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Police find car of missing Sarasota hedge fund manager

SARASOTA — Police found the car of a missing investment fund manager at the airport this week, authorities confirmed Saturday.

Arthur G. Nadel, 75, and $350-million of investor money were believed to have vanished this week after Nadel's family reported him missing. Managers of the fund have told investors that the money is gone, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported.

Police at the Sarasota-Bradenton Airport found his light green Subaru on Thursday, the Herald-Tribune reported on its Web site Saturday.

Local authorities were working with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the FBI in the ongoing fraud investigation.

Investigators were interviewing investors and looking into claims that Arthur G. Nadel stole from them, said Sarasota police Capt. Bill Spitler.

It was too soon to say how much was invested, but there were reports the hedge fund could be out $350-million. Investors had last heard that their money earned more than 8 percent as of November, despite market losses in a historic economic downturn.

"The victims that I know of, I know some of them personally, they have no reason to lie," Spitler said.

Nadel, who operated under the name Scoop Management in Sarasota, was last heard from on Wednesday.

That morning, his wife, Peg Nadel, saw him getting ready for work, Sarasota Lt. Chuck Lesaltato told the Herald-Tribune.

About 1:20 p.m., Nadel called stepson Geoff Quisenberry and told him to go home and read the note he left. After doing so, his family reported him missing.

"It was enough to alarm the family and to show that Mr. Nadel was distraught," Lesaltato said of the note, adding that investigators are concerned about his welfare.

The missing persons report lists his disappearance as a possible suicide, but Lesaltato was reluctant to describe the letter as a suicide note.

Quisenberry said Saturday that the family is not yet ready to comment. "We love him. We miss him. We hope that he is safe, and we hope that he comes home," Quisenberry said.

Art Nadel's ex-wife, Virginia Hoffman, a Sarasota artist, said she ran into her ex-husband six weeks ago. She said she immediately knew something was amiss.

"I knew something had to be going on," Hoffman said. "I think things must have been coming down around his head, and he was holding on for dear life."

The couple divorced in 1991 after four years of marriage, though she said they had seen each other for a decade before marrying.

"My husband had a history in Sarasota that wasn't a secret," Hoffman said of Nadel. "Many here knew about his past business deals which had gone sour. Yet, folks still trusted him with their money. Why?"

Times staff writer William R. Levesque contributed to this report.

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If you have information about Arthur G. Nadel or have invested or lost money with him, the St. Petersburg Times would like to hear from you. Please call our city desk at (727) 893-8215.

Police find car of missing Sarasota hedge fund manager 01/17/09 [Last modified: Sunday, January 18, 2009 1:29am]

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