You may recall that in August of last year Apollo Global coughed up $53 million over what the SEC described as “misleading fund investors about fees” and “failing to supervise a senior partner who charged personal expenses to the funds.” It didn't take long for interested parties to learn that the executive in question was senior partner Ali Rashid, who departed in 2014 after reportedly charging $290,000 to client funds for things like flying his girlfriend to Paris.
Now the government has finally gotten around to laying out its charges against Rashid himself, and the complaint is a doozy. You might not be surprised to learn that Rashid's alleged habits included high-end real estate, family trips around the world, spa visits, extravagant grooming and Ermenegildo Zegna suits. But you will be surprised to learn just how brazen the whole thing appears.
For example, in 2012 Rashid (a very good son, if nothing else) allegedly bought a Zegna suit for his dad and promptly expensed it. But because he was traveling at the time he wasn't able to get a receipt to his administrative assistant. So she did what any law-abiding assistant would do and called the proprietor. When Rashid caught wind of this, he got creative, the complaint says:
Shortly after Rashid's assistant received the Zegna receipt, she received a telephone call from Rashid asking why she called Zegna for a receipt. She explained that Apollo's T&E policies required a vendor receipt. Rashid then told her the $3,500 receipt Zegna had sent her for his father's suit was the wrong receipt and that he would obtain the correct receipt. Thereafter, Rashid emailed a form receipt from Zegna to his assistant that was blank except for a handwritten note stating "35 ties for gifts ... $3500."
If only it were that easy! Apollo apparently found a lot of this sort of thing:
The expense manager identified a number of other suspicious entries, such as approximately $5,000 in New York City apartment realtor expenses that Rashid charged to a Relevant Fund, claiming that they were for "Research reports" relating to the fund's investments when, in fact, they were Rashid's personal expenses.
Here's a sampling of the other charges:
A $965 personal charge at high-end clothing store Ermenegildo Zegna...Rashid falsely claimed that it was “shirts and ties” for fifteen specific portfolio company executives to celebrate the company's IPO.
Over $2,300 in charges at the Apple Store in May 2010 for purported "IPO gifts," an additional $1,265 in charges at Zegna in July 2010 for purported "office gifts," and a $275 charge at Bliss Spa for "a missed appointment due to [portfolio company] conference call that ran over — no last minute cancellations." None of these expenses were client gifts, and the $275 charge at Bliss was, in fact, for approximately $75 in services for his sister and an approximately $200 gift card used for Rashid's personal purposes.
about $7,500 in airfare and hotel charges for a vacation Rashid and his wife took to attend a friend's wedding in Hawaii in 2010
approximately $7,500 for trips to Cancun, Mexico, with his wife over the New Year's holidays in 2010 and 2011
approximately $1,400 for trips to bed-and-breakfast hotels near the New Jersey shore in 2009, 2010, and 2011
approximately $5,000 for a trip to the St. Regis Bal Harbour resort in Florida with his parents and sister over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2012
approximately $4,000 for weekend trips to Las Vegas, Nevada in 2012 and 2013.
The obvious lesson here is not to grift from your client funds, or really to grift at all for that matter. But the deeper moral is that if you have an administrative assistant, be very, very, very, very nice to him or her.