Vilar released from prison |

Vilar released from prison

Alex Miller
Special to the DailyPhilanthropist Alberto Vilar was released from prison in New York after three weeks behind bars.

The complaint alleges that, after Cates wired $5 million to Amerindo, Tanaka authorized the transfer of at least $1.65 million of that money to other accounts. Vilar then used some of the funds, the complaint alleges, to pay personal expenses – including the transfer of $540,000 to his alma mater, Washington and Jefferson College and $177,000 to the American Academy in Berlin.According to the commission, when Cates inquired later about her investment, she was told of bureaucratic problems with the Small Business Administration, and that her $5 million was used toward a $10 million escrow account required by the federal agency. “Vilar’s statements were false,” the commission’s release stated. “The SBA never approved a license for the Amerindo Venture Fund LP. Further, Amerindo … never deposited any funds or otherwise escrowed $10 million for the SBA.”The commission has since appointed a monitor to oversee the funds of Amerindo’s other clients.

==========================NEW YORK – Alberto Vilar, the venture capitalist and arts patron with close ties to the Vail Valley, was released from a New York federal prison Monday after more than three weeks. Vilar was arrested May 27 on charges that he defrauded an investor out of $5 million.Vilar, 64, was originally being held on a $10 million bond, which his lawyer, Susan Necheles, later was able to get reduced to $4 million. Necheles, who didn’t return calls seeking comment, told the judge Vilar would have to sell some “Old Master” paintings to come up with the money.The indictment against Vilar is based on charges made by Lily Cates, a client of Vilar’s company Amerindo Investment Advisors. Prosecutors say Vilar used $5 million of Cates’ money for personal use, business expenses and transferred part of the money to a foreign account.

Known for donating large sums to opera and other arts institutions around the world, Vilar is well-known in the Vail Valley for the $7 million he contributed to build the Vilar Center for the Performing Arts in Beaver Creek. He also donated $2 million towards the $10 million renovation of the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheatre in Vail. Worldwide, he is estimated to have donated more than $250 million to opera companies, hospitals and other institutions and individuals.Most of the money came from Vilar’s San Francisco-based Amerindo Advisors, an investment company that did well in the high-tech boom of the 1990s. In 2000, the tech-stock bust reduced Amerindo’s $9 billion portfolio by about 80 percent. That reversal of fortunes caused trouble for some of the philanthropic organizations to which Vilar had pledged money. The Vail Valley Foundation was forced three years ago to borrow $1.5 million to complete the renovation of the Ford Amphitheatre when Vilar fell short of the $3.5 million he had promised.Vilar also had three local banks foreclose on properties he owned in Eagle County. He subsequently paid what was owed, then sold the properties. Last spring the Internal Revenue Service filed federal tax liens against Vilar for $24.3 million in unpaid income taxes.Vilar faces charges of adviser fraud, securities fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud and four counts of money laundering. Considered a flight risk by prosecutors, the judge has ordered that Vilar be under home detention and electronic monitoring upon his release. He was also required to surrender travel documents.

Vail Daily staff writer Cliff Thompson contributed to this report.Vail, Colorado

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