In 2010, Matthew Hutcheson testified to congress that investment professionals should be held to a fiduciary standard. He now faces 31 counts of theft and wire fraud after being indicted on federal charges that he used retirement plan funds for home renovations and to buy an interest in a ski and golf resort. He was arrested in Idaho and indicted on 17 counts of wire fraud and 14 counts of theft. This is yet another in a long line of apparent investment frauds that have harmed investors.
Mr. Hutcheson hosted a radio show called “The Retirement Hour with Matt Hutcheson” and authored a course called “Retirement Plan Management: Compliance, Reporting and Ethics.”
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Hutcheson was a fiduciary and trustee to three multiple-employer plans: the G Fiduciary Retirement Income Security Plan, the National Retirement Security Plan 401(k), and the Retirement Security Plan & Trust.
Mr. Hutcheson allegedly improperly withdrew $2,031,688 via 12 wire transfers from the plan’s account to accounts that he controlled or for his personal benefit. According to the complaint filed against Mr. Hutcheson, one of those personal expenses was $892,000 to renovate of Mr. Hutcheson’s home in Eagle, Idaho – including adding a swimming pool and hot tub and the construction of a 4,100-square-foot barn with a loft apartment and office. He also allegedly used pension plan money to buy two motorcycles and luxury cars. Federal authorities also claim that in 2010 Mr. Hutcheson set up an entity called Green Valley Holdings to acquire a golf course and ski lodge at the Tamarack Resort in Idaho, using pension plan money.
Mr. Hutcheson allegedly funneled $3 million in plan assets out of the Retirement Security Plan & Trust to help buy an interest in Tamarack, telling the plan’s record keeper that he had planned to purchase a fixed-income bank note with the money. During an audit of the retirement plan, Mr. Hutcheson allegedly admitted that there was no such investment. He told the auditor that about $3.2 million in plan assets had been loaned instead to Green Valley Holdings – which Mr. Hutcheson also allegedly acknowledged was a prohibited transaction under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.
Federal authorities are seeking about $5.3 million in forfeitures from Mr. Hutcheson, and each count of wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, while each count of theft from an employee pension benefit plan is punishable by up to five years.