SEC Charges Individuals with Fraud for Misappropriating Investor Funds
Litigation Release No. 25003 / December 31, 2020
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Bowser et al., No. 2:20-civ-00918-TS (D. Utah filed December 30, 2020)
The Securities and Exchange Commission charged William "Bill" Bowser, Christopher Ashby, Scott Beynon, and Jordan Nelson with securities fraud for misappropriating investor funds meant for the development and construction of new event centers.
The SEC's complaint alleges that from approximately January 2017 to February 2019, Ashby, Beynon, and Nelson, through entities they controlled, sold investors interests in for-profit event centers purportedly being developed by Noah Corporation, an entity Bowser controlled. As alleged, Bowser diverted investor funds earmarked for specific properties and instead used them for Noah Corporation's and Bowser's operational and other expenses and to pay prior investors, rather than for construction of event centers as represented to investors. The complaint further alleges that contrary to their representations to investors, Ashby, Beynon, and Nelson failed to escrow investor funds and disbursed them to an entity Bowser controlled without having any controls in place to ensure that the disbursements were for legitimate expenses.
The SEC's complaint, filed in federal district court in Utah, charges Bowser with violating the antifraud provisions of Sections 17(a)(1) and 17(a)(3) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rules 10b-5(a) and (c) thereunder. The complaint charges Ashby, Beynon, and Nelson with violating the antifraud provisions of Sections 17(a)(2) and 17(a)(3) of the Securities Act and the registration provisions of Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act. Without admitting or denying the allegations of the complaint, the defendants have consented to judgments enjoining them from violating the charged provisions, ordering Bowser to pay disgorgement of $47,796 with prejudgment interest of $6,402 and a $192,768 penalty, ordering Ashby to pay disgorgement of $551,161 with prejudgment interest of $43,994 and a $96,384 penalty, ordering Beynon to pay disgorgement of $585,426 with prejudgment interest of $46,729 and a $96,384 penalty, and ordering Nelson to pay disgorgement of $281,273 with prejudgment interest of $22,451 and a $96,384 penalty.
The SEC's investigation was conducted by Cheryl Mori and was supervised by Daniel Wadley and Amy Oliver of the Salt Lake Regional Office. The litigation will be led by Casey Fronk.