Risk & Compliance

SEC Seeks to Enforce Amerco Orders

Commission contends that U-Haul's parent company has failed to produce subpoenaed E-mail.
Stephen TaubMarch 10, 2004

The Securities and Exchange Commission has applied to a U.S. District Court for an order to enforce investigative subpoenas served on Amerco. The company hasn’t cooperated with the regulatory agency’s investigation into possible violations of federal securities laws, the SEC contends.

The SEC’s application and supporting papers allege that on November 4, 2002, the commission issued a formal order of private investigation. On January 7, January 23, and February 21, 2003, the commission issued administrative subpoenas to Amerco, the parent company of U-Haul, as part of a formal investigation into possible U.S. securities law breaches. The subpoenas required Amerco to produce E-mail and other documents relevant to the probe.

The commission also alleges that in the more than a year that has elapsed since it served its last subpoena, Amerco has “failed to produce all, or even substantially all,” of the subpoenaed E-mail. Amerco has no valid justification for its failure to comply, the SEC alleges.

The commission also alleged that, as recently as March 3, Amerco declined to provide SEC staff with a date by which it will produce the E-mail. A court order is needed to prevent further delay in response to the subpoenas, the SEC contends.

Amerco spokesperson Jennifer Flachman told Dow Jones the company is working with the SEC in the ongoing probe. “We continue to provide information and will continue to cooperate,” she reportedly said, declining to comment on the SEC’s application to force Amerco to turn over documents and E-mail.

Amerco filed for bankruptcy protection last year. But on February 2, Edward Shoen, the company’s chairman announced that its creditors had approved Amerco’s reorganization and that it was “poised to emerge from Chapter 11.”