A federal judge has given the SEC emergency powers to shut down a "hedge fund" that used aggressive religious messaging in its early sales campaign.
The Beverly Hills-based IU Group's alleged misrepresentations of the truth apparently started with the claim that it was an operational hedge fund. It never actually managed to sign up any clients, according to the SEC.
From there, the claims get more complicated. The IU Group seems to have promoted itself as having an extensive track record, blue-chip clientele, and $800 million in AUM.
It also claimed in its marketing materials that its founders were "devoted Christians who believe in God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit," but that may actually be true on some levels.
After seeing the email messages that the IU Group was sending out to retirees and university professors in particular, the SEC petitioned to have it shut down fast.
Although complaints go back to 2009, the group appears to have ignored previous state-level attempts to get it to stop. Since it was never registered with the SEC, the regulators had to seek special powers to shut it down.