Working at a booming biotech company in Seattle in the ’90s, Richard Boyd and his wife had more money than they knew what to do with.
They both worked for Immunex, a biotechnology company now owned by Amgen, and received stock options as part of their compensation. When the stock doubled, doubled again, then tripled, the couple knew they needed advice on how to invest their money.
That’s when someone recommended hiring Mark F. Spangler as their investment adviser.
“It was raining money,” said Boyd, now 64. “We knew we shouldn’t just put it in a savings account and let it sit there.”
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What the couple would soon learn was Spangler, 58, ran the investment firm called The Spangler Group and secretly invested more than $46 million into two risky startups in which he had an ownership interest, TeraHop and Tamarac.
Now, almost a month after Spangler was found guilty of 32 counts of fraud and money laundering, the court-appointed receiver announced Tuesday that investors, including Boyd, will receive nearly half their original investments by 2014, amounting to $30 million.
Boyd said he and his wife invested $1.5 million over a 10-year period. It wasn’t until June 28, 2011, when they received a letter from Spangler informing his clients he had applied for receivership — similar to bankruptcy, but in state court rather than federal court — that the couple realized there was even a problem.
“We were in shock. We had no idea until we received that letter that something was going on,” Boyd said. “We even met with him three or four times after that, and he reassured us we would get our money back.”
The receivership filing sparked Securities and Exchange Commission and U.S. Attorney’s Office investigations into what Spangler had done with investors’ money.
Kent Johnson of Aebig & Johnson Business Resolutions, the receiver for the Spangler Group and its funds, has been working for two years on liquidating assets and untangling the complexities behind Spangler’s fraud scheme.
To date, Johnson said he has returned approximately $26 million to investors.
Another distribution of more than $2.4 million is anticipated next week, and a final distribution is planned for the first half of 2014, making the total recovered nearly $30 million, or 50 percent of investors’ net cash investments, Johnson said.
Boyd received a large portion of his and his wife’s money back last year, and is looking forward to the rest this year, he said.
“My wife and I can retire still,” Boyd said about recovering almost half their original
investment. “We are in good shape — in less good shape than we would have been, but good shape nonetheless.”
Spangler is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 6.
Information from The Seattle Times archives was used in this report.
Coral Garnick: 206-464-2422 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @coralgarnick