The Securities and Exchange Commission obtained a temporary restraining order against and froze the assets of a New York-based investment advisor who’s also facing criminal charges for stealing more than $4 million from a single investor.
Surage Roshan Perera, the founder and executive director of Janues Capital Management in Bellerose, Queens, was arrested earlier this week and went before federal court in Central Islip, Long Island.
He faced a 16-count indictment, including securities fraud, investment advisor fraud, wire fraud and money laundering, according to the Department of Justice.
Although Perera is no longer registered, he worked at a number of firms since 2003, most recently at Aegis Capital from 2018 to 2022, according to his BrokerCheck profile.
Both the DOJ and SEC charges center on an unnamed investor, known as “Jane Doe” in the indictment. Perera met Doe when he was an Aegis rep, and in February 2022, convinced her to invest with four issuers through Janues, saying he could purchase “large allotments” of issuers’ restricted stock at a discount. Attorneys for Perera could not be reached as of publication.
Through a strategy he called “options straddles,” Perera said he could prevent losses and guarantee returns on some investments up to 9%, with the potential reaching 50% in returns, according to the SEC. Over the course of the next several months until August 2022, the client made seven payments, ranging from $270,000 to more than $1.3 million, for a total of nearly $4.3 million, according to the commission.
But in most cases, after getting the investment amount, Perera would withdraw much of it via direct transfers to his own bank account. Eventually, he parked most of the funds in a brokerage account in his wife’s name, though Perera appeared to have access or control of the account.
Instead of making the investments, he lost about $3 million of Jane Doe’s funds in “high volume, highly leveraged trading” in other securities, with more than $2.5 billion in total transactions during that time.
All this time, the investor asked for evidence of the investments, and Perera would supply false proof, including documentation on transactions that didn’t exist. Last month, Jane Doe spoke with two people, including a former colleague of Perera’s from Aegis Capital, who assured her that he could never have obtained the discounts he promised from issuers.
She continued to push him for repayment, and he continued to demur, at one point blaming the recent bank failures and claiming a party he attempted to get loans from banked with Signature. Eventually, Perera resorted to using funds from others to make her payments.
Perera faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted. The SEC also named Nishani Alahakoon, Perera’s wife, as a relief defendant. In addition to successfully getting a restraining order and asset freeze, the commission is pursuing disgorgement and civil penalties.