New York (HedgeCo.Net) – Won Sok Lee will face a U.S. trial after fleeing for three years following the discovery of his bogus Florida hedge fund. The KL Group allegedly defrauded about $200 million out of investors over the course of five years. Lee appeared for the first time in a West Palm Beach, Florida court on Friday since his indictment in 2006.
Lee has been hit with dozens of charges including money laundering, mail fraud, conspiracy and wire fraud.
“Almost from its inception, the main fund suffered losses in each and every quarter of its existence,” said prosecutors.
Still, the fund managed to raise almost $200 million from 2000 to 2005. Lee, along with his brothers Jung Bae Kim and Yung Bae Kim, ran these hedge funds from locations in Florida and Nevada. The SEC caught wind of the suspicious activity in 2005, when they seized the company and appointed a receiver. Assets recovered only totaled $6.6 million, with only a portion of that amount actually returned to the investors.
Lee’s brothers were both sentenced to hefty terms. Jung Bae will serve 18 years while Yung Bae was sentenced to six years.
Lee was seized in February at an airport in Seoul after trying to board a flight to Argentina. Though his bail hearing is set for next Friday, prosecutors are trying to convey the fact that he is still a flight risk.
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