New York brokerage CEO criminally charged with obstructing SEC

Fri Aug 8, 2014 5:40pm EDT

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Aug 8 (Reuters) - The chief executive of a New York brokerage was criminally charged on Friday with lying to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and faking documents to disguise how his firm did not have enough capital.

Charles Moore, 62, was arrested Friday morning at the offices of his firm, Crucible Capital Group Inc, in downtown Manhattan, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.

Moore, of East Brunswick, New Jersey, was charged with obstructing a regulatory examination, falsifying books and records, and making false statements.

The first two counts each carry a maximum 20-year prison term. Parallel civil charges were also filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

"Moore attempted to mislead SEC examiners by giving them documents he intentionally falsified in an effort to hide Crucible's severe capital insufficiencies," SEC enforcement chief Andrew Ceresney said in a statement.

The defendant was arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn in Manhattan, and has been released on $300,000 bail, his lawyer Thomas Tormey said.

"He asserts that he is totally innocent, and will be vindicated on all charges," Tormey said.

According to prosecutors, Crucible held itself out as an investment banking "boutique" that helped small businesses raise money, and shared offices and expenses with Angelic Holdings LLC, an unregistered affiliate that Moore also ran.

Prosecutors said Moore caused Crucible to file false reports with the SEC from February to September 2013 in which it failed to properly account for debts nominally owed by Angelic, but which were a factor in calculating Crucible's net capital.

The SEC said that, when its examiners sought proof of Angelic's liabilities, Moore arranged to provide doctored invoices that eliminated "significant" past due balances.

Authorities also said Moore tried to hide the truth by having employees conduct some of their work through personal email accounts rather than Crucible's.

"The SEC is entitled to the truth when it examines the books and records of institutions as it seeks to protect investors and our markets," Bharara said in a statement.

The cases are U.S. v. Moore, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-mag-01739; and In re: Crucible Capital Group Inc et al, SEC Administrative Proceeding No. 3-16008. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York. Editing by Andre Grenon)

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