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Scouts Try To Recover Funds Lost In Ponzi Scheme

By Ben Lockhart, Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

June 28--SOUTH OGDEN -- The Trapper Trails Council of the Boy Scouts of America is still seeking repayment of the funds it invested with accused Ponzi schemer Dee Allen Randall, plus the accrued interest he promised.

The council, which is the administrative body for the Scouts throughout the Top of Utah and parts of Wyoming and Idaho, filed two lawsuits against Randall in late 2011 seeking $281,000 and claiming he misled them about a supposed investment in an apartment complex. The council dropped its individual case in June 2012, but is still listed as a creditor in an ongoing class action lawsuit against Randall.

Randall, a 63-year-old Kaysville man, is accused of defrauding 700-plus investors from around the country in an extensive Ponzi scheme that lured in more than $72 million. Randall's alleged scheme ran from 2006 to 2011 and largely consisted of false promises about the use of investments, according to criminal charges filed this month in 3rd District Court by the Utah Division of Securities.

Trapper Trails is one of 87 creditors listed in the class action lawsuit against Randall, initiated in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Utah in December 2010.

"The Trapper Trails Council is currently seeking a full repayment of funds," Trapper Trails Director of Field Services and spokesman Lynn Gunter said in an email to the Standard-Examiner.

Institutions much larger than Trapper Trails also claim Randall fooled them. Creditors who submitted claims in the class action lawsuit include financial giants American Express, City National Bank, Bank of New York Mellon, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo Bank. The federal Small Business Administration is currently seeking more than $2 million in investment claims against Randall.

The lost investment didn't affect Boy Scout troops in the region, Gunter said.

"The funds invested in this opportunity were not related to the council's operating funds, nor to the monies raised by local units, and have not had an impact on local Scouting activities or to the delivery of the program," he said.

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Since allegedly getting burned by Randall, Trapper Trails has updated its investment practices.

?"As a result of this issue, the council has strengthened its investment policy and conflict of interest policy and now works through an investment manager with BSA National," Gunter said.

Trapper Trails' original lawsuit indicates Rick Kendell was the council's endowment chairman in 2008 when he suggested the organization invest with Randall, whom he worked for at the time. Gunter said Kendell is no longer affiliated with the council, though he wouldn't specify whether his departure was because of a fallout from the reportedly bogus investment.

"Mr. Kendell served in a volunteer capacity and has not been involved for a number of years with the council," Gunter said.

Randall's arrest warrant was recalled and his $100,000 bail submitted Thursday. Court documents indicate he was never physically incarcerated in Davis County Jail. The arrest warrant had been issued June 18.

Randall is charged with 23 felony counts of securities fraud, one in the third degree and the rest in the second degree, in 3rd District Court in Salt Lake City. He is scheduled to attend his initial hearing Wednesday at the Utah Attorney General's Office.

Gunter said the council would support a full criminal punishment of Randall.

"We appreciate and support the legal system of the United States and, if Mr. Randall is found guilty, we support punishment to the fullest extent of the law," he said.

Randall allegedly engaged in several years of investment fraud using various financial organizations which he then owned or managed: the Horizon Financial & Insurance Group; Horizon Auto Funding; Horizon Financial Center; Horizon Mortgage & Investment; Independent Property Management, Independent Financial and Investment; Independent Commercial Lending; and Fruit Heights Construction and Management.

Randall would promise low-risk, guaranteed returns on investments between 9 and 17 percent, his charges state. He would allegedly use those funds to keep his various financial enterprises afloat rather than investing in properties or other business opportunities as he had agreed.

Almost none of Randall's employees were licensed to sell securities or insurance, prosecutors say, and he himself hadn't been licensed in either industry since 1997.

Randall reportedly operated his several businesses throughout Utah, using offices in Kaysville, Woods Cross, Fruit Heights, Logan and Sandy.

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Contact reporter Ben Lockhart at 801-625-4221 or Follow him on Twitter at @SE_Lockhart.


(c)2014 the Standard-Examiner (Ogden, Utah)

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