SEC fines biotech investor, UW alum G. Steven Burrill for misusing investors’ money

SEC fines biotech investor, UW alum G. Steven Burrill for misusing investors’ money

Well-known San Francisco biotech investor and UW-Madison alumnus G. Steven Burrill and his firm will pay nearly $6 million to settle charges Burrill misused investors’ money to “prop up other struggling businesses he owned and finance his lavish lifestyle,” the Securities and Exchange Commission said Wednesday.

The SEC says money Burrill funneled from the Burrill Life Sciences Capital Fund III as “advanced” management fees was actually spent on family vacations to St. Barts and Paris as well as jewelry, gifts and private jets.

“Even though they are exempt from registration, venture capital advisers like Burrill have fiduciary obligations to their clients that we will enforce,” said Andrew Ceresney, director of the SEC’s enforcement division. “Burrill spent his fund’s capital on whatever he pleased, and elevated his own interests above those of investors.”

Under terms of the settlement, Burrill and his firm, Burrill Capital Management, will have to repay $4.785 million to the fund and pay a $1 million penalty. Burrill also is barred from the securities industry.

Burrill founded his own investment firm in 1994 after handling services to the life sciences industry for the Ernst & Young accounting firm for 28 years.

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