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Florida Couple Sues Securities Firm Over $29 Million Ponzi Scheme Run by Deceased Advisor

July 10, 2023 Broker Complaints

A Florida couple filed a lawsuit against the advising company because they claim it was negligent in supervising their now-deceased friend and former adviser Stephen Romney Swensen, who operated a decades-long $29 million Ponzi scam that cost them $850,000.

Mark Fox, 61, and Barbara Fox, 59, of Cocoa Beach, asserted in a lawsuit submitted to the American Arbitration Association that Wealth Navigation Advisors (WNA), a firm based in Centerville, Utah that operates as Oak Lane Advisors, lacked supervisory policies and procedures and did not adhere to the policies and procedures it had in place to stop the scheme.

Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane Conway & Wise (Peiffer Wolf), a law firm with its headquarters in New Orleans, brought the action on behalf of the Foxes and claimed that WNA had failed “to properly follow up on red flags regarding Swensen’s ongoing illegal conduct.” Such an omission, it said, is a clear breach of the fiduciary obligations due to the plaintiffs.

Foxes Suffered Financially

The lawsuit alleges that the Foxes have personally suffered significant financial and emotional damages as a result of the firm’s carelessness in overseeing Swensen. “Barbara now has to postpone her retirement plans and is getting psychological help to deal with these significant life changes brought on by the fraudulent scam. Mark and Barbara would not have experienced severe financial losses if WNA had not been irresponsible in failing to monitor Swensen and uncover his dishonest plan, the complaint claims.

The complaint alleges that Swensen, 50, a former resident of Kaysville, Utah, ran Crew Capital Group from 2011 to 2022. This fraudulent investment offering raised more than $29 million from more than 50 investors, including $850,000 from the Foxes in 2019 while Swensen was registered with WNA. Swensen committed suicide, according to the lawsuit, in June of the following year as the plan was coming to an end. For failing to report outside activity, Swensen had been sacked by WNA the same day.

Lawsuit Filed Against the Estate and  Company of Swensen

The estate and company of Swensen were subject to legal lawsuits from the Securities and Exchange Commission. By the time of publication, a spokesperson for Wealth Navigation Advisors could not be located.

According to the complaint, Mark Fox was informed of Swensen’s passing immediately after it occurred, but it was not until the following month that he was made aware of Swensen’s wrongdoing and the scope of the Crew Capital scam. When reading the Securities and Exchange Commission’s lawsuit filed against Crew Capital and Swensen’s estate, “Mark would later learn, like the rest of the investor community, of Swensen’s decade-long scheme,” according to the lawsuit.

“My family and I are still in a state of disbelief. It came out that for years, our very personal buddy and trusted financial advisor had been defrauding us. It definitely makes us wonder who we can trust and how we will survive as we age, according to a statement from Mark Fox. He first met Swensen, also a pilot, 25 years ago. 

According to the complaint, Swensen began marketing and selling investment interests in Crew Capital Group in 2011, despite the SEC’s claims that the limited liability corporation he established in 2010 had no genuine business operations other than Swensen’s efforts to acquire capital for it. According to the lawsuit, he fraudulently convinced investors to participate in Crew Capital by promising them returns of at least 5% yearly and as much as 10%, depending on the overall performance of the S&P 500 index. The complaint claimed that investors were promised Crew Capital could supply them with retirement funds and that it was a “Bucket 1” investment, the safest investment in their portfolios.

Misrepresentation by Swensen 

The lawsuit further said that the SEC asserted that Swensen misrepresented Crew Capital as an “actively managed portfolio” with investments in both senior secured floating rate loans and options on the S&P 500 index to some investors. The complaint continued, “Documents also falsely showed that Pacific Investment Management Company, LLC was the subadvisor to Crew Capital, just as was the case with Mark and Barbara,” noting SEC allegations that Swensen gave investors phony PIMCO documents to give the impression that PIMCO and Crew Capital jointly managed a “Senior Floating Rate Fund” when in fact PIMCO had no connection to either Swensen or Crew Capital.

The lawsuit aims to recover all principal losses for the Foxes, including interest, commissions, and fees paid; lost income that would have been received had their accounts “been controlled properly”; other losses, expected or not, for the Foxes, such as non-pecuniary losses; psychological damages for Barbara Fox; attorneys’ fees, costs, and other expenses; interest, both pre-judgment and post-judgment interests; and severe penalties.

We are attempting to piece together Swensen’s wake of devastation so that his victims might recover some of their life savings, Peiffer Wolf partner Jason Kane stated.

The original article is posted on Florida Couple Sues Firm Over Deceased Advisor’s $29M Ponzi Scheme (

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