Sen. Steve Urquhart says:
"Utah has a fraud problem, as illustrated by the recent Ponzi-scheme conviction of Val Southwick and the indictment of Rick Koerber, alleged Ponziist. Koerber stories often mention that criticism or pressure has been aimed at the Utah Division of Securities by 2 members of the Utah House of Representatives and by the AG’s office. More accurately, that criticism/pressure often is aimed at the Director of the Department of Commerce, Francine Giani. Some of the criticism is pretty heated, including a recent claim by one of the Representatives that the Division is 'corrupt.' The criticism is vaguely shored up by passing reference to a legislative audit of the Division. Yet, at least as far as I’ve noticed, none of the stories actually link to the audit report. (And that’s a shame, when it is so easy to empower people with a link to source material).
"Here is the audit report. (It is item #7 in the link; I linked to the main page for all 2008 audits, to give a flavor for the type of work performed by the Utah Legislative Auditor General’s office ('LAG')). I am proud of the LAG. Our legislative auditors play a key role in making Utah a well-managed state. They are thorough, professional, and fair. Much good legislation and/or agency reform flows from the LAG’s findings and suggestions.
"The Performance Audit of the Division of Securities should (and did) give pause and direction to the Division, the Department of Commerce, and the Legislature. However, the audit itself does not paint the nightmare scenario that Koerber and others attempt to paint by referencing 'the audit.' Like most audits, problems were identified and course-corrections were suggested. Basically, the audit found that the Division did not have adequate policies and procedures; as a result, the Division suffered personnel problems, a confusion of roles, and it overreached in some instances. The problems identified have been corrected. And, concerning the present discussion, I fail to see how the audit could support in any way a claim that the Division acted inappropriately in investigating Koerber and in working with the United States Attorney to secure an indictment.
"Successful Ponziists are charismatic, believable, and rich. Charismatic, believable, rich people are tough to investigate. Hence, investigators have to be tough. Francine Giani is tough. And she is professional, and she is fair. She has faced inappropriate obstacles in investigating and securing an indictment against Koerber. She continues to face inappropriate criticism for 'the audit' (that no one seems to actually read when bumping forward broadbrush criticisms that have nothing to do with anything actually in the audit). It's not fair to her, but again it's a tough business, and fortunately Francine is not faint-hearted. Utah needs vigorous enforcement of laws against Ponziists and scammers. I am proud that Francine is on the job."