MOUNT DESERT, Maine — A Pennsylvania investment adviser who is being sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly running a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme has local ties that include people who may have invested with him.

David Anthony Walker Young, known as Tony, is accused in the civil complaint of misappropriating millions of dollars in client assets, according to officials with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC alleges that, since mid-2005, Young has misused more than $23 million in investor funds “to pay other investors in the nature of a Ponzi scheme.”

Click here to view the full text of the civil complaint.

A federal court judge in Pennsylvania has ordered Young’s assets frozen pending the outcome of the complaint, which seeks to recover any ill-gotten funds and apply civil penalties.

Young, 38, owns a $700,000 home on Tennis Club Road in the village of Northeast Harbor. A competitive sailor, Young is active in the Northeast Harbor Fleet yacht club and maintains an office above a bank on Main Street in Northeast Harbor.

No one answered a telephone call placed to Young’s local office on Monday afternoon.

Young resides for most of the year in Coatesville, Pa., but also owns a house in Palm Beach, Fla., that, according to the Palm Beach Daily News, is about a block away from the home of convicted $50 billion Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff.

In the lawsuit filed April 17 in federal court in Pennsylvania, SEC officials allege that Young may have used $1.9 million in investor money to purchase the Palm Beach home in April 2006 for $2.1 million in cash. He also is accused of stealing more than $11.8 million that had been invested in his firms, Acorn Capital Management and Acorn II, to pay personal expenses “related to credit cards, horse ownership and racing, construction, boats, limousines, private jet charters and other luxuries.”

Young is accused of directing misappropriated funds to others, including Milliken & Co. co-heir W.B. Dixon Stroud Jr. Stroud, who owns a $3.9 million summer home in Northeast Harbor, also has had his assets frozen.

According to federal officials, Young transferred more than $7 million to Stroud in early 2008. In order to recover some of the money, the SEC has listed Stroud, Young’s wife, Neely Young, and Oak Grove Partners — a separate limited partnership advised by Acorn II — as relief defendants in the civil complaint against Young.

“[They] have been unjustly enriched and must be compelled to disgorge the amount of their unjust enrichment,” the complaint indicates about Stroud, Oak Grove and Neely Young.

SEC officials allege that Young perpetuated the scheme by using false information and phony documents to deceive accountants, investors and others. Young also refused to provide documents to SEC officials, resulting in an April 17 FBI raid at his office in Kennett Square, Pa. It is unclear whether Young also may face crimi-nal charges.

Acorn Capital Management’s Web site indicates that the firm “provides wealth management services to the ultra-affluent investor or those individuals with the desire to take action in life to become ultra-affluent.”

According to The Wall Street Journal, Campbell’s Soup co-heir George Strawbridge Jr. also had invested with Young, but the newspaper did not indicate how much or whether Strawbridge may have recovered any of his money. Strawbridge owns a $3.2 million home on Sargeant Drive in Northeast Harbor, according to the town’s official online assessor’s database.

Both Strawbridge and Stroud are active in the horse breeding and racing circles in southeast Pennsylvania.

Sydney Roberts Rockefeller, a year-round Seal Harbor resident, said Monday that she had not invested any money with Young but that several people she knows who summer in Mount Desert likely did. She said Young, who with his wife has a couple of young children, was a “regular family person” whom she knew from seeing him at the local swimming club and because they both own International One Design racing sailboats.

“He had a lot of nice, wealthy people he was connected with,” she said.

Rockefeller said she knew nothing about the allegations against Young.

“It would be lovely if [the allegations] weren’t true,” Rockefeller said. “There happen to be a lot of nice people in the area with a lot of money.”


Avatar photo

Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....