- The Washington Times - Monday, April 20, 2009

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The founder of an investment firm in the Philadelphia suburbs misappropriated more than $23 million from clients and spent millions on luxuries from race horses to a Florida vacation home, federal officials said Monday.

D.A. Walker Young, 38, of Coatesville, used commingled accounts to swindle investors in Acorn II LP and used some of the money to pay other investors “in the nature of a Ponzi scheme,” the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said in a complaint filed in federal court.

There apparently were about 40 investors in Acorn, but investigators are still trying to determine just how many lost money and how large the individual losses were, said David Horowitz, assistant regional director of the SEC.

Young “directly stole” other money, using some to pay cash for a $2.1 million home in Palm Beach, Fla. the SEC said.

From 2006 to 2008, Young used the misappropriated funds to pay at least $11.8 million in personal expenses, including “credit cards, horse ownership and racing, construction, boats, limousines, private jet charters and other luxuries,” the complaint said.

A voicemail message left at Young’s home Monday wasn’t immediately returned. A telephone recording at Acorn in Kennett Square said the office was closed. Paul Huey-Burns, an attorney for Young and Acorn, said they were reviewing the SEC filings and would not comment.

U.S. District Judge John Padova granted a temporary restraining order on April 17 freezing the assets of Young and his wife, Neely Young, as well as those of the investment partnership. A hearing is scheduled April 27 on whether a preliminary injunction should be granted and the assets should remain frozen, Horowitz said.

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