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Tampa 'genius' with luxury tastes charged in investment scheme

TAMPA — Former hedge fund manager Anthony J. Klatch II's mother once told a reporter that her son, a Tampa resident, had a genius IQ and referred to himself in a letter as a "brain surgeon of the market."

Here's what the "brain surgeon" did, federal prosecutors say, after his 2012 conviction in a $2.3 million investment scam:

Klatch, barred by a judge from giving investment advice, held informal "classes" in prison teaching inmates about investing and stocks. After his release, Klatch lost $367,000 entrusted to him by a man he met on Stocktwits.com in just three days of trading. Klatch bought two BMWs that caught his probation officer's attention.

Klatch, 35, was charged with wire fraud in Tampa federal court Friday for setting up an investment firm and soliciting investors with the false claim he had $18 million in assets. But Klatch, barred from any investment activity by his prior conviction, defrauded investors and enriched himself, prosecutors said.

Klatch, already imprisoned on an unrelated identity theft conviction, faces 20 years in prison on the new charge.

Prosecutors in U.S. District Court have not said how many people invested in Klatch's company, Assurance Capital Management, nor the amount he is accused of defrauding. A search warrant in the case details one unidentified victim who lost $367,000.

Klatch, who lived in a Gandy Boulevard apartment, often used an alias in soliciting investors, asking them to provide him access to their online trading accounts so he could trade on their behalf, prosecutors say.

"At no time during the scheme did Klatch tell his investors ... that he had prior federal criminal convictions for conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering, or that he was banned by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission and Security and Exchange Commission from trading in these markets," U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III's office said in a news release.

In 2011, Klatch was charged in Alabama federal court with operating a fraudulent scheme involving the TASK Capital Partners hedge fund, a firm he formed with a partner. The hedge fund collected $2.3 million from seven investors between April and December 2009, prosecutors said. Klatch invested $1.

In pleading guilty in that case, Klatch admitted only 60 percent of the money was ever invested in anything, and all of that money lost in addition to the remaining 40 percent used for unauthorized expenses, including money Klatch pocketed.

In 2012, he was sentenced to five years in prison for that scheme and barred from all investment activity.

Klatch was sentenced to nine months in prison in September 2015 after his probation violations came to light. After his release earlier this year to a halfway house, Klatch fled before he was arrested in South Florida.

Klatch apparently liked his toys. After his 2012 conviction, he forfeited an Aston Martin car, a Tiara yacht, a Cirrus aircraft and one ordinary backpack stuffed with $22,513 in cash.

Contact William R. Levesque at levesque@tampabay.com. Follow @Times_Levesque.

Tampa 'genius' with luxury tastes charged in investment scheme 01/27/17 [Last modified: Friday, January 27, 2017 6:05pm]
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