- February 10, 2023
- Crew Capital Group
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a suit against the estate of Stephen R. Swensen and his company, Crew Capital Group, LLC, plus several individuals and other companies owned by the late Stephen R. Swensen. The SEC alleges that more than 50 investors lost more than $29M. It asks that Crew Capital Group, LLC be forced to stop any activities that violate federal securities laws, as well as disgorgement, and a return of investors’ funds.
Background of the Case
Stephen R. Swensen, now deceased, owned and in practice operated Crew Capital Group, LLC based in Nevada, as well as the company’s bank accounts, despite the appearance of having others in charge. He solicited investors from July 2011 until he died in June 2022. Investors were promised returns of 5%-10% depending on the performance of the S&P 500, according to allegations published in court documents, and that Crew Capital Group, LLC had a diverse portfolio of investment products.
It is alleged in the SEC court filing that Swensen used investors’ money to pay returns to some investors while also funding a lavish personal lifestyle. He also used investors’ money to fund his other companies. The operation is described as a “Ponzi-like” scheme in the SEC filing.
The SEC further alleges that Crew Capital Group, LLC continues to operate without significant changes since the death of Stephen R. Swenson, up to and including fraudulent activity that risks investment loss on the part of investors.
Current And Past Allegations Of Conduct Leading To Investment Loss and the SEC’s Request for Legal Relief
According to publicly available court records filed by the SEC, allegations against the estate of Stephen Swenson and Crew Capital Group include but are not limited to:
- “Swensen’s oral and written representations about Crew Capital were false. In reality, neither Swensen nor Crew Capital actually invested the money that investors put into Crew Capital. Neither Swensen nor Crew Capital had any affiliation with PIMCO. Once Swensen pooled investor funds in the Crew Capital account at Wells Fargo Bank, he used that account as though it were his personal account.”
- “Swensen continued to make false and misleading statements to investors even after he had obtained their money. For example, he provided false Crew Capital account statements to some investors purporting to show their Crew Capital account number, account balance, and accrued interest.”
- “Swensen provided false Crew Capital account information to the Bank of Utah for the victims whose investments were done through the Bank of Utah.”
- “Swensen also caused Crew Capital to issue false IRS Forms 1099 to investors.”
- “Swensen took several steps to hide the truth about Crew Capital from investors and create the appearance that Crew Capital was a legitimate company.”
- “Swensen used a Nevada business entity creation service called Nevada Corporate Headquarters, Inc. (“NCH”) to create and maintain Crew Capital’s legal status as a Nevada limited liability company. He paid extra fees to NCH for their ‘privacy package,’ which meant that NCH and its affiliates placed their names (rather than Swensen’s) on the documents filed with the Nevada Secretary of State for Crew Capital. This kept Swensen’s name from appearing on documents for Crew Capital that were publicly available from the Nevada Secretary of State, thus maintaining the fiction that Crew Capital was not directly owned and operated by Swenson.”
- “Swensen also used mail forwarding services for Crew Capital to create the appearance that Crew Capital was a legitimate company with offices in various states around the country.”
The SEC applied for legal relief on behalf of investors. That relief includes forcing Swensen’s estate, Crew Capital, and individuals named in the suit to cease conduct that violates federal laws, and prohibiting them from directly or indirectly soliciting investors or participating in securities activities. The SEC also asks that all named parties are forced to give up their ill-gotten gains.
For a copy of the SEC legal filing, click here.
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