Hedge fund manager Edward Owens fancies himself a modern-day Andrew Carnegie, giving away large chunks of his fortune to charity.

But securities regulators investigating improper trading in the mutual fund industry see the Illinois resident as just another wealthy investor suspected of abusing the system.

Most notably, regulators have alleged in court filings that Owens' Samaritan Asset Management engaged in illegal late trading of mutual fund shares through an agreement the hedge fund had with Security Trust, the Phoenix-based trust that bank officials are shutting down.

Regulators won't say whether they intend to charge Owens or his fund, which has largely wound down its operations. But of all the shadowy characters to emerge from the mutual fund probe, Owens may be the most enigmatic. While others in the scandal were motivated by greed, Owens is the only one who claims to have been responding to a higher calling.

A former stockbroker with a penchant for expensive sports cars and turtle-skin boots, Owens now calls himself a born-again Christian committed to living with less. He claims to have given more than $10 million to mostly religious charities since going into the hedge fund business in 1996, and he even says he sold some of his cars to raise money for African famine relief.

In a speech a year ago to a conference organized by Generous Giving, a Christian group that encourages "biblical generosity," Owens said he and his wife Dimple decided to cap their net worth at $8 million, limit their annual income to $600,000 and give anything they earn above that to charity.

"For us, this has been the most meaningful change in our stewardship over the Lord's resources," Owens told the conference. "Our goal is to move towards a lifestyle comparable to a missionary in America." (Click here to see Owens' full speech .

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