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SEC: Beverly Hills Hedge Fund Scam Targeted Christians

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(credit: Getty Images)

(credit: Getty Images)

BEVERLY HILLS (CBS) — A local hedge fund and wealth management firm that allegedly used Christian messaging to lure investors is being targeted by the Securities and Exchange Commission, officials said Tuesday.

The Securities and Exchange Commission says it has obtained an emergency court order to shut down IU Group Inc., accusing the firm’s chief, Elijah Bang, and salesperson Daniel Lee of advertising the firm’s founders as “devoted Christians who believe in God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit,” according to an SEC complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

Lee also used “cold call” e-mail solicitations to target university professors and retirees, according to the SEC.

The lawsuit alleges that IU Group and IU Wealth failed to register with the SEC.

IU Group’s business license was suspended by the state of California, and IU Wealth and Icon Capital are not companies of record in California, the agency reported.

U.S. District Judge Margaret M. Morrow granted the SEC’s request last Friday for emergency relief, including an order temporarily enjoining IU Group and Bang from future alleged violations of anti-fraud laws, according to the SEC.

According to the SEC, Morrow’s emergency order came before IU Group could obtain any clients.

“Bang and Lee made flagrant misrepresentations in their attempt to lure retirees and others into entrusting their money to them,” alleged Rosalind R. Tyson, director of the SEC’s Los Angeles office.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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