SEC Charges Ohio-Based IRA Provider in Connection with Ponzi Scheme
Equity Trust Company, an Ohio-based IRA provider, is facing SEC charges for allegedly ignoring the warning signs on accounts that eventually were discovered to be fraudulent. According to the SEC’s allegations, Equity Trust Company marketed investments offered by two individuals:
- Ephren Taylor – Defrauded members of a church with a Ponzi scheme
- Randy Poulson – Charged with investment fraud in New Jersey
The SEC says that together, Taylor and Poulson targeted more than 100 investors and caused more than $5 million in losses. SEC Director Andrew Ceresney said Equity Trust acted as “more than a passive custodian” by marketing Taylor and Poulson’s investments and failing to detect and act on various red flags the accounts raised.
About the Allegations
The SEC’s Enforcement Division makes three major accusations, among others, including:
- Representatives of Equity Trust Company attended events held by Taylor and Poulson, and conversely, Equity Trust sponsored dinners for Poulson so he could solicit people for his investment. Equity Trust representatives actively encouraged event attendees to place their retirement money into the IRAs offered by Taylor and Poulson.
- Equity Trust was aware that neither Taylor nor Poulson had provided them with necessary documentation regarding the self-directed IRAs and also knew that Taylor lied to thousands of people at an Atlanta-area church – and yet Equity Trust made no moves to act on these red flags and prevent misconduct.
- Although charges of fraud surfaced against Taylor and Poulson as far back as 2012, Equity Trust continued to take fees from customers who had invested in Taylor and Poulson’s self-directed IRAs.
Equity Trust Company is currently awaiting a hearing before an administrative law judge who will evaluate the SEC’s allegations. Meyer Wilson is an Ohio-based securities fraud law firm that represents investors nationwide. If you or someone you know has lost money through investment fraud or misconduct, we may be able to help. Call us today to tell us what happened in a free consultation.