SEC asks judge to jail Trevor Cook, seize his passport

  • Article by: DAN BROWNING , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 11, 2009 - 6:22 PM

U.S. says the Minneapolis money manager has not complied with court orders about disclosing assets.

Federal regulators want a federal judge to find Minneapolis money manager Trevor Cook in contempt, take away his passport and jail him for allegedly defying court orders by concealing financial assets and failing to account for and return millions of dollars of investors' money from overseas accounts.

According to court documents filed Thursday by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission:

Cook was observed using an undisclosed credit card to buy more than $13,000 worth of gift cards and other purchases at Cub Foods and Target stores after a federal judge had frozen his accounts.

He has failed to account for $54,000 he got from selling two vehicles in late October.

He has failed to account for $600,000 in cash that he withdrew in July from a business account at Associated Bank, purportedly to buy a boat.

U.S. District Judge Michael Davis will hear arguments on the SEC's motion at 2 p.m. Friday.

Cook, 37, operated Oxford Global Partners, an investment management firm, from the Van Dusen mansion in Minneapolis. With the help of Burnsville radio show host Patrick Kiley and a variety of other business associates, Cook solicited funds for currency investments, supposedly in Switzerland.

But since July, the investors' money has gone missing. A federal grand jury is investigating. And the SEC and the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission have accused him in recent civil complaints of running a Ponzi scheme that bilked more than 1,000 investors out of more than $191 million.

Cook, through his attorneys and in person, has declined to comment. He invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when called to testify at a hearing last week regarding the asset freeze and a related injunction.

According to the SEC's filings Thursday, $41 million of investor funds was sent overseas by Cook to entities where the money has not been accounted for. Of that, $7.9 million eventually was returned. The whereabouts of the remaining $33 million remain a mystery.

"Cook has not returned the funds to the United States, turned them over to the [court-appointed] Receiver, or accounted for them," the SEC said.

In addition, Cook hasn't produced an accounting of the investors' funds, nor has he identified his assets and liabilities or those of the businesses he controls, the SEC said.

Cook's actions "reveal a deliberate and willful disregard of the Court's orders," the SEC said. "Cook has demonstrated that he is unwilling to obey the conditions that have already been placed upon him, and has done so at his own peril."

Besides jail, Cook's passport and a contempt finding, the SEC wants an order that would forbid him from "fleeing the United States and living off the missing money overseas."

Dan Browning • 612-673-4493

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