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On August 30, the SEC filed a complaint against two North Carolina-based executives, and their Malta-based registered investment adviser company (collectively, “defendants”) in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina for allegedly engaging in a fraudulent scheme involving undisclosed transactions. According to the SEC, the defendants “repeatedly recommended and entered into transactions that were not disclosed to and were not in the best interests of their clients.” Specifically, one of the executives allegedly “acquired 100% ownership of four North Carolina insurance companies  and a reinsurance trust, which gave him control over hundreds of millions of dollars in premiums from their policyholders.” The complaint further stated that “[a]lthough the funds were supposed to be used to pay the policyholders’ insurance claims, [the executive] treated the funds as his own assets and used the money for any purpose he decided was in his best interest.” The SEC found that the executive allegedly conducted the schemes through “complex” investment structures and affiliate companies and allegedly used the proceeds to pay himself or to divert the funds to his other businesses. The complaint also noted that the defendants “breached their fiduciary duties to their advisory clients by engaging in numerous undisclosed related-party transactions and by misappropriating over $57 million in client funds” and over $21.4 million in advisory fees generated in connection with these schemes. The SEC’s complaint alleged violations of anti-fraud provisions of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. The complaint seeks a permanent injunction against the defendants, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, penalties, bars, and other equitable relief.
On June 24, the Michigan governor announced Executive Order 2020-131, which extends a previous order that temporarily allowed e-signatures on official documents and remote notarizations (previously discussed here). Any notarial act may be performed by a notary that holds a valid notarial commission in Michigan using two-way real-time audiovisual technology if certain conditions are met. The order sets forth additional requirements for remote notarizations and continues through July 31, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.