SEC Charges Roger Bliss With Obstruction of Justice

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced on September 2, 2015 that an alleged investment club fraudster whose assets were frozen in an SEC enforcement action earlier this year has now been criminally charged by a grand jury for lying and the obstruction of justice in an ongoing SEC investigation.

In a complaint filed in federal court in Utah in February, the SEC claims that Roger Bliss, of Bountiful, Utah, manned an investment club that inaccurately guaranteed returns in excess of 100% by day-trading Apple stock. In actuality, Bliss lost more than $3 million day-trading and was unable to use all of the investor capital for his stated purpose of day-trading.  The SEC requested that the court impose an asset freeze against Bliss, and the Court consented.

The SEC then discovered that Bliss covered up his ownership of a catamaran sailboat and secretly transferred possession to his brother-in-law, Kevin Fortney. After the SEC moved for civil contempt against Bliss for violating the asset freeze, both Bliss and his brother-in-law, who was not charged in the SEC’s enforcement action, filed sworn declarations that the sailboat was owned by the brother-in-law and not by Bliss. In an order issued on August 14, the court found Bliss in contempt of the asset freeze order and referred the matter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah for potential criminal charges. The case was presented to the grand jury by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The consequential criminal charges and allegations against Bliss are based on the same violations of the asset freeze order that were the basis of the SEC’s civil contempt motion.

The felony counts subject Bliss and Fortney to a potential prison sentence of as many as 15 years each and a monetary fine of up to $250,000 for each charge.

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