Noble Trust investment firm scrutinized

The state Banking Department is still looking into the failure of Noble Trust, a Manchester-based investment firm seized in February for allegedly hiding $15 million in losses, as officials tally claims for damages.

Monday, Aug. 11, was the deadline for investors to submit claims against Noble Trust, an investment firm that touted itself as specializing in making investments for nonprofit groups and having clients who are “typically elderly individuals who depend on their investment income to survive.”

It’s not clear how many creditors are involved or who they are.

Since it began reporting on the issue, The Telegraph has received a half-dozen queries from individuals seeking to recoup losses, but none of them lived in New Hampshire, or even in New England.

Noble Trust’s founder, Colin Lindsey, grew up in Kansas City and still has strong business connections there. Noble Trust was created in 2003.

The New Hampshire Banking Department raided the Manchester offices of Noble Trust on Feb. 11, saying in a court order that Lindsey has been “making false statements and entries into (the trust’s) books for the purpose of deceiving customers, creditors and the department.”

The department received court permission to raid the office because of concern that assets would be shifted out of the state if news of investigation came out, according to court documents.

It was the first New Hampshire investment institution takeover by the state, rather than by federal regulators, in at least two decades.

A judge later approved the liquidation of the trust, to pay off creditors.

The state claimed in court documents that Lindsay filed “false and misleading information concerning a $15,000,000 investment of client funds in an entity known as Sierra Factoring LLC.”

In turn, Lindsey has filed suit in Colorado, claiming the money disappeared in a “Ponzi-like scheme” at Sierra Factoring involving the business equivalent of payday loans.

According to news stories, Lindsey is one of a number of defendants who have filed suit in Weld District Court, Colorado, against several owners of Blue Bear Funding in Windsor, Colo., which went bankrupt in 2005. One of the founders of Blue Bear, Darin DaVoe, is now wanted on a nationwide warrant for securities fraud and theft.