A New Canaan hedge fund manger, Greg R. Imbruce has been ordered to pay triple damages for committing civil theft against his investors in ASYM Capital. The three year legal battle that included accusation of fraud and defamation ended in a $7.8 million award for investors and the loss of management and performance fees for Imbruce. News over the miss-management of fund assets was first reported by me at Growth Capitalist in 2012 when I got word from an internal whistleblower his investors suspected him of fraud. My reporting also led to an investigation and enforcement action by the Conn. Department of Banking against Mr. Imbruce last year.
Imbruce is still using lawsuits to shift or distort blame from his illegal actions. He is currently suing his hedge fund lawyers for malpractice at Levett Rockwood, in Stamford Conn. State Court for their role in advising him on actions that led to the Conn. Department of Banking asserting securities law violations. This included fraud in connection of the offer and sale of any security because Imbruce misled his investors when he told them he had put his own money in the fund to entice them to commit more capital. Arbitration Judge Gordon ruled his investors legally removed him from the fund and as a result of his securities violations they were right to take away his carried interest in some hedge fund investments, like oil and gas company Starboard Resources. The carried interest could have translated to millions of dollars for Imbruce.
In a desperate effort to slow the confirmation of the $7.8 million judgment against him, Imbruce has also sued the American Arbitration Association in New York Federal Court. He is claiming a filing fee was not timely paid his investors, or not timely billed by AAA, in a move to throw out the award on a technicality. But according to lawyers familiar with practicing in arbitration his lawsuit against AAA is frivols because AAA has the discretion to interpret their own rules. I reported at Growth Capital Investor Jon Whitcomb, the investors attorney, says the fee has been paid and this has nothing to do with the merits of the case that led to the award. Imbruce is still expected to file a motion to vacate the judgment within the next 30 days but he would have to prove there was fraud in the hearing or bias by the judge. It’s rare arbitration awards are vacated and the move is usually seen as a delay tactic to avoid paying up. Even before the the award is confirmed by a State court judge his investors can place a lien on his New Canaan mansion and his beloved sailboat Joyride.
Imbruce and his wife Alana live in a $2.1 million home in New Canaan at 92 Turtle Back Road and are active members of Stamford Yacht Club. Town records show the New Canaan home was transferred into Alana’s name in February 2012 for $1 after Imbruce knew his investors were embroiled in a dispute over how their investment were managed. Greg and Alana are still listed as co-debtors payable on the $1.376 million mortgage.
This isn’t the first time the 44 year old graduate of Westport, Conn Staples high school and Leigh University has been in trouble for his actions while working in high finance. While managing the Madoff Securities Energy Portfolio, before he started his hedge fund, FINRA issued a small fine and an enforcement action against Imbruce for securities violations related to shorting follow-on stock offerings.
But the latest investor fraud award could mean serious personal financial trouble for Imbruce. The Imbruce hedge fund had around $15 million in assets rolled into an emerging growth oil and gas company called Starboard Resources. Imbruce started the Texas-based company, with his investors’ money, to make big bucks via an IPO or merger deal, but in April 2012 the board voted to remove him from Starboard for breach of duty of care and committing an act of dishonesty. Because of the arbitration award, Imbruce has now lost any equity investment in Starboard that he might have earned while managing director of his hedge fund ASYM Capital.
Imbruce has tried to discredit the three years of reporting I have done at the financial trade publication I work for, www.growthcapitalist.com, and my reporting at teribuhl.com by filing a libel suit against me and my publisher. He is also asking for a permanent injuction against me in an attempt to stop future reporting. This is nothing more than an anti-slaap suit and we’ve moved the case to federal court so we can be awarded attorney fees if the case is dismissed. I’ve been told by three different Fairfield Country attorneys that Imbruce has tried to get them to sue me over the years but they denied the case because he didn’t have real libel claims. A young sole practitioner who works out of his home in Monroe Conn, Rich Gora, took the case and filed a suit against us in March. At no time during my years of reporting did Imbruce ask for a correction and he was always given the chance to comment before we published. We received a list of sentences he ‘didn’t like’ without explanation of why he thought they were not factual the day before he sued us. We’ve made no changes to the reporting and have continued to report on Imbruce and his alleged misconduct–many of the actions in our reporting an arbirator now says he did. We believe his goal is to burden us with litigation cost until we can’t afford to continue.
Imbruce also wrote in his lawsuit he believes I’ve taken payment from his investors to report on him. That is absolutely not true. I am paid for my reporting work by Market Nexus Media (parent of www.growthcapitalist.com) and teribuhl.com is supported by minimal donations to get the publishing cost down but often I make nothing from the stories I cover here. I report on small funds and not so famous bad actors in the market here because they are often overlooked by other major publications I’ve reported for.
Here is additional reporting on Imbruce efforts to stop the media from reporting on him. Greg Imbruce, through his attorney, choose not comment on this story.