Cornell Capital Partners, a hedge fund that specializes in finance for ailing penny-stock companies, is being investigated by securities regulators for its trading activity in shares of nine companies.
The Jersey City, N.J.-based hedge fund, which has more than $200 million in assets, disclosed the investigation in its most recent audited financial statement, a copy of which was obtained by TheStreet.com. Copies of the hedge fund's 2004 financial statement were mailed to Cornell investors in late August.
The Securities and Exchange Commission investigation of Cornell stems from a broad-based regulatory inquiry into allegations of manipulative trading in the $17 billion-a-year market for PIPEs, the Wall Street acronym for private investment in public equity.
For the past two years, securities regulators have been looking into the activities of hedge funds that invest in PIPEs and the brokerages that help arrange these private stock sales for companies in desperate need of cash.