Less than a year after the Securities and ExchangeCommission seized control of $300 million in retirement assetsat American Pension Services, the firm’s owner has agreed to settleclaims that he misappropriated $24 million.

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The SEC sued Curtis DeYoung, founder and CEO of the Riverton,Utah-based third-party administrator, after an investigationrevealed that $22 million in assets could not be accountedfor.

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Under the terms of the settlement, DeYoung accepted liabilityfor repaying $19.8 million plus $3.5 million in interest, though itappeared unlikely the sale of his assets would yield any amountclose to that figure.

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APS’s alleged fraud dates back to 2005, when DeYoung purportedlyforged client signatures authorizing investments from cash inclients’ IRA and 401(k) accounts into a friend’s failed business,according to a complaint filed by the SEC in U.S. District Courtfor the district of Utah.

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DeYoung continued to make the unauthorized investments into2013. The SEC’s complaint further alleged APS invested clients’ moneyin other bankrupt ventures, and that DeYoung concealed the losses,issued inflated account statements, and ultimately charged fees onassets that did not exist.

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The settlement agreement has yet to be accepted by the SEC. Thecourt-appointed receiver of the company’s assets has said thatliquidation of DeYoung’s personal assets will do little to coverthe losses.

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In a recent hearing, U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby indicatedhe would approve a plan that would spread the loss among the 5,500clients at APS. Each would see the value of their accounts reducedby 10 percent to cover the shortfall, according to reporting in theSalt Lake Tribune.

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DeYoung started the third-party administrator with his wife in1982.

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Under the terms of the settlement agreed to by DeYoung, he wouldbe prohibited from denying wrongdoing in public. His attorney saidDeYoung is anticipating that criminal charges will be brought,pursuant to an FBI investigation, according to the Salt LakeTribune.

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Nick Thornton

Nick Thornton is a financial writer covering retirement and health care issues for BenefitsPRO and ALM Media. He greatly enjoys learning from the vast minds in the legal, academic, advisory and money management communities when covering the retirement space. He's also written on international marketing trends, financial institution risk management, defense and energy issues, the restaurant industry in New York City, surfing, cigars, rum, travel, and fishing. When not writing, he's pushing into some land or water.