U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 22167 / November 22, 2011
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Patrick G. Rooney and Solaris Management, LLC, Case No. 1:11-cv-08264 (N.D. IL)
SEC CHARGES ILLINOIS-BASED HEDGE FUND ADVISER AND ITS OWNER FOR FRAUDULENT CONDUCT
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that on November 18, it filed a civil injunctive action against Patrick G. Rooney (“Rooney”), a resident of Oakbrook, Illinois, and his company, Solaris Management, LLC (“Solaris Management”), the investment adviser to the Solaris Opportunity Fund, LP (“Solaris Fund”) for the fraudulent misuse of the Solaris Fund’s assets and other illegal conduct.
According to the SEC’s complaint, the Solaris Fund is purportedly a non-directional hedge fund with approximately 30 investors and reported assets of $16,277,780 as of December 2008. Contrary to the Solaris Fund’s offering documents and marketing materials, Rooney and Solaris Management allegedly made a radical change in the Solaris Fund’s investment strategy by becoming wholly invested in Positron Corp. (“Positron”), a financially troubled microcap company of which Rooney has been Chairman since 2004. Rooney, who has received compensation from Positron since September 2005, allegedly misused the Solaris Fund’s money by investing over $3.6 million in Positron through both private transactions and market purchases. Many of the private transactions were undocumented while other investments were loans to Positron at 0% interest. The complaint alleges that Rooney and Solaris Management hid the Positron investments and Rooney’s relationship with the company from the Solaris Fund’s investors for over four years. Although Rooney finally told investors about the Positron investments in a March 2009 newsletter, he allegedly lied by telling them he became Chairman to safeguard the Solaris Funds’ investment. The complaint further alleges that these investments benefited Positron and Rooney while providing the Solaris Fund with a concentrated, undiversified, and illiquid position in a cash-poor company with a lengthy track record of losses.
The SEC’s complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, charges Rooney and Solaris Management with violating Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Sections 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) and Rules 10b-5 and thereunder, and Sections 206(1), 206(2), and 206(4) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (“Advisers Act”) and Rule 206(4)-8(a)(1) and (a)(2) thereunder. The complaint also charges Rooney with aiding and abetting Solaris Management’s violations of Section 206(4) of the Advisers Act and Rule 206(4)-8(a)(1) thereunder, and Rooney and Solaris Management with aiding and abetting the Solaris Fund’s violation of Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5(b) thereunder, and Section 13(d)(1) of the Exchange Act and Rule 13d-1 thereunder.
The SEC is seeking permanent injunctions, disgorgement of any ill-gotten gains plus prejudgment interest and civil monetary penalties against Rooney and Solaris Management, and an officer and director bar against Rooney.