The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed a civil injunctive action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida against U.S. Pension Trust and U.S. College Trust, two unregistered broker/dealers, and their three principals, Iliana Maceiras, Leonardo Maceiras, Jr., and Nildo Verdeja.

The SEC said that from at least 1995 up until this year, U.S. Pension Trust defrauded 14,000 investors, most of them in Latin America, by charging exorbitant, undisclosed commissions and fees in connection with the sale of mutual funds.

The SEC said the firm gave investors the choice of either making annual contributions for a number of years or a one-time investment to remain in the funds for at least 10 years. But the firm took as much as 85% of investors’ contributions in the annual plan and 12% of the lump-sum contributions.

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