A Salt Lake City man who says he lost his house in connection with an alleged Ponzi scheme is suing JPMorgan Chase Bank, a former manager in a Salt Lake City branch and other unnamed employees.

Michael Ryan Thompson and his company, Terraform LLC, is suing JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association, an Ohio corporation; Timothy Beckstrand, a former manager at the bank's Salt Lake Broadway branch; and 10 John Does.

While the lawsuit zeroes in on the actions of a couple Chase employees, which the lawsuit says Chase internally investigated for improprieties, it seeks to hold Chase responsible for their actions because they occurred during the course of their employment.

Chase declined to comment. Plaintiffs' attorneys did not return inquiries seeking comment Wednesday or Thursday. Beckstrand could not be contacted.

The lawsuit alleges Chase, via two employees, promoted a Ponzi scheme run by Robert Casey Hall, who is a defendant in a pending U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission case.

It alleges Hall claimed his investment would yield an average 5 percent monthly return. When Thompson expressed interest, the lawsuit says Hall directed him to open a business account at Chase.

But the lawsuit alleges Chase employees falsified the Terraform business account application, filling in blanks for financial information that did not yet exist for the new company. Chase then allegedly gave the business a $100,000 line of credit due to Thompson's good credit, and Thompson was directed to transfer the money to Hall's RCH2 account, also named in the SEC action.

The lawsuit alleges Chase should have known Hall's investment scheme was fraudulent and also should have told Thompson about its fraud investigation into employees who established several other business accounts similar to Terraform's.

Instead, the lawsuit says, Chase sought payments on the business line of credit. Thompson, who according to the lawsuit took out a second mortgage to pay back more than $36,000, fell behind on the mortgage and eventually lost the house to foreclosure.

The lawsuit seeks about $130,000, plus attorneys fees and other relief determined by the court.


E-mail: jtcook@desnews.com