Vilar trial set for April 17
NEW YORK ” An April 17 trial date was set for philanthropist Alberto Vilar, who is accused of conspiracy, investment adviser fraud and wire fraud in an alleged $5 million scam against an investor.
Vilar, a former Beaver Creek homeowner, has contributed a great deal to the arts in Eagle County, including $7 million 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.
U.S. District Judge Kenneth Karas set the trial date and a Jan. 31 deadline for the government to bring any additional charges against Vilar. An extension to gather evidence from foreign countries and to process evidence already received was also granted. The next hearing on the case is set for Dec. 14.
Vilar, 64, of New York, and a business partner, Gary Alan Tanaka, 61, of London, are accused of cheating an investor in their firm, Amerindo Investment Advisors, and spending the money on personal expenses and charitable contributions. They have pleaded not guilty.
At one point, Vilar was estimated to be worth more than $1 billion. 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.
Alex Miller contributed to this report.