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Judge shoots down proposal to resolve Utah fraud case

Published August 26, 2013 9:06 am

Ruling • Investors told they can't take over properties of Fountain Green company.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A day after handing a big victory to investors in what was touted as one of Utah's largest financial frauds, U.S. District Judge Bruce Jenkins shocked them on Friday by shooting down their plan to take over ownership of the properties into which they had poured more than $200 million.

Jenkins summarily rejected a plan put forth by investors to take over ownership of the real estate properties associated with Management Solutions Inc., the Fountain Green company that federal regulators have alleged was fraudulently operated.

Instead, Jenkins said after some tweaks he would approve a plan set forth by the court-appointed receiver to hire a real estate broker and proceed with a sale.

"Obviously, we're very disappointed," said Greg Hoole, the attorney for investors. "The plan was supported by 98 percent of investors who responded to a straw poll."

About 220 investors in Management Solutions had put forth their own proposal on how to liquidate the properties consisting mostly of apartment buildings because they said the receiver's proposals would have cost them millions of dollars.

But on Friday,without hearing arguments from attorneys, Jenkins said the investor plan had serious flaws, including financial projections that couldn't be verified and was in a form appropriate for bankruptcy court only.

"I've come to the conclusion the plan is not the sort of plan the court can approve," Jenkins told the courtroom, filled with attorneys and investors.

He invited investors to make a bid for the properties if they thought they would increase in value in the future.

On Thursday, Jenkins had handed down a decision that said Management Solutions was not a Ponzi scheme overall, while various transactions might have been fraudulent. Investors had sought that ruling because it will affect how much the receiver could get back from some of them and how much might be returned to them after the properties were liquidated.

Management Solutions and owners Wendell and Allen Jacobson were sued in December 2011 by the Securities and Exchange Commission that alleged the company was insolvent and the owners had operated it as a Ponzi scheme in which money from new investors went to pay existing ones. Regulators also said the father-son duo had lied to potential investors about how their funds would be used and on other matters.

tharvey@sltrib.com