A Utah securities agent who is accused of bilking customers out of $100,000 in retirement funds has been charged with 56 felony counts of securities fraud, communication fraud, theft and state income tax evasion.

The charges filed by the state attorney general's office allege that George David Keaton convinced his clients to sell their securities and invest the proceeds in the Pace Financial Group, a company that did not exist.According to the attorney general's office, the money Keaton's clients believed was being invested in a municipal bond fund was deposited in a bank account controlled solely by the securities agent and diverted for his own use.

The $100,000 collected from the clients represented the bulk of their retirement funds, the office stated. Clients were sent documents indicating the amount of money invested in the allegedly nonexistent municipal bond fund.

When the clients became suspicious, the attorney general's office said, Keaton left Utah for Georgia.

Keaton was arrested Monday in Vadalia, Ga., and booked into the Toombs County Jail. Utah 3rd Circuit Judge Phillip K. Palmer signed a warrant for Keaton's arrest and set bail at $150,000.

He is charged with three counts of securities fraud, two counts of communications fraud, 50 counts of theft and one count of tax evasion, all felonies.

The attorney general's office stated that the Pace Financial Group is not related to any one of a number of legitimate companies throughout the United States with similar or identical names.