Life Partners Holdings Accused of Fraud by Texas in Suit
Life Partners Holdings buys rights to death benefits from policyholders in exchange for lump-sum payments, generating revenue on the split between what they pay for policies they acquire and what they charge investors for their interests.
Abbott, in a complaint filed yesterday in an Austin, Texas, court, accused the company and its Life Partners Inc. unit of manufacturing the value of life-settlement investments by using artificially short life expectancies, an action he claimed is akin to a used car salesman rolling back a vehicle’s odometer to increase its value.
“Revenues have declined rapidly, escrow accounts are depleting, policies are at risk, and the companies will be out of cash in as early as two months,” according to Abbott’s complaint.
The Waco, Texas-based company has more than 29,000 investors across the U.S., according to the attorney general. As of Dec. 31, 2010, the companies held 3,879 policies, of which 3,152 were beyond the contrived life expectancy estimates given investors, according to the complaint.
Abbott is seeking an immediate court order barring Life Partners, Chief Executive Officer Brian D. Pardo and President R. Scott Peden from continuing to sell the allegedly fraudulent securities, appointing a receiver and other relief.
Abbott said that despite Life Partners’ “dire financial situation,” the company will pay a $1.8 million quarterly dividend next month.
“Pardo, either directly or through his Pardo Family Trust, will benefit from this dividend by approximately $900,000,” Abbott said in the complaint.
Travis County, Texas, District Court Judge Orlinda Naranjo today granted a temporary order barring Life Partners and the two executives from dissipating company assets and from destroying or removing books and records.
A hearing originally set for today at which the judge would consider the receivership appointment and a temporary restraining order has been postponed until tomorrow, according to Naranjo’s order.
Andrea Atwell, a spokeswoman for Life Partners, didn’t immediately respond to telephone messages seeking comment.
To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Harris in Chicago at firstname.lastname@example.org