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SALT LAKE CITY — The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced Tuesday that it will close its Salt Lake City office later this year.

The news comes just a week after prosecutorial misconduct led to the dismissal of a civil fraud case against cryptocurrency brokers in Utah and an award of $1.8 million in legal fees.

“Companies have been seized, assets frozen and lives turned upside down” as a result of SEC prosecutors’ misconduct, a federal judge said as he dismissed a civil fraud lawsuit against Utah cryptocurrency brokers and awarded the brokers $1.8 million in legal fees.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Robert Shelby rebuked the commission, saying it had recklessly used “layers of false claims” in a “gross abuse of power,” that its misrepresentations were “deeply troubling” and that they undermined the integrity of the judicial process, before dismissing the lawsuit on May 28 and ordering the payment of fees that must ultimately be funded by taxpayers.

The Commission’s press release did not mention the case, instead blaming the closure on recent “significant staff turnover”.

“The agency considered its budget and organizational efficiencies in making the decision to close the office,” the SEC said. “All current employees will be reassigned to existing SEC organizational units based on their current roles and the agency’s mission requirements.”

In July 2023, Debt Box, a cryptocurrency broker that formerly operated out of Draper, and North Salt Lake City-based financial technology company iX Global, along with a number of other related parties, were sued by the SEC. The defendants are accused of “a continuous, wide-ranging, fraudulent securities offering through which the defendants defrauded thousands of investors out of at least $49 million,” according to the original complaint.

Read more at ksl.com.

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