By Jonathan Stempel
(Reuters) - A New York City hedge fund manager who allegedly faked his own death to conceal his fraud was convicted on Friday for stealing more than $800,000 from investors he solicited, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said on Friday.
Moazzam Ifzal "Mark" Malik, 33, from Lahore, Pakistan, was convicted on all 28 counts he faced, including grand larceny and securities fraud, after a 2-1/2-week trial in the state supreme court in Manhattan.
Malik faces up to 20 years in prison at his scheduled Dec. 18 sentencing. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed related civil charges against him in February.
Authorities said Malik from 2011 to 2015 lured investors to hedge funds under the names Wall Street Creative Partners, Seven Sages Capital, American Bridge Investments and most recently Wolf Hedge, claiming that he invested more than $100 million and routinely generated market-beating returns.
But according to Schneiderman, Malik never had more than $90,000 in his brokerage accounts, and spent much of what he raised on hotels, plane tickets, meals, a karaoke bar and other personal items.
The SEC alleged that Malik went so far in September 2013 as to create an employee named "Courtney" who emailed an investor seeking to redeem his money to say there would be a delay because Malik had died of a heart attack.
Richard Verchick, a lawyer for Malik, in an interview said he was not surprised by the verdict, which followed a day of jury deliberations.
He said he had argued in court that it was difficult to know the "conscious purpose or objective" behind Malik's actions.
"He believed in his mind and in his heart that he was not guilty," Verchick said.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by James Dalgleish)