Indian father and son's hedge fund hit with lawsuit

The lawsuit claims that Vishwas Godbole told investors in 2008 that the funds were withstanding the financial crisis, but then in 2009 he told his clients that the funds' value had actually dropped by a combined USD 18 million, according to mercurynews.com.

He has several patents, including one for the fax modem. He co-founded one company, Navin Communications, which had several prominent investors including Hotmail founder Sabeer Bhatia, according to mercurynews.com

The operation started as a small investment fund for the family of retired tech executive Godbole and a few close friends, according to mercurynews.com.

But by 2008, it had grown to about 150 investors with USD 90 million in two separate funds, Opulent and Opulent Lite. Godbole, 64 called the allegations against him and his family "absurd and false" and said the lawsuit is mainly directed at Opulent Lite, the fund run by his son Neil.

The younger Godbole declined Vishwas, an IIT Bombay engineering graduate, retired from the tech business in 2001 after 25 years in Silicon Valley companies.

Neil, 29, is a 2002 UCLA graduate and began directing Opulent Lite's investments in 2005 after a working for a short duration Google.

Vishwas managed the Opulent Fund from his home in Saratoga, California. Neil directed Opulent Lite's investments mostly from his 2,500-square-foot condo on San Francisco's Front Street, according to mercurynews.com.

Hedge fund adviser Robert A Green of GreenTraderTax. com said there are thousands of small, lightly regulated funds like Opulent and Opulent Lite, with minimal staffing that sometimes ran from the manager's home.

"Often they shut down after a few years," Green said. Neil's fund has been liquidated, and he is currently working on his music, reported mercury.com.

In a letter last year to an investor who was withdrawing what was left of his investment in Opulent Lite, Neil wrote mournfully, "Please stay in touch with me or Vishwas.

This fund has always been a community affair from the very beginning, and I feel very badly at the end result at this time for the fund."

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