Former Wetherly Placement Agent Pleads Guilty in Pay-For-Play – WSJ

Julio Ramirez, a former placement agent at Wetherly and, a month ago, Blackstone Group, is the latest to become entangled in the New York State pension fund pay-to-play scandal. Ramirez has plead guilty to a criminal misdemeanor charge, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing anonymous sources. An announcement from the New York Attorney General is expected.

Ramirez is accused of being part of Hank Morris’ “‘national network of actors who often acted in concert across the country’ to help firms secure investments from pension funds and allow agents to collect lucrative fees.”

Ramirez accepted the fraudulent fees while he was working at Wetherly Capital Group in Los Angeles, sometimes funneling the money through his company Ramirez Partners.  In 2005, Ramirez joined to Park Hill Group, a placement agent owned by Blackstone Group, as its sole Los Angeles partner.

In April peHUB reported that Ramirez had left Park Hill for reasons unclear. He announced his intention to leave in January and his last day was March 31, but said nothing of the investigation. The spokesperson said after his departure, rumors began to swirl and Blackstone did an internal investigation into his work while at Park Hill. The firm concluded Ramirez did not violated the firm’s “high standards of conduct” or “evaded our rigorous controls.”

Read more coverage of the New York Pay-For-Play Scandal here.