Yesterday, Sean Mueller was charged with racketeering and other counts in association with an alleged Ponzi scheme that he ran over the span of a decade.
Denver Broncos legend John Elway was among 65 folks who invested a reported $71 million with Mueller, whose unmasking was precipitated by a suicide attempt.
The story is told in the Sean Mueller arrest warrant and charging documents, made available by the Denver District Attorney's Office.
According to the supporting affidavit, Mueller formed a company called Mueller Capital Management in 2000, with another hedge fund following. As part of his operation, he employed two accountants, Bill Saetveit and Bill Schaefer, who were listed as minority interest holders in MCM.
But everything came apart in a very public way on April 22, when the Greenwood Village Police Department responded to a report of a man threatening to commit suicide by jumping off an RTD parking garage. Mueller was subsequently taken into protective custody, but not before he told another employee, Ian Baker, "that the funds that Mueller had been operating had 'lost money from the start,'" the affidavit maintains.
Mueller had also sent out an e-mail to employees in which he said "he was sorry for what he had done and that he was going to commit suicide," the document states. The e-mail read:
Nobody here or anywhere else had any idea what was happening. Nobody here or either Bill Sateveit or Bill Schaefer. I think you can redo the taxes and recover a good amount of money. Nobody except myself had any access to the statements.
Sometimes life stresses overwhelm a person to the point where they can't go on. The confusion has finally won its battle with me and I feel like there are no good options left. I always thought I could make it back but that's not going to happen.
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He was right about that last part. An investigation "revealed that Mueller suffered massive losses in his day trading accounts over a two-year period from the years 2008 to 2009," the affidavit notes. And what did Mueller do with the cash he collected? The documents assert that he lived an "extravagant lifestyle, which included the personal purchase and upkeep of three luxurious homes, several expensive cars, daily personal living expenses, and memberships in exclusive country clubs."
This couldn't go on forever, and by April, Mueller allegedly had assets of around $9.5 million -- which would be good if they weren't offset by liabilities of $45 million.
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Elway's not talking about how much he lost personally, but it certainly appears that he was thrown for a considerable loss. Page down to see the complete arrest warrant, affidavit and offense info, as well as the DA's release about the Mueller charges:
Denver District Attorney's Office release:
MAN CHARGED IN PONZI SCHEME
Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey has formally charged a hedge fund manager with racketeering and other felony counts today.
Sean Michael Mueller (dob: 08-31-68) is charged with violating the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act (COCCA) (F2), securities fraud (F3) and two counts of theft (F3).
The charges allege that over the last ten years, Mueller knowingly used new investor funds to pay existing investors, failed to deposit investor funds in brokerage accounts as promised, created phony monthly account statements and created phony brokerage statements to hide his scheme.
The charges are the result of an investigation by the Colorado Division of Securities with assistance from the U.S. Secret Service. "This is an important example of how agencies can work together to protect investors in Colorado," said Colorado Securities Commissioner Fred Joseph. The investigation identified approximately 65 investors estimated to have lost tens of millions of dollars.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Mueller, and arrangements are being made for his surrender. His bond is set at $2,000,000 (cash only). He is scheduled to appear in Denver District Court 5H on Friday, October 15, 2010 at 8:30 to be formally advised of the charges.