The Idaho Department of Finance has filed a civil lawsuit against four individuals, including two Utah men, and three companies it contends violated Idaho securities laws through an international investment fraud scheme.

The complaint filed Thursday in 4th District Court names Offshore Finance Ltd. of Gibraltar; Ephraim Goldberg Securities of Panama City, Panama; Goben Bank & Trust Ltd. of Grenada; John B. Tenney and Ernst N. Tietjen of Salt Lake City; and Merril Goertzen and John Schmidt Jr. of Boise.According to the four-count lawsuit, the alleged scheme involved soliciting investors for a complicated program of "equity enhancement," promoted as yielding a 700-percent return.

The Department of Finance contends investors would give money or assets to the companies, which then would be placed in a trust controlled by Tietjen in exchange for other securities.

The defendants allegedly told investors the Global Stock Exchange, through member firms, then would be used to leverage the value of the securities. According to the complaint, investors were promised zero coupon notes or other securities in one of the defendant companies. Offshore Finance, in turn, allegedly provided a "corporate guarantee" of 700 percent annual return on investments.