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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Litigation Release No. 18356 / September 22, 2003

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Ronald Stephen Holt, et al. Civil Action No. 03-CV-1825 PHX (PGR), United States District Court for the District of Arizona.

On September 18, 2003, the Commission filed an emergency action in United States District Court in Phoenix, Arizona, charging Ronald Stephen Holt and International Funding Association with securities fraud in connection with a nationwide offering of investment contracts. Judge Paul G. Rosenblatt granted the Commission's request and entered orders to recover and conserve assets for the benefit of victims of the scam, including an asset freeze, an accounting, the appointment of a receiver, an order preserving documents and an order for the repatriation of funds moved overseas. The scheme began in 1997 and raised at least $1.4 million, and possibly as much as $25 million, from as many as 4,600 investors nationwide.

In its action, the Commission named the following individuals:

  • Ronald Stephen Holt, 52, of Mesa, Arizona, who has held himself out as the manager of International Funding since 1997; and
  • International Funding Association, an unincorporated business association that originally leased offices in Phoenix, but later claimed the Bahamas as its headquarters.

In its complaint, the Commission alleges that by mailings and personal solicitations, Holt represented that International Funding and another entity, Cambridge Global Group, which later combined with International Funding, would pool funds received from investors for foreign investment, and generate anticipated returns of at least 5% to 7% per month, which equates to annual returns of 79.58% to 125% per year. The foreign investments were supposed to involve "Federal Reserve Notes" and various "for profit" ventures, including trading in currency, commodities, precious metals and real estate. Further, investors were assured that they could retrieve their funds 90 to 180 days after investment.

According to the Commission's complaint, notwithstanding Holt's assurances and representations, many International Funding investors have been unable to recover the principal they invested or their supposed profits, and Holt has refused to substantiate the use of investor funds or the location of investment assets. The Commission's investigation prior to filing suit found no evidence that Holt and International Funding had actually invested funds raised from investors or generated the represented returns; instead, Holt appears to have misapplied investor funds, including to purchase an expensive personal residence.

The Commission also named in its complaint as relief defendants, seeking return of investor funds they unjustly received and/or company records, the following entities and individuals associated with Holt:

  • Annette F. Holt, 46, of Mesa, Arizona, the wife of Ronald Holt, allegedly involved in the purchase, sale and ownership of real property purchased with investor funds;
  • American Assets Limited Trust, Leonora Street Trust, Dover Childrens Trust, Clarendon Ave. Holding Trust and Dublin Holding Trust, unincorporated entities allegedly involved in the purchase, sale and ownership of real property purchased with investor funds;
  • Jeffery Williams (aka Jeffrey Williams), the trustee for American Assets;
  • Mari Ann Alston, 62, formerly of the Phoenix, Arizona area, now believed to be in Redlands, California, allegedly in control of the records of International Funding;
  • Pacific Central Asset Management, an unincorporated business entity, which allegedly received the proceeds from sale of real property acquired with investor funds; and
  • American Benefit Card Services, Inc., a Nevada corporation, which allegedly received the proceeds from the sale of real property acquired with investor funds.

The Commission alleges in its complaint that Holt and International Funding violated Sections 5(a), 5(c) and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. In addition to seeking emergency relief against Holt and International Funding, the Commission is also seeking orders of permanent injunction, disgorgement plus prejudgment interest, and civil money penalties. The Commission is also seeking asset freezes and disgorgement from the relief defendants (with the exception of Alston), because they hold title to, or received proceeds from the sale of, assets allegedly acquired with investor funds. The Commission is asking that Alston, who was associated with Holt and International Funding, be ordered to preserve the records of International Funding.

The Commission acknowledges the assistance and of cooperation the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission, which simultaneously commenced a civil lawsuit against Holt and International Funding, and also of the U.S. Attorney's Office for Arizona, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Securities Division of the Arizona Corporation Commission.



Modified: 09/22/2003