Hedge fund owner pleads guilty to mail fraud

Zachary resident James R. Holdman, 59, pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud that U.S. Attorney Walt Green said Friday were part of a scheme that “defrauded investors of millions of dollars” — including retirees, military veterans and survivors of Hurricane Katrina.

Court records show Holdman had investors in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Florida.

In a document he signed prior to his guilty pleas Thursday before U.S. District Judge James J. Brady, Holdman admitted he provided investors in his hedge funds regular statements between February 2008 and October 2008 that falsely showed profits.

Instead of turning profits, those investments either failed or were used for fees that Holdman spent “for his own personal use and benefit,” he said.

Holdman operated Greenwing Capital Management LLC, through which he offered to place investor money in his Greenwing Fund, Bluewing Fund or Silverwing Fund. He had a Baton Rouge office in the 11700 block of Haymarket Avenue and another in Baker in the 10700 block of Gurney Road.

Holdman’s admission also said: “In concealing the true performance of the fund, Holdman was able to continue to operate the fund and steadily lose victim investors’ money throughout the entire year, until nearly all of their money was lost.”

Finally, on Oct. 17, 2008, Holdman sent investors a letter stating that 98.67 percent of their money had been lost over the previous month, forcing him to close his investment funds. Holdman admitted that statement was false and that many of the losses occurred much earlier, while he successfully solicited additional money from some of his customers.

In March 2013, former U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux Jr. said Holdman’s scheme cost hedge fund investors $13 million.

Trustee Martin A. Schott administered Holdman’s 2011 bankruptcy. In June 2013, Schott’s final report in that bankruptcy case showed investors lost about $9 million. More than a year earlier, in January 2012, Holdman had won his bankruptcy discharge from those debts.

Each of the mail fraud charges on which Holdman was convicted carries a possible 20-year prison term and fine of $250,000.

Brady did not immediately schedule a sentencing hearing for Holdman.

The admissions Holdman signed prior to his guilty pleas were witnessed by his attorney, Glen R. Petersen, as well as Green and Assistant U.S. Attorney Shubhra Shivpuri.

Those admissions were attached to a plea agreement reached by Holdman and Petersen, on one side, and Shivpuri and Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Christopher Dippel Jr., on the other side.

Holdman agreed to plead guilty to two counts of mail fraud involving a combined loss of “at least $400,000.” The only investor mentioned in Holdman’s admissions lived in Riverview, Florida, and was identified only as “G.P.”

Holdman agreed to provide prosecutors an accurate and complete financial statement, and he promised not to oppose any court order requiring him to forfeit assets purchased with investor money.

In return for his guilty pleas and admissions, prosecutors agreed to dismiss 16 additional counts of mail fraud against Holdman.

Green said Holdman’s crimes were investigated by the FBI, Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions, Texas State Securities Board and Securities and Charities Division of the Mississippi Office of the Secretary of State.

Those agencies pursued Holdman, Green said, because, “Investment fraud is a devastating crime that goes on far too often.”