Man accused in alleged Ponzi scheme cited for contempt
A federal judge has ruled a Fountain Green man who was named as part of an alleged $200 million Ponzi scheme tried to hide assets from a court-appointed receiver and found him in contempt.
U.S. District Judge Bruce Jenkins took the action Tuesday against Allen R. Jacobson after he failed to turn over $220,000 in tax refunds to the receiver appointed to take over Management Solutions Inc. Federal regulators had alleged that the company had been operated as a Ponzi scheme in which funds from new investors were used to pay earlier investors to make it appear the business was profitable.
Jacobson has since turned over $170,000 after the monies were discovered by John Beckstead, the attorney appointed to oversee Management Solutions and gather its assets for return to investors. Jenkins ordered Jacobson to also forfeit the remaining $50,000.
"We've made some demands on him through his attorney for payment of that amount and have not received the payment," Beckstead said Wednesday.
Stephen Quesenberry, Jacobson's attorney, said the money had been withheld because Jacobson was confused about whether the $220,000 was part of a court order freezing the assets and requiring they be turned over to the receiver. Quesenberry added that all of the money has been surrendered except the $50,000, which went to Jacobson's former attorney, his current attorney said. It's unclear whether that money will be recovered.
"He fully cooperated," said Quesenberry. "He did nothing wrong."
As part of the contempt order, Jenkins said he was reserving the option of imposing further sanctions.
The Securities and Exchange Commission sued Jacobson and his father, Wendell, in December. Through Management Solutions Inc., they took in more than $200 million from about 225 investors for real estate investments, mostly in apartment buildings in various states. But, according to the lawsuit, the duo commingled funds from all their projects, failed to invest 50 percent of their own money in each project as promised and falsely said their apartment complexes had never lost money.
Investor monies that were supposed to stay in limited liability companies formed for each investment instead were used to pay returns for other LLCs to make it appear the companies were operating at a profit in what's known as a Ponzi scheme, the lawsuit alleges.
The Jacobsons deny they were operating a Ponzi scheme because they say they there are sufficient assets to repay all investors when the properties are sold. Attorneys portray Wendell Jacobson as a farmer who got in over his head when his company got too big.
Jenkins froze the assets of the Jacobsons and their company after the lawsuit was filed and required that they be turned over to the receiver.
Allen Jacobson was released from the order freezing assets on March 2, but the receiver said prior to that he had an obligation to turn over the tax returns and other property.
Jacobson failed to turn over $208,393 in state and federal tax returns, Beckstead said in a motion asking that he be held in contempt. The monies were "secretly deposited into undisclosed bank accounts,"according to the motion.
Wendell Jacobson's assets remain frozen.
In other regulatory actions
The Securities and Exchange Commission recently took these actions against Utah companies:
Rocky Point Pharmaceuticals Inc. • The agency began proceedings that could end in the revocation or suspension of the company's registration because it is delinquent in required filings.
Woods Cross Holding Corp. • The SEC is considering whether to revoke or suspend its registration because the company is delinquent in required filings.
Raymond P. Morris • The owner of E&R Holdings LLC, Wise Financial Holdings LLC and Momentum Leading LLC faces a court injunction prohibiting him from future violations of federal securities law for raising $60 million from investors by selling unregistered securities. He was alleged to have lied to investors or withheld important information and used investor monies "to support his extravagant lifestyle" and for payments to other investors in what's known as a Ponzi scheme. He is also facing an administrative action by the SEC.
Fonix Corp. • Revoked its registration for failing to file periodic reports.
Kay Berensen-Galster • The president and part owner of National Stock Transfer Inc. was barred from association with anyone dealing in securities for violating share transfer rules.
Terry M. Deru • The officer of Belsen Getty Inc. and Prime Resource Inc. was barred from the securities industry and ordered to pay about $178,000 for numerous violations of securities laws for defrauding clients.
Tunix International Inc., now known as Aone Dental International Group • Revoked its registration for being delinquent on required SEC filings.