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Feds Frisk Finance Firm

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"Today's action comes as a complete surprise."

Imperial Holdings, Inc. is about to get famous for all the wrong reasons.

On Tuesday evening it announced that it was served with a search warrant by a Magistrate Judge for the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida.

Imperial Holdings confirmed the raid and said it, along with certain employees, including its chairman and chief executive and its president and chief operating officer, were under investigation for matters related to the company's life-insurance business, reports 24/7 Wall St.

The company is involved in the often-controversial field of providing liquidity solutions with a focus on individual life insurance policies and purchasing structured settlement payments.

"Today's action comes as a complete surprise. We are not aware of any wrongdoing and will cooperate fully," Chairman and CEO Antony Mitchell said in the statement.

The company also noted that no action has been taken against its structured settlement business and it claims to anticipate that it will be in normal operations in all of its business segments.

Attempts to reach CEO Antony Mitchell and other Imperial executives were not successful.

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 Reuters.

According to Imperial's annual report, Pine Trading is controlled by David Haring, who also controls other entities in partnership with Chairman and CEO Mitchell.

Insiders have recently been buying the company's shares, according to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

The company said it would hold a board meeting later on Tuesday and it expected all of its businesses to resume normal operations on Wednesday.

An FBI spokesman in Miami said agents were acting on a search warrant issued by the U.S. Attorney's office in New Hampshire. The New Hampshire office would not comment on the investigation, reports Reuters.

The Palm Beach Post reported that 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 an agent leaving the building said he was working for the U.S. Treasury.

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