Say what you will about Steven Zoernack-- that his pitch for EquityStar Capital Management was based on lies, that he stole from investors, that he covered up his criminal past, that he answered to the name Mandy during meetings with big fish--, the guy worked his a$$ off.
The SEC’s Enforcement Division alleges in an administrative proceeding against Zoernack and his firm EquityStar Capital Management: Zoernack secretly made more than $1 million in unauthorized withdrawals from the funds’ accounts without informing investors. Zoernack and EquityStar took extensive measures to hide Zoernack’s background that included two felony fraud convictions, a bankruptcy filing, and other money judgments and liens against him. Zoernack even hired a firm to manipulate search results on his name by flooding the Internet with misleading information indicating he was a successful fund manager, investor, and philanthropist. This made it harder for investors to discover Zoernack’s criminal convictions and other negative information in Internet searches. Zoernack used at least three false identities while communicating with investors to make Equity Star sound like more than a one-man operation. For example, he created a nonexistent woman named Amanda Sutton who carried the title: Investor Relations Professional.