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Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Fund Manager Sentenced

by: Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

The Florida proprietor behind a small index fund has been found guilty of defrauding fund investors. Steven H. Adler of Tampa Bay was convicted of diverting fund assets to pay personal expenses and operating expenses for the fund sponsor. He was sentenced to a prison term of five years and ordered to pay $900,000 of restitution.

Adler, 64, was the founder of the founder of the ASM Index 30 Fund. He also still proclaims that he is innocent of the charges. A jury convicted him on 13 counts of mail fraud and seven counts of wire fraud last May.

"I was advised to avoid a trial, and plea bargain, because a jury rarely understands complicated cases involved with finance," he wrote recently in a statement to the St. Petersburg Times. "Despite understanding this logic, I couldn't plead guilty to something I didn't do. It goes against my belief of our system."

The prosecutors contended that Adler sent investors in the fund fictitious account statements. Investors also claim that they thought Adler removed funds from the ASM Fund to a money market account as part of a market timing strategy. Instead, the prosecution contended that Adler pocketed the funds and used them to subsidize the operating expenses of Vector Asset Management. 

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