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UH’s Chow loses money in bad Utah investment

  • 2013 February 6 SPT - UH Football Signing Day - UH football coach Norm Chow held a press conference to talk about the football players that have signed to join the UH Warrior football team. HSA photo by Bruce Asato

University of Hawaii football coach Norm Chow and a son, Carter, were reportedly among 18 victims of a multi-million dollar financial scam in Utah for which two men have pleaded guilty, according to published reports in Salt Lake City.

The Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News reported that Chow was the largest investor with $500,000 and his son, Carter, a Los Angeles attorney and agent, invested $400,000.

News reports said Michael Kay Smith and Quintin Fullmer Smith each pleaded guilty in state district court Monday to two counts of third-degree felony attempted securities fraud as part of a plea deal. They face up to 10 years in prison when they are sentenced next month. Michael Smith can have his felony counts reduced to misdemeanors if he completes probation and pays full restitution of almost $1.3 million, the Deseret News reported.

Citing court documents, the Deseret News said the two Smiths ran Newport Financial Services and allegedly guaranteed investors an 18 percent return on their investment by purchasing contracts of furniture store customers who could not qualify for traditional financing. They are said to have attracted at least $1.8 million in investments beginning in 2005.

The pair are alleged to have told people they had invested $1 million of their own money, which investigators said was a lie.

The Desert News said the state charged that six of the investors received little or no return. The documents did not indicate whether the Chows received any return. The Tribune said at least five of the investors did not receive their promised payments and lost at least $911,000 in the deal, the documents state.

Norm Chows earns $550,000 a year as UH head football coach. Chow was an assistant coach at Brigham Young University and the University of Utah.

The Chows were not immediately available for comment.

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