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Hauke receiver files suit against his former accounting firm

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The receiver representing investors in the Ponzi scheme run by convicted money manager Keenan Hauke has sued Hauke's former accounting firm, charging that its negligence contributed to millions of dollars in investor losses.

Carmel attorney William Wendling Jr. filed suit in Marion Superior Court on Monday against Indianapolis-based DeWitt & Shrader PC and executives David DeWitt and Matthew Hickey.

The lawsuit claims the firm violated the Indiana Securities Act and committed negligence and fraud, as well as breach of contract, by failing to monitor Hauke’s bank accounts.

DeWitt & Shrader had served as the accounting firm for Hauke’s Fishers-based hedge fund, Samex Capital Partners LLC, from January 2006 until April 2011.

Wendling charges in the complaint that DeWitt & Shrader failed to monitor Samex’s bank accounts, enabling Hauke to pilfer investor funds for his personal use.

“As Samex’s accountants, defendants either knew or should have known that Hauke was not following generally accepted accounting practices and compliance procedures, and either knew or should have known that Hauke was stealing from Samex and was operating a Ponzi scheme,” Wendling said in the suit.

David DeWitt, the firm's top executive, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Hauke pleaded guilty to fraud in December and was sentenced to 10 years in prison in March. He also was ordered to make restitution of $7.1 million, the amount the court determined he swindled from 67 investors.

In the suit, though, Wendling estimates the losses at $10 million. He is seeking to recover all investor losses attributed to DeWitt & Shrader’s negligence, according to the suit.

The complaint against DeWitt & Shrader follows a separate suit Wendling filed in April on behalf of investors.

He sued Larcher Investments LP and one of its managers, David Larcher, in federal court in Indianapolis. Larcher is executive vice president of Vestar Development, a Phoenix-based real estate developer.

The lawsuit claims Larcher deposited about $2 million into Samex through a series of payments and reinvested profits in 2002, 2004 and 2005.

Then, in 2008, Hauke wired Larcher nearly $2.6 million, describing the extra money as a gain on Larcher’s investments. Wendling claims the money Larcher received actually came out of the pockets of other investors.

The case is pending in federal court.

Before his guilty plea, Hauke was a high-profile wealth manager who made regular appearances on CNBC, Fox Business Network, Bloomberg Television and Bloomberg Radio. He also wrote an investing column for IBJ.

 

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  1. A traditional parade of attorneys? Really Evansville? Y'all need to get out more. When is the traditional parade of notaries? Nurses? Sanitation workers? Pole dancers? I gotta wonder, do throngs of admiring citizens gather to laud these marching servants of the constitution? "Show us your billing records!!!" Hoping some video gets posted. Ours is not a narcissistic profession by any chance, is it? Nah .....

  2. My previous comment not an aside at court. I agree with smith. Good call. Just thought posting here a bit on the if it bleeds it leads side. Most attorneys need to think of last lines of story above.

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  4. He must be a Rethuglican, for if from the other side of the aisle such acts would be merely personal and thus not something that attaches to his professional life. AND ... gotta love this ... oh, and on top of talking dirty on the phone, he also, as an aside, guess we should mention, might be important, not sure, but .... "In addition to these allegations, Keaton was accused of failing to file an appeal after he collected advance payment from a client seeking to challenge a ruling that the client repay benefits because of unreported income." rimshot

  5. I am not a fan of some of the 8.4 discipline we have seen for private conduct-- but this was so egregious and abusive and had so many points of bad conduct relates to the law and the lawyer's status as a lawyer that it is clearly a proper and just disbarment. A truly despicable account of bad acts showing unfit character to practice law. I applaud the outcome.

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