A Utah County man pleaded guilty this week to securities fraud in connection with a $25,000 fee he received from a Provo auto repair company.

Kenneth E. Ford, 63, paid restitution to Mayday Auto Care before entering the plea to a single felony count before 4th District Judge Lynn W. Davis Wednesday. He faces a possible prison term of up to five years when he is sentenced May 18.Investigators from the Utah Division of Securities said that Ford told company officials he would obtain financing so they could expand the business. The financing was to come through a public stock offering, for which Ford was paid the $25,000 advance fee.

Investigator David Wayment cautioned Utahns about the risks of paying large fees up front to obtain financing. In addition, Wayment said, companies should be wary of doing public stock offerings through anyone other than an attorney or licensed stock broker.