Vilar’s fraud case goes to jury |

Vilar’s fraud case goes to jury

Daily Staff Report

NEW YORK “-The fate of philanthropist and one-time Beaver Creek resident Alberto Vilar fell into the hands of the New York jury Thursday, the New York Times reported.

The jury will begin deliberating Friday, the newspaper said.

Vilar and business partner Gary Tanaka are charged with improperly investing millions of dollars of their clients’ money in risky stocks after telling them it was going into ultra-safe investments such as government bonds.

Federal prosecutors closed their fraud case against the philanthropist Alberto Vilar on Wednesday by telling jurors that one-time Beaver Creek resident and opera-loving investment adviser “flat out stole” from some clients when his firm ran into financial trouble in the high-tech stock crash.

Prosecutors said that some of the money he was charged with stealing went to fulfill pledges, and to pay the mortgage on his apartment at United Nations Plaza, the New York Times reported Thursday.

When the Internet bubble burst, their company, Amerindo Investment Advisors Inc., found itself “drowning in a sea of debt,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Naftalis said.

Vilar’s lawyer, Herald Price Fahringer, told the jury in his closing statement that his client was not some “scam artist who comes in and takes the money and is gone the next day.”

He rattled off a list of Amerindo investors who had made a fortune with the company and said even when Vilar and Tanaka ran into financial problems they worked to get investors their money back, plus interest.

“That’s not fraud, and we believe that the government hasn’t proven fraud,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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