My favorite section of the indictment against Ralph Cioffi and Miatthew Tannin (which is good reading):
As described to investors by the defendants and others, the High Grade Fund’s objective was to provide a modest, safe and steady source of returns to its investors. CIOFFI, TANNIN and others told investors that they could expect annual returns of approximately 10 to 12%, and that the High Grade Fund was not designed to hit “home runs.” The defendants and others led investors to believe that the High Grade was only slightly riskier than a money market fund.
For a considerable period, the High Grade Fund’s performance was generally consistent with these representations. By 2006, however, the fund’s performance had begun to decline. In part as a response to this performance decline, and as a consequence of threatened investor withdrawals of money (“redemptions”) from the High Grade Fund, CIOFFI, TANNIN and others opened the Enhanced Fund in August 2006.
The Enhanced Fund invested primarily in CDOs. It employed substantially more leverage than the High Grade Fund. CIOFFI, TANNIN and others told investors that the Enhanced Fund would generate greater profits than the High Grade Fund, but that
the Enhanced Fund would carry only limited additional risk, in part because it would invest in an even higher proportion of the
least risky securities. The increased profits would result from increased leverage.
Anything that promises money market risk and 8-10% real returns is not an investment. It’s a scam.