The Arizona Corporation Commission announces that investors that purchased retail precious metals from Lear Capital will receive compensation as a part of Lear’s bankruptcy plan. State securities regulators, including the Commission, were investigating Los Angeles-based Lear Capital for deceptive securities and commodities activities as well as misleading marketing at the time of the company’s bankruptcy.
Under the terms of the bankruptcy plan, Lear Capital will provide $5.5 million to be distributed to investors. All such distributions will be done through the bankruptcy proceeding. Investors who filed a timely bankruptcy claim will receive refunds based on calculations determined by Lear’s bankruptcy plan. In addition, Lear Capital will provide a pro rata distribution of the remaining funds to investors who did not file claims. The pro rata distribution applies to investors that bought precious metals from Lear between January 1, 2016 and March 3, 2022.
As a part of Lear’s bankruptcy plan, the company has also agreed to improve its sales practices and disclosures, including agreeing not to misrepresent its fee, not to offer portfolio assessments of securities holdings, not to hold itself out as an investment adviser in any way, and not to provide investment advice or commit securities or commodities fraud.
Various regulators had alleged that Lear Capital, which sells and buys back metals through both direct-to-consumer transactions and self-directed IRA transactions, used deceptive business practices, and violated investor protection laws. Lear Capital urged investors to liquidate their traditional retirement savings and buy precious metals without proper fee disclosures, and as a result of high fees, the company acquired millions of dollars at investors’ expense. These actions were resolved as part of the bankruptcy settlement.
Assistance for investors:
If investors have concerns or questions, they can contact the Duty Officer at the Securities Division by telephone at 602-542-0662 or by email at SecuritiesDiv@azcc.gov. The Division’s investor education website also has helpful information about investment fraud prevention at azcc.gov/azinvestor.