Four Men in Ohio Convicted of Defrauding 500 Investors

David Meyer speaks with a colleague

A group of Ohio men was recently convicted of scamming more than 500 people out of $10 million.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio announced the conviction of four Ohio men in connection with a scheme to defraud more than 500 investors out of $10 million. Kenneth Jackson, William Schureck, Dennis Deciancio, and Daryl Dane Donohue were accused of selling unregistered securities and misrepresenting the product they claimed to develop. The conviction came after a four-week trial.

They were convicted on counts of conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, making false statements, wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, and more. Sentencing is scheduled for September 1, 2016.

All four of the men were affiliated with a company Jackson founded in 2007, Medical Safety Solutions (MSS). Investors were allegedly induced by the men to buy stocks in MSS after false statements and fraudulent misrepresentations regarding the company and a hypodermic needle destruction device called the Sharps Terminator. The men were accused of making the following misrepresentations:

The U.S. Attorney alleged that more than 500 people were defrauded in the alleged scheme between 2007 and 2013, resulting in over $10 million in losses. Jackson and Schureck were also accused of transferring money to cover their personal expenses. Jackson allegedly used $3.3 million to gamble at Mountaineer Casino.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony said,

“These four individuals conspired to misrepresent a product to their investors in order to make a profit. The FBI will continue efforts to bring to justice those that have duped investors out of their hard-earned money.

Apostelos Saga Continues, Ohio Couple's Ponzi Scheme Trial Delayed

The Springboro, Ohio couple accused of running a Ponzi scheme will have their trial delayed until February 6, 2017. 

Judge Thomas Rose of Dayton’s U.S. District Court granted an unopposed defense motion to continue William and Connie Apostelos’ trial because of the sheer volume of discovery. The husband and wife team from Ohio pleaded not guilty last year to allegations that they ran a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of $70 million.

Meyer Wilson also wrote about this case earlier last year, at which time the investment losses were only estimated to be around $30 million.

More than 200 discs full of discovery material are at play in this case, prompting Rose to grant more time before the case goes to trial. The assistant U.S. attorney also commented that the amount of discovery was “the biggest he’s seen in a decade on the job.”

Both William and Connie Apostelos have also filed motions to modify their home monitoring. Rose is expected to rule on that in a few days.

According to investigators, the Apostelos’ ran their Ponzi scheme for the five-year period between 2009 and 2014, picking up nearly 500 investors. Allegations assert that the couple solicited investors by claiming their money would be invested in various stocks and securities, but instead, the couple used customer money for their own purposes.

Ponzi schemes are a type of investment fraud involving the payment of “returns” to investors from funds contributed to the scheme by new investors. In many Ponzi scheme cases, there is little or no actual profit being made. The promises of high reward and little-to-no risk are common earmarks of a Ponzi scheme.

You can learn more about the latest in the Apostelos case by reading about it in Dayton Daily News, and for more information about Ponzi schemes, we encourage you to watch Attorney David Meyer’s helpful video on the subject.

Meyer Wilson Investigating Larry S. Werbel Investment Fraud Allegations

The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed a complaint against former brokers Sheif F. Khan, Larry S. Werbel, and Christopher Cervino this week in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The complaint revolves around an alleged fraudulent securities scheme perpetrated by Edward Durante, a recidivist securities law violator who was released from prison in June 2009 for his last securities fraud conviction.

According to the SEC complaint, Durante defrauded at least 50 investors out of $11 million through the sale of securities in a company he controlled called VGTel, Inc. Durante allegedly went by the fictitious name “Ted Wise” while soliciting stock sales to his victims.

Sheif Kahn, a formerly-registered stockbroker at Ameritas Investment Corp., was allegedly bribed by Durante to transfer clients to Durante. The SEC alleges in its complaint that Kahn advised at least 20 of her clients to sell their annuities and purchase VGTel stock.

Larry Werbel, owner and operator of Evolution Partners Wealth Management in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, allegedly entered into an agreement with New Market, a company owned by Durante, in 2010. Werbel is accused of inducing six of his clients to purchase roughly $2 million of stocks in VGTel. According to the SEC’s accusations, Werbel took no steps to learn anything about VGTel, but nonetheless recommended it to his clients.

Christopher Cervino was a registered broker at COR Clearing LLC from August 2013 to October 2014. In 2013, Cervino allegedly opened accounts for 23 customers to trade VGTel stock at the direction of Durante. Cervino is accused of manipulating the price of VGTel stock with Durante, causing the share price of VGTel stock to increase from $0.25 to $1.90.

The SEC complaint seeks disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, injunctive relief, and civil penalties.

If you lost money with former brokers Sheif F. Khan, Larry S. Werbel, and Christopher Cervino, call our securities fraud attorneys at Meyer Wilson for a free consultation.

