December 13, 2012

A man who stole money from clients after convincing them he was a Harvard-trained hedge fund manager with more than $1 billion under management plead guilty on Wednesday to five counts of wire fraud, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Andrey Hicks pleaded guilty before U.S. Federal Judge Patti Saris in Boston, admitting that he had stolen $2.3 million from 10 people who believed he was investing the money into his firm, Locust Offshore Management.

He was arrested last year while trying to flee to Switzerland.

An attorney for Hicks could not immediately be reached for comment.

Hicks is scheduled to be sentenced on March 6, 2013 and faces up to 20 years in prison.

In March, a federal judge ordered him and Locust Offshore to pay back $2.5 million with interest plus pay more than $5 million in penalties.

Hicks' story garnered media attention partly because National Basketball Association player Kris Humphries, the former husband of reality TV star Kim Kardashian, had invested money with Hicks, a government source familiar with the matter said at the time.

In addition to saying he was an Ivy League graduate, Hicks told investors that he had been a successful hedge fund manager at Barclays Capital and that his fund earned nearly 80 percent profit in 2011, the Department of Justice said.

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