Vilar trial continues in NYC |

Vilar trial continues in NYC

NEW YORK “One investor who couldn’t get Alberto Vilar to return calls or letters about the $11 million her family had given him, she began dating him, reported on its Web site Tuesday.

Vilar, 67, a co-founder of Amerindo Investment Advisors and Vail Valley philanthropist, is charged along with a partner of defrauding investors. His trial is in its second week in New York and could last several more.

The investor, Lisa Mayer, a former artist and art gallery employee, testified Tuesday that she was invited by Vilar to a black-tie dinner in 2003 after his firm missed four monthly interest payments of $96,668 to her family, according to Bloomberg/com

“He began asking me out once or twice a week to dinner and social functions,” Mayer,52, testified, according to

“It was a good way to get closer to him so that I could speak to him.”

The most serious charges against Vilar and partner Gary Tanaka carry a possible 20-year sentence. Both men have pleaded not guilty and are free on bail.

The two men were charged with stealing $5 million from another client, Lily Cates, the mother of actress Phoebe Cates. Prosecutors later filed additional charges, according to

Victims of the alleged fraud were told that most of their money was held in safe investments, including bonds and government securities, and guaranteed by Amerindo as well as Vilar and Tanaka personally, prosecutors argued, reported.

Instead, Vilar and Tanaka allegedly put the money into risky Internet, computer and biotechnology stocks and stock options that declined sharply beginning in 2000, prosecutors said, reported.

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