FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
APRIL 9, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FORMER EMPLOYEE PLEADS GUILTY TO DEFRAUDING
INVESTORS AND UNCLE’S ACCOUNTING FIRM
Defrauded Columbia Accounting Firm, the Firm’s Partners and Clients, and Acquaintances from Church of $450,000
Baltimore, Maryland - John R. Ring, Jr., age 25, of Bluffton, South Carolina, formerly of Ellicott City, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud investors and partners at his employer’s accounting firm, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
According to the statement of facts presented to the court at today’s guilty plea, Ring was employed as an accountant at Fisher-Ring, LLC, an accounting firm headquartered in Columbia, Maryland (the Firm). One of the two partners of the Firm is Ring’s uncle. From November 2005 to July 2006 Ring defrauded several clients of the Firm, acquaintances through his church, and others (collectively, the Investors), as well as the Firm and its partners, of approximately $450,000.
Ring falsely represented to Investors that they could invest in Old Bay Investments, LLC, a company formed by the Firm’s partners to purchase real estate in South Carolina, despite knowing that the Firm’s partners were not opening Old Bay Investments to other investors. He collected approximately $408,000 in investor funds by instructing an investor to wire transfer funds to a bank account Ring managed for the Firm, and obtaining investment checks from