U.S., Florida agents raid Imperial Holdings: reports

Reuters

(Reuters) - Federal and state investigators on Tuesday raided the Florida offices of Imperial Holdings , a company that makes lump-sum payments on legal settlements and life insurance policies, local media reported.

The Palm Beach Post reported FBI agents appeared to be gathering evidence inside the company's offices, and pictures on its website showed agents leaving the building. The South Florida Business Journal said another agent leaving the building identified himself as working for the U.S. Treasury.

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The Post also said the agents were acting on a search warrant from the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Hampshire.

That office declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the Florida attorney general's office could not immediately comment.

An executive for Imperial whose phone number was listed on the company's website did not return calls for comment.

Shares of Imperial were halted for pending news at 1:42 p.m. ET and did not trade the rest of the day. The stock last changed hands down 2.8 percent at $6.32.

The company raised $179.2 million in an initial public offering in February. The stock has lost 41 percent of its value since then.

Its largest shareholder with a 9.5 percent stake, according to Thomson Reuters data, is Pine Trading Ltd, a Bahamas-registered entity that only holds Imperial shares. According to Imperial's annual report, Pine Trading is controlled by David Haring, who also controls other entities in partnership with Imperial Chief Executive Antony Mitchell.

Imperial lost money every year from 2008 through 2010 but was profitable in the first six months of this year, according to its posted financial statements.

Underwriters on the IPO were led by FBR Capital Markets.

(Reporting by Ben Berkowitz; Editing by Richard Chang)