legitimate private equity fund. Caspersen pleaded guilty to the charges, and admitted he raised $38.5 million from investors “in non-existent investment vehicles using false and misleading statements.” He added the money was used to feed a gambling addiction.

“Andrew Caspersen’s guilty plea today closes a sad chapter in a tale of deception and betrayal,” Preet Bharara, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement at the time. “Parlaying his privileged background, Caspersen concocted a wild fraud scheme that involved made-up private equity ventures, fake email addresses, and fictional financiers.  Through a litany of lies, Caspersen took millions from unwitting investors, including some of his own family and friends.”

Caspersen joined Park Hill in 2013 to focus on secondaries transactions, including GP-led transactions. Before joining Park Hill, he was an investment principal at Coller Capital where he was responsible for originating and executing secondaries investments in the US.

“Since the inception of our firm, an unconditional principle of integrity has been a core value as we build a lasting franchise,” Park Hill previously said in a statement. “Our commitment to clients begins and ends with honesty and transparency, and strict adherence to these values is the absolute cornerstone of our firm.”

“We were therefore stunned and outraged to learn of the fraudulent circumvention and violation of the firm’s compliance policies and ethical standards by Andrew Caspersen, a member of the secondaries group at Park Hill since January 2013. Immediately upon learning of facts that suggested improper behaviour, we commenced an internal investigation led by outside counsel, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison and very quickly thereafter, brought the matter to the attention of the US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan. Since that time we have co-operated fully with law enforcement, and we will continue to do so.”

Park Hill had terminated Caspersen ‘for cause’ by the end of March.

Park Hill is a financial advisory services firm that spun out of the Blackstone Group in 2015 and joined PJT Partners.