Federal regulators have charged a missing hedge fund manager with fraud, saying he misled investors and overstated the value of investments in the six funds by about $300 million.

The Securities and Exchange Commission won a court order Wednesday freezing the assets of Arthur G. Nadel, of Sarasota, Fla., and other defendants in the case.

Nadel owed investors a $50 million payout, told his wife in a note he felt guilty and threatened to kill himself, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office. Authorities believe that Nadel, 76, planned his Jan. 14 disappearance.

The SEC says Nadel recently transferred at least $1.25 million from two of the hedge funds to secret bank accounts that he controlled.