FBI Raids, Shuts Down TPA

By ASPPA Net Staff • November 01, 2017 • 0 Comments
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has raided the offices of Vantage Benefits Administrators “amid concerns that money may be missing from retirement accounts the company manages,” according to the Dallas Morning News.

Founded in 1993, Vantage Benefits describes itself as a full-service TPA specializing in corporate benefit programs, with a focus on small plans (under $10 million). While the FBI did not say what it was looking for, the report says that the FBI executed search warrants at the Dallas-based TPA, recordkeeper and professional fiduciary firm. The report said that the firm declined to comment, citing its in-house lawyer, Laura Mercer. The company’s website is down, and employees reached by the Morning News also said they could not comment.

Lauren Hagee, a spokeswoman for the FBI, confirmed that agents executed a search warrant on Oct. 25 at the company’s office in the Renaissance Tower. The Morning News notes that at least one Vantage client, Midlands Management Corp., has notified employees of a possible breach in the security of their retirement accounts.

The report notes that Vantage Chief Jeff Richie “was sanctioned in 2008 by the Securities and Exchange Commission and barred from the investment business for three years ‘for conducting an unregistered and fraudulent offering’ of securities in the retirement-services company he was running at the time.” Richie, who neither admitted nor denied the allegations — and who was not available for comment — had the $4.3 million SEC judgment waived based on his financial condition, according to the Morning News.