NEW YORK (JTA) — Financier J. Ezra Merkin was charged in a civil fraud complaint alleging that he misled hundreds of investors into placing $2.4 billion of their money with Bernard Madoff.
The charges were brought against Merkin, who funneled billions of dollars from nonprofits and universities to Madoff through his Ascot Partners Fund, by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The complaint filed Monday does not allege that Merkin was aware that Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme, but rather that he misled investors who thought that Merkin was managing the money himself.
“We are disappointed that the attorney general of the state of New York has filed this hasty and ill-conceived civil lawsuit, against which we intend to defend vigorously," Andrew Levander, counsel for Merkin, said in a statement, according to the Journal. "The evidence shows that this lawsuit is without merit."