A Kaysville businessman has been charged with running an alleged Ponzi scheme that took more than $72 million from about 700 people.
Dee Randall, 63, was charged Wednesday in 3rd District Court with a pattern of unlawful activity and 22 counts of securities fraud. All of the alleged crimes are second-degree felonies, except for one of the fraud charges, which is a third-degree felony.
U.S. bankruptcy officials suspected Randall — the owner of Horizon Mortgage & Investment, Horizon Financial & Insurance Group and Horizon Auto Funding — ran a Ponzi scheme in which monies from new investors were used to pay earlier investors to make it appear the businesses were profitable. Some of his investors lost their entire retirement funds, according to the charges.
Randall and his agents sold "Horizon Notes," which purportedly provided annual returns of 9 to 17 percent, according to the charges. Investors were told that their funds would be used to finance car loans and real estate, the charges add. The borrower would be charged a high interest rate of at least 21 percent.
Most of the investors were sold on the high interest rate because Randall had a good reputation in the insurance industry and was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-day Saints, according to the charges.
"Many put their entire retirement or life savings into Randall’s entities. Some took out equity from their homes to invest. Other monies were obtained from paid-out life insurance policies upon the death of loved ones," the charges read. "As a result, many investors have lost their entire retirement monies, homes or insurance policies because they were unable to make the payments once Randall stopped paying interest checks on their Horizon Notes."
The Utah Division of Securities said they started receiving complaints about Randall and his agents after Randall began defaulting on the Horizon Note payments in 2009.
Randall filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2010. The securities division opened a formal investigation into Randall about six months later.
A warrant was issued Wednesday for Randall’s arrest, with bail set at $100,000.
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