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Press Release

Former Yellowstone Partners’ CEO Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Idaho

POCATELLO – David Hansen, 49, of Idaho Falls, was sentenced to 60 months in prison for wire fraud, U.S. Attorney Bart M. Davis announced today. Chief U.S. District Judge David C. Nye also imposed a term of three years of supervised release to follow Hansen’s prison sentence. The Court will determine what amount Hansen must pay in restitution at a hearing scheduled for June 26, 2020.

According to court records, Hansen was the Chief Executive Officer and a 90-percent partner in Yellowstone Partners, LLC, an investment management firm headquartered in Idaho Falls. Clients of Yellowstone Partners entrusted their monies to Yellowstone Partners to invest and manage on their behalf. In exchange, Yellowstone Partners earned fees for its services. Yellowstone Partners’ fees were set forth in investment agreements between Yellowstone Partners and its clients. Yellowstone Partners’ clients’ monies were kept in accounts at third party custodians. Yellowstone Partners directed how the monies in client accounts were invested and how they were disbursed. This included submitting email billing requests to the third party custodians to take fees from client accounts and to deposit them into Yellowstone Partners’ own accounts.

According to court records, from 2008 through April 2016, Hansen knowingly and intentionally devised a scheme to defraud clients of Yellowstone Partners by overbilling their investment accounts. Specifically, Hansen fraudulently billed clients for fees to which Yellowstone Partners was not entitled under the terms of the investment agreements or otherwise. Through this overbilling scheme, Hansen fraudulently obtained client funds from a third party custodian and used them to enrich himself and to fund Yellowstone Partners’ operations. For certain identified victims, Hansen personally submitted 51 fraudulent overbilling requests, which resulted in a loss of $2,675,856.

As part of the plea agreement, Hansen agreed to pay full restitution to the victims of the wire fraud scheme, in an amount to be determined by the court at the June 26, 2020 hearing. Further, Hansen agreed to a forfeiture judgment in the amount of restitution ordered by the court. Finally, Hansen agreed to cooperate with an Internal Revenue Service civil tax examination and assessment, and pay any unpaid tax due and owing, and accrued interest for his 2012 and 2013 Form 1040 joint income tax returns.

“This significant sentence sends a strong message to any investment manager who might consider taking advantage of the trust their clients place in them,” said U.S. Attorney Davis. “When an investment manager like Mr. Hansen steals from his clients, this office and our law enforcement partners will leave no stone unturned until justice is done and victims are repaid. I commend the FBI and IRS for their thorough investigation and tireless efforts in this case.”

“Mr. Hansen was greedy; defrauding his clients so that he could fund a lavish lifestyle,” said Special Agent in Charge Paul Haertel of the FBI’s Salt Lake City Field Office. “This case highlights the FBI’s commitment to aggressively investigating fraudsters who abuse the trust of their clients. We value the relationships we have with our law enforcement partners and agencies, including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC referred the case to us, allowing us to pursue some measure of justice for Hansen’s victims.”

“David Hansen will now reap the rewards of his fraudulent activities by going to prison,” said IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Andy Tsui. “This sentence reflects the serious repercussions of abusing one’s position of trust to defraud investors and the government for personal gain.”

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division.

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Public Information Officer
(208) 334-1211

Updated June 19, 2020

Financial Fraud
Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud