Posted on 39 Comments

Bryan Caisse Comes Home

A former submarine weapons officer turned hedge fund manager, Bryan Caisse was arrested on Saturday in Bogota, Colombia, by officers from the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service.

His name should ring a bell for Southern Investigative Reporting Foundation readers: Caisse was the subject of a December report detailing how the once well-regarded mortgage-bond fund manager disappeared from New York in the autumn, leaving a daughter and numerous investors from his fund behind and in the dark.

In October, a prosecutor with the New York County district attorney’s major economic crimes bureau impaneled a grand jury to investigate a host of allegations surrounding Caisse’s nonpayment of a series of so-called working capital loans to his hedge fund, Huxley Capital Management.

Specifically, the prosecutor was interested in unpaid loans from Caisse’s friends and family, many of whom had lent him money on the assurance that there was virtually no risk involved and that it would be repaid with interest in under a year. The Southern Investigative Reporting Foundation obtained documents showing Caisse avoided repaying several of these investors by creating email accounts for a pair of fictitious personal assistants that repeatedly assured the investors a wire transfer was forthcoming or an overnight mail delivery of a check was en route.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance unsealed charges earlier today.

The article prompted a flood of replies from readers, many of whom were angry over the portrayal of Caisse, a proud U.S. Naval Academy graduate, recalling a generous and fun-loving friend and former colleague. Several writers noted that Ritchie Capital Management, which lent Caisse’s Huxley $2 million, had not claimed fraud despite having not been paid back. (Ritchie’s position is, however, more discreet: Representatives of the Chicago-based fund, which as the original article noted is no stranger to regulatory woes, argued to the grand jury that any issue is civil in scope and does not — in their view — appear to be criminal.)

In addition, there were numerous objections to a brief reference about Caisse’s drug use, drinking and colorful personal life, as well as expressions of doubt that the 50-year-old had fled the New York City area at all.

But there is no doubt that starting around the third week of October, Caisse showed up in Medellin, Colombia, claiming to be working closely with Colombian businessman Edgar Botero (an engineer best known in that country as the head of the Miss Colombia pageant) in developing a resort between the coastal cities of Cartagena and Barranquilla.

Nothing much emerged from those plans, but Caisse took up residence in Medellin, moving into a small apartment above the Shamrock Irish Pub. Spending many of his days (and nights) drinking with the small U.S. expatriate community there, Caisse alienated several Americans, who grew weary of business plans that never materialized, playing host to him and his increasing reliance on them for loans.

So earlier this month, when Antonio Zamudio, a special agent with the Diplomatic Security Service, showed up in Medellin asking questions about Caisse’s whereabouts, there was no shortage of people hanging around the Shamrock willing to spill the beans, a rare occurrence in a city where visibly cooperating with law enforcement has long been a death sentence.

Caisse’s former friends at the Shamrock told Zamudio that Caisse was planning to be back in Medellin on Saturday, Jan. 18, providing an opportunity to interdict him as he sought to board a plane in Bogota for the trip. On Saturday afternoon, at least one Shamrock regular got a text from Caisse, saying he was “delayed” in Bogota by authorities for an unspecified reason.

On Oct. 8, 2014, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance sentenced Cassie to serve 1 ½ to 4 ½ years in state prison for stealing more than $1 million from former U.S. Naval Academy classmates and friends, persuading them to give him loans in connection with a new company.

Update: This story was updated on Oct. 8, 2014, with information about Cassie’s sentencing.