April 30 U.S. securities regulators have charged
a Utah-based retirement fund and its CEO with defrauding
investors of millions of dollars and froze the fund's assets.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said American
Pension Services Inc and its founder and CEO Curtis DeYoung lost
more than $22 million of investor funds on high-risk
"This misconduct jeopardized retirement security for
thousands of APS customers," said Karen Martinez, director of
the SEC's Salt Lake Regional Office.
According to the SEC, DeYoung's schemes targeted customers
with retirement accounts holding assets typically not available
through traditional 401(k) retirement plans or through other
individual retirement accounts (IRA) custodians.
The SEC also alleged that investments in bankrupt ventures,
including an office building in Wichita, Kankas, caused APS
customers to lose more money.
APS concealed those losses and issued account statements
that inflated the value of customer holdings, allowing APS to
levy fees based on the full value of the holdings even when they
Self-directed IRAs are an area of focus for the SEC, Andrew
Ceresney, the agency's enforcement head, said on Wednesday at
the Reuters Financial Regulation Summit in Washington.
The SEC is especially concerned, "given the lack of
regulation in that area," Ceresney said.
Last year, the agency filed civil charges against an Indiana
man who allegedly helped investors set up self-directed IRA
accounts and gained control over their retirement assets, which
he used to fund luxurious personal expenses and several start-up
companies, the SEC said.
More enforcement cases are in the works, Ceresney said.
(Reporting by Avik Das and Suzanne Barlyn; Editing by Maju