Two weeks after employee complaints touched off an audit into Utah’s 529 college savings plan, the plan’s director has been dismissed for sharing the plan’s money pool with that of his own, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Dale Hatch, director of the Utah Educational Savings Plan Trust, did not directly harm investors since he only transferred money to himself from the administrative account, rather than investment accounts. Still, it was determined as a conflict of interest, and Hatch was dismissed.

Utah runs one of the nation’s top five 529 plans according to Morningstar , with low fees and great options. Currently, 45,000 people have $715 billion invested in Utah’s 529. The Securities and Exchange Commission is said to be looking into ways to regulate possible 529 plan exploitations.

Mark Spencer, executive director of the plan, will take over Hatch’s duty on an interim basis. Since the investors do not seem to be at risk of losing money, a higher education official said the plan will probably stay afloat.

"We don't think anything is seriously broken here," said Dave Buhler, associate commissioner with the Utah System of Higher Education. "We don't know if we have anything structurally we need to fix control-wise, but if we do, we will." He would not comment on how much money was involved in the Hatch snatch.

The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

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