Douglas E. Cowgill Pleads Guilty to Fraud

An Ohio registered investment adviser, Douglas Cowgill, recently pleaded guilty to defrauding his clients. 

Back in May 2014, Meyer Wilson reported on the Ohio registered investment adviser who had been accused of issuing false account statements to customers. The adviser, Douglas E. Cowgill, pleaded guilty on November 12, 2015 to charges of wire fraud, theft, and perjury.

Cowgill was the owner and president of Professional Investment Management (PIM), a Columbus-based company, from July 2013 through August 2014. During this time, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Cowgill used his position of authority at PIM to defraud his clients. Even before he became president and sole owner, as far back as March 2008, Cowgill had allegedly begun misappropriating customer money.

According to allegations, Cowgill transferred his customer’s money into an account he could access by manipulating PIM’s software. Cowgill allegedly used that misappropriated money for his own expenses. At least 125 investors suffered financially because of Cowgill’s alleged misconduct.

Cowgill pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to embezzling money from his clients’ retirement plans, each of which was a pension plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. In January 2014, while the SEC was still investigating Cowgill’s alleged violations of federal securities laws, Cowgill reportedly lied under oath, failing to disclose five of his bank accounts. The SEC contended that this conduct was an overt attempt to conceal his misconduct involving client funds.

Cowgill is currently awaiting sentencing, where he could receive up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud, and an additional five years in prison for his other charges.

Douglas E. Cowgill Pleads Guilty to Fraud

An Ohio registered investment adviser, Douglas Cowgill, recently pleaded guilty to defrauding his clients. 

Back in May 2014, Meyer Wilson reported on the Ohio registered investment adviser who had been accused of issuing false account statements to customers. The adviser, Douglas E. Cowgill, pleaded guilty on November 12, 2015 to charges of wire fraud, theft, and perjury.

Cowgill was the owner and president of Professional Investment Management (PIM), a Columbus-based company, from July 2013 through August 2014. During this time, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Cowgill used his position of authority at PIM to defraud his clients. Even before he became president and sole owner, as far back as March 2008, Cowgill had allegedly begun misappropriating customer money.

According to allegations, Cowgill transferred his customer’s money into an account he could access by manipulating PIM’s software. Cowgill allegedly used that misappropriated money for his own expenses. At least 125 investors suffered financially because of Cowgill’s alleged misconduct.

Cowgill pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to embezzling money from his clients’ retirement plans, each of which was a pension plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. In January 2014, while the SEC was still investigating Cowgill’s alleged violations of federal securities laws, Cowgill reportedly lied under oath, failing to disclose five of his bank accounts. The SEC contended that this conduct was an overt attempt to conceal his misconduct involving client funds.

Cowgill is currently awaiting sentencing, where he could receive up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud, and an additional five years in prison for his other charges.

Apostelos Couple Pleads "Not Guilty" in $70 Million Ponzi Scheme Case

The husband and wife team from Ohio, William Apostelos and Connie Apostelos, have pleaded not guilty to allegations that they ran a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors out of $70 million.

According to federal court documents, William and Connie Apostelos pleaded not guilty to charges listed in an indictment, including money laundering and wire fraud. The Ohio couple has been accused of operating a Ponzi scheme in the Dayton area that eventually bilked investors out of about $70 million.

Investigators claim that the Apostelos’ started their scheme in 2009, soliciting investors by claiming that their money would be invested in various stocks and securities. Instead, the couple allegedly used that money for their own purposes, including gambling, home purchases, and funding their other companies.

Meyer Wilson reported on this case back in April, and at that time, the federal complaint accused the couple of defrauding a group of as many as 450 investors out of more than $30 million. It was about a year ago that allegations initially surfaced against the Aposteloses.

At the time of our last update, the U.S. attorney had not yet confirmed or denied any indictment against the Ohio couple. As of last week, the couple has pleaded not guilty to charges included in the indictment against them. Their next hearing is scheduled for today.

Meyer Wilson helps investors recover their losses caused by fraud and misconduct.

Four Ohio Men Indicted in $7m Investment Scheme

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio, four Ohio men were indicted for their role in an alleged $7 million investment scheme. Prosecutors say the men traveled the U.S. selling unregistered securities and using various false and misleading statements to do so.

The indictment names the following men, all allegedly affiliated with Medical Safety Solutions:

The indictment says that Jackson founded Medical Safety Solutions in 2007. Allegedly, Jackson, Schureck, Deciancio, and Donohue sold shares of Medical Safety Solutions to investors throughout the country even though the shares were not properly registered as required by law..

The indictment claims that the four men used various false and misleading statements to procure investments in MSS and the product “Sharps Terminator.” For example, the men allegedly claimed that the Sharps Terminator device had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration when, in reality, it had not.

The indictment states that investors in MSS and the Sharps Terminator sustained losses of approximately $7 million over a five-year span. One of the men involved in the scheme allegedly gambled away more than $3 million in his investors’ money. An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.

