DA Vance: Private Equity Fund Manager Sentenced to 2-to-6 Years in State Prison for Stealing, Laundering More Than $9 Million in Investor Funds

April 20, 2015

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the sentencing of LAWRENCE E. PENN, III, 45, to 2-to-6 years in state prison for stealing and laundering approximately $9.3 million in investor funds from Camelot Acquisitions: Secondary Opportunities, L.P., (“Camelot”) a Manhattan-based private equity fund that he managed. PENN was additionally ordered to pay restitution of approximately $8.3 million, and to forfeit his company’s interest in the fund. Co-defendant ALTURA ST. MICHAEL EWERS, 44, was sentenced on March 16, 2015, to 1-to-3 years in state prison and signed a confession of judgment for approximately $319,000. Both PENN and EWERS pleaded guilty in New York State Supreme Court to one count each of Grand Larceny and Falsifying Business Records in the First Degrees. EWERS additionally pleaded guilty to one count of Money Laundering in the First Degree.

“Instead of using investors’ funds for due diligence services as they claimed, these defendants lined their own pockets,” said District Attorney Vance. “Using a shell company in an attempt to disguise their theft, they drained investors of more than $9 million. My Office will continue to root out financial fraud and bring to justice those who would abuse the trust of investors for their own profit.”

According to documents filed in court, Penn’s investment advisory company managed Camelot, a $120 million private equity fund that invests in private equity companies when they are close to going public. PENN has a longstanding friendship with co-defendant EWERS.

Beginning in 2010, PENN raised assets for Camelot by soliciting investors – including a state pension fund – and eventually secured capital contributions of approximately $120 million. From October 2010 to July 2013, PENN transferred fund assets to a shell company controlled by PENN and EWERS, “Ssecurion,” under the false pretense that the assets were payments for due diligence services provided by EWERS. Using Ssecurion’s account, the defendants laundered money through several entities and accounts they controlled.

PENN used these investor funds for his own personal expenses, including credit card payments, cash withdrawals, and a car. In order to disguise their scheme, PENN and EWERS repeatedly made false statements to auditors, and produced dozens of false invoices that they presented to auditors. PENN also provided false information for financial statements that were presented to both auditors and investors.

Assistant District Attorney Chevon Walker prosecuted this case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Polly Greenberg, Chief of the Major Economic Crimes Bureau, and Executive Assistant District Attorney David M. Szuchman, Chief of the Investigation Division. Paralegal Thomas Kendris assisted with the case.

Financial Investigators Francine Wexler of the Forensic Accounting and Financial Investigations (“FAFI”) Bureau provided financial and investigative analysis, under the supervision of Irene Serrapica, Deputy Chief of FAFI, and Robert Demarest, Chief of FAFI. Investigators Faith Tuohy and Max Adler of the DANY Investigation Bureau provided investigative support, along with Supervising Investigator Santiago Batista, under the supervision of Michael J. Wigdor, Deputy Chief of the Investigation Bureau, and Walter Alexander, Chief of the Investigation Bureau.

District Attorney Vance thanked the New York Regional Office of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the San Francisco Police Department for their assistance in the investigation.

Defendant Information:

New York, NY


  • Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count


  • 2-to-6 years in state prison
  • Approximately $8.3 million in restitution

San Francisco, CA


  • Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Money Laundering in the First Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count


  • 1-to-3 years in state prison
  • Confession of judgment in the amount of approximately $319,000