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Justice for James Velissaris
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Black Fund Manager Files Motion to Withdraw Plea in Securities Case after Government hides evidence of innocence
Infinity Q Founder James Velissaris Seeks Trial
(Atlanta, Ga)-On Friday, leading law firm Barnes & Thornburg filed a motion on behalf of Infinity Q founder James Velissaris to withdraw from a November plea deal regarding one count of alleged securities fraud. Velissaris, a graduate of Harvard University and Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering, was one of the leading African American fund managers in the country at the time his case began. After establishing himself as one of the highest performing managers on Wall Street, Velissaris founded his own firm, Infinity Q Capital Management, in 2014 and was backed by renowned investor David Bonderman. In 2021, Velissaris was falsely accused of overstating the value of his multibillion-dollar fund solely based on a discrepancy between his valuation calculations and that of the Bloomberg BVAL pricing tool. Velissaris believed, and repeatedly stated that the tool was not working properly and therefore the team had to augment with other known industry data points to arrive at more reasonable valuations. In January of this year, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) found that the Bloomberg tool did, in fact, miscalculate values and, as a result, fined Bloomberg $5 million dollars.
In his request to withdraw his plea, Velissaris' filing states on page 23, "At the same time the government was claiming BVAL was an authoritative source in this case to show that Mr. Velissaris improperly valued Infinity Q securities, the SEC had an ongoing investigation into that very same valuation tool. A significant part of Mr. Velissaris’ defense includes the reasonableness of his adjustments to the BVAL inputs in order to reach fair value for Infinity Q securities because of the very deficiencies in the tool shown by the SEC settlement.”
The Infinity Q investor disclosure documents clearly state that the team had discretion to use their expert judgement when pricing the portfolio. According to the SEC settlement, the Bloomberg BVAL tool was not producing reasonable values. Therefore, Infinity Q valuations should not be expected to match the values of the broken tool.
Velissaris' legal team submitted five additional points in their request to withdraw the plea. The six point argument for withdrawal asserts that (1) Velissaris repeatedly disclosed in investment documents to investors that the funds would depart from BVAL valuation, (2) his valuation models were in line with market conditions, (3) he requested from his previous legal team almost immediately to request a withdrawal (4), the government is not harmed by allowing Velissaris to go to trial and (5) that he did not want to accept a plea and (6), as stated above, the government hid several pieces of exculpatory evidence including known deficiencies in the Bloomberg BVAL tool.
Velissaris recently retained legal counsel from Barnes & Thornburg's Washington, DC office. The legal team is led by Michael Battle, a former US Attorney, judge and director of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys and Billy Martin, a former federal prosecutor with over 40 years of experience and named as one of the country's '50 Most Influential Minority Attorneys'. Currently, the request to withdraw is pending.