Contact Meyer Wilson if you or someone you know has lost money through investment fraud or misconduct. We represent investors to help them recover losses from investment-related misconduct.Contact us today for a free case review to learn how we might be able to help you!

Ohio Men Indicted for Allegedly Defrauding Investors Out of $17 Million

Thomas Abdallah, Mark George, and Jeffrey Gainer have been indicted for their alleged role in a $17 million Ponzi scheme involving approximately 70 investors. According to accusations, these men allegedly solicited individuals to invest in KGTA Petroleum Ltd., an Akron-based company owned by Abdallah and a man named Kenneth Grant who is currently awaiting sentencing for his role in the scheme.

The men allegedly claimed that investors would receive 60 percent annual returns on their investments, but the indictment accuses them of using the money for their own personal expenses, such as cars and mortgages, and not having any agreements in motion to sell oil and fuel to generate the promised returns. State prosecutors claim that George, who was licensed to practice law in Ohio, let Abdallah and Grant use his escrow account to give the KGTA investments the appearance of legitimacy.

In May 2014, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit in order to stop any further investments into KGTA. Since then, six individuals have been indicted and three have entered guilty pleas.

Meyer Wilson has been reporting on this case from the beginning. To read more about when the criminal charges were filed against Ken Grant or Jerry Cicolani, visit:

According to the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, this case raised red flags from the start. When investment advisors, brokers, or individuals claiming to be financial professionals promise guaranteed returns or returns that seem too good to be true, investors should be extremely wary.

Since 1999, the investment fraud lawyers at Meyer Wilson have been helping people recover their losses caused by fraud and misconduct. If you believe this happened to you, we invite you to contact us today for a free evaluation to learn your legal rights and options.

John Bullar to Pay $6.2 Million in Restitution for Ponzi Scheme

U.S. District Judge Michael R. Barrett handed down John Bullar’s sentence this Monday, giving him “100 months in prison, three years of supervised release, was ordered to forfeit $535,408.68, and was ordered to pay approximately $6.2 million in restitution to the victims” for his role in an $8.7 million Ponzi scheme that Bullar ran for over a decade. Bullar pleaded guilty in September of last year.

Court documents state that between 2003 and 2013, Bullar was in charge of a scheme that eventually generated $8.7 million, with $8.1 million of that going directly to Bullar through “investments” in a business out of Cincinnati called “Executive Management Advisors, LLC” or “EMA.”

False Representations

According to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Bullar made multiple false claims about himself and the investments in order to get investors to bite. Some examples include his claim that he never had a losing quarter and that he was EMA’s biggest investor himself.

Bullar’s Victims

According to court documents, many of Bullar’s targets were his friends, family members, and members at his local church. Sadly, one of the more common fraud tactics is leveraging a position of trust. Many people who lose money through investment fraud or misconduct trusted their financial advisor because he or she was a close friend, family member, or fellow churchgoer.

Court documents also state that Bullar issued false account statements to his investors, which investors used when they filed their tax forms. This means that the investors paid taxes on investment earnings they were not actually making.

Where did the money go?

Bullar allegedly told victims that their funds were pooled in a managed account to trade futures and options on the commodity markets. In reality, only a small fraction of the funds were actually traded. According to court documents, Bullar spent his investors’ money on numerous personal expenses and things to impress his clients, including:

Meyer Wilson helps investors who have lost money through Ponzi schemes and other types of investment fraud and misconduct recover their losses. If you or someone you love has lost money and you believe it was caused by fraud or misconduct, we invite you to contact us today for a free review of your case.

Former Ohio State Representative Peter Beck Found Guilty on 13 Counts

A former Ohio lawmaker was found guilty this week on 13 of the 38 total felony counts against him for his role in an investment scheme. 

Back in July 2013, we reported that Peter Beck, the now-former Ohio lawmaker, had been indicted on multiple felony state securities fraud charges after, allegedly, bilking investors out of millions. This Tuesday, a Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge found Beck guilty on 13 of his 38 counts.

Initially, he was indicated on 16 charges, but an additional 54 counts were added the next February. During the course of Beck’s trial, prosecutors amended the second indictment and the judge dismissed one for a total of 38 counts.

Beck, formerly the mayor of Mason, Ohio as well as a state representative, faced accusations of running an investment scheme involving two companies – Christopher Technologies and TML Consulting. Beck’s sentencing is set for August 20 at 9am where he faces the possibility of 50 years in prison.

One of the counts that Beck was acquitted of was the most severe – engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. If convicted, he would have received a mandatory 10-year prison term. Additionally, 14 investors filed a lawsuit against Beck.

Beck did not act alone. There were several other individuals involved in the string of investments in Christopher Technologies and TML Consulting. The individuals who accepted plea deals include John Fussner, former CEO and Co-Founder of Christopher Technologies, business consultant Vernon DeMois, and Janet Combs.