The Real Deal New York

FBI, IRS search former insurance magnate’s offices

Raid indicates active criminal investigation into Alexander Chatfield Burns

February 05, 2016 04:20PM

Alexander Chatfield Burns

Alexander Chatfield Burns (credit: Museum of American Finance)

Federal authorities raided the Manhattan office of insurance magnate Alexander Chatfield Burns’ former company Southport Lane Management last month, indicating an active criminal investigation into Burns’ insurance dealings.

About a dozen FBI and IRS agents showed up unannounced at Southport Lane’s offices on Jan. 14 and carted off more than 20 boxes of material as well as copies of computer hard drives, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Burns left Southport Lane two years ago as his insurance empire collapsed amid allegations that he had siphoned millions of dollars into questionable or nonexistent investments, the Journal reported.

Shortly before resigning from the firm, Burns checked himself into Bellevue Hospital’s mental health ward – but not before leaving a signed affidavit describing an unusual series of asset transfers.

Deleware regulators have alleged that upon gaining control of an insurer in the state, Burns’ firm sold millions of dollars in insurance holdings and replaced them with worthless or nonexistent assets — including the rights to a purported Caravaggio painting.

Southport Lane’s holdings have included several vineyards on Long Island’s North Fork. [WSJ]Rey Mashayekhi

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