Our View: Be wary of big promises

Monday , June 23, 2014 - 12:04 PM

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Boy Scouts of America Trapper Trails Council offices, based in South Ogden...

Editorial Board

A Davis County man, Dee Allen Randall, is being sought by law enforcement. Randall, 63, is charged with 23 felony counts of securities fraud by the Utah Division of Securities, allegedly taking $72 million-plus from more than 700 investors between 2006 and 2011. One interesting fact in the case is that Randall has not been licensed to sell investments since 1997.

The case has a major local connection. The South Ogden-based Boy Scouts of America Trapper Trails Council claims that Randall swindled the organization out of at least $281,000. In a 2011 lawsuit that Trapper Trails dismissed in 2012, the council says it was promised 12 percent annual interest in a condominium investment that was initiated in 2008. “(Randall’s) agents promised (the Trapper Trails Council) that its investment would be safe and that the security interest on the condominium units would provide assurance of repayment,” reads part of the lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that no such condominium was purchased and that Randall provided false documentation to the council.

There are a lot of alleged victims, besides the council, in the overall Randall case. It underscores the importance of individuals and organizations doing proper due diligence prior to investing money. In the Trapper Trails case, the council invested with a Randall entity on the advice of the council’s endowment chairman, who worked for Randall. That Randall lacked a license to sell investments should have blocked the investment had proper due diligence been completed.

Also, investors need to be wary of big promises for investments. That Randall allegedly promised consistent 12 percent annual returns, as well as allegedly assuring repayment, should have been a cause for concern. Such investments always have risk.

These are tough economic times. Many investors face the responsibility of providing for their own retirement. It’s critical that we keep a smart hold on our funds through due diligence and skepticism of big promises.

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