Court orders asset manager to return $1 million to investors

Acting on a complaint by the Securities and Exchange Commission, a federal court in New York has entered a final judgment against Miami-based asset manager John Geraci for misappropriating approximately $1 million from clients through his Meridian Matrix Long Short Equity Fund.

The judgment orders Geraci to pay disgorgement of $1,098,971, plus prejudgment interest of $229,740, which the court deemed satisfied by a restitution and forfeiture order in a parallel criminal action.

The judgment also bars Geraci from acting as an officer or director in a securities firm. Geraci also agreed to a lifetime bar from the securities industry in a parallel SEC administrative proceeding.

The SEC’s complaint, filed in July 2018, alleged that Geraci formed the Meridian Matrix Long Short Equity Fund in 2015, and hired Nicholas Mitsakos and his company, Matrix Capital Markets, as the fund’s portfolio manager. According to the complaint, Mitsakos had no assets under management, but falsely claimed that he managed millions of dollars and had generated returns of up to 66% in preceding years.

Rather than verifying these claims, Geraci allegedly used Mitsakos’ false and unsubstantiated claims to market his fund, and eventually obtained $2 million from investors. The complaint alleged that Geraci later learned of Mitsakos’ deception and his misappropriation of nearly $800,000 of investors’ funds, but continued to market the fund and let Mitsakos trade the clients’ assets.

The complaint also alleges that, after Mitsakos returned approximately $1 million of the funds, Geraci misappropriated those funds for his own use, telling his clients that Mitsakos had lost all of it.

[More: Phony Philly adviser latest snagged for unregistered securities]

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