Judge opens funds in seized retirement accounts
A federal judge on Wednesday partially unfroze the accounts of American Pension Services, the Riverton company allegedly missing some $24 million in clients' retirement funds.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby permitted a court-appointed receiver to allow 5,700 clients to have access to their funds, which had been frozen since the Securities and Exchange Commission sued last month and obtained an order temporarily suspending the accounts while a court-appointed receiver goes through the books and seizes assets.
The suit also named owner Curtis L. DeYoung, who allegedly took money out of the pool of client funds and made unauthorized investments, some of it with friends and entities accused of fraud.
Shelby also agreed the receiver may require account holders to set aside 20 percent of their money flowing in from investments until he approves a plan to divide up the losses among the company's clients.
Under questioning from Shelby, Mark Gaylord, the attorney for receiver Diane Thompson, said while Thompson is still trying to determine the exact extent of the losses, they appeared to have begun in the years 2000 to 2004.
The dates of when the losses occurred are important to clients of the firm because that information could affect how the losses are allocated.
And DeYoung's attorney, Paul Moxley, has asked Shelby to dissolve the receivership and return control to his client because the five-year limit for filing a lawsuit has passed. The SEC also lacks jurisdiction because DeYoung did not sell investments that are regulated by that agency, the attorney said Wednesday in court.
Shelby set a June 27 hearing to consider Moxley's motions.
The judge also gave preliminary approval for Moxley to accept $80,000 from DeYoung's friends or family members for legal fees. The SEC has said legal fees should not come from DeYoung himself because his assets are subject to seizure in order to repay clients.
American Pension Services allows clients to direct their own investments from IRAs or several other types of retirement accounts, including into real estate or to other areas that are banned if those funds are deposited with banks or brokerages.