Ex-CEO hid antiques sale money while owing SEC millions: U.S

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 26, 2015 4:47 PM

By Nate Raymond

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A one-time chief executive at a maker of high-definition television displays was arrested on Wednesday for pocketing $657,000 from the sale of antiques, rather than using it to help pay a judgment obtained by U.S. regulators for illegal stock sales.

Robert Olins, a former CEO of SpatiaLight Inc, was arrested in West Hartford, Connecticut, as federal prosecutors in Manhattan unveiled a criminal complaint accusing him of obstructing justice and engaging in bank fraud.

The complaint said Olins schemed with an antiques dealer to hide assets from a court-appointed receiver and the courts, personally enriching himself while the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was trying to collect on a $3.4 million judgment.

In total, Olins, 58, earned $657,000 in undisclosed and unapproved income from the sale of a set of Louis XV antique vases and a pair of candelabra, the complaint said.

Olins appeared briefly in court and was released on a $150,000 bond. His court-appointed lawyer declined comment.

The $3.4 million judgment stemmed from a 2007 lawsuit by the SEC against Olins, SpatiaLight and his wholly-owned company Argyle Capital Management Corp.

Among other claims, the SEC contended that Olins and Argyle illegally sold more than 400,000 shares of SpatiaLight stock without disclosing those sales and while making misrepresentations to investors about the shares enabling him to net $2.6 million.

The SEC subsequently filed a related action in New York in which the receiver was appointed to liquidate certain of his assets, including his arts and antiques collection, whose value had been appraised at $8.6 million to $13.8 million.

The money would go toward satisfying a $2.6 million debt to a lender that was also acting as the receiver, the SEC, and any other creditors.

In 2014, the SEC launched contempt proceedings against Olins for refusing to pay the judgment. According to the criminal complaint, Olins lied by saying he had received no income outside of some consulting fees.

The antiques dealer executive who allegedly helped Olins carry out the scheme is not named in the complaint but is referred to as an uncharged co-conspirator.

The complaint says the individual was president of the antiques dealer's New York operations. Records in the SEC case show the antiques dealer was Mallett Inc, where Henry Neville has been responsible for New York operations since 2006.

Mallett did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

SpaciaLight went out of business in February 2011 after being liquidated under Chapter 7 of the U.S. bankruptcy code.

The case is U.S. v. Olins, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 15-mj-3020.