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Rating:Director Dismissed After Dipping into 529 Funds Not Rated 2.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Monday, July 12, 2004

Director Dismissed After Dipping into 529 Funds

by: Theresa Sim

The SEC should take note: even directors are not above shady dealings. Dale Hatch, director of Utah's 529 plan, allegedly transferred money from the plan's administrative account to his own accounts, the WSJ reported on Monday.

Prompted by employee tips two weeks ago, officials conducted an internal audit and discovered that Hatch conducted "questionable transactions," the WSJ reported.

It was unclear how long Hatch, director of the plan for seven years, had been moving money into his own accounts.

Mark Spencer, currently the associate commissioner for finance and facilities at the Utah State Board of Regents, will take over Hatch's responsibilities on a temporary basis.

Unlike some fund companies, Utah officials decided coming clean early was the best policy. "We felt it was more important to provide public disclosure earlier than waiting," the WSJ reported Dave Buhler, associate commissioner with the Utah System of Higher Education, as saying.

"We don't think anything is seriously broken here," said Buhler. "We don't know if we have anything structurally we need to fix control-wise, but if we do, we will."

Auston Johnson, Utah's state auditor, will investigate the incident and expects to file charges through the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office, reported the WSJ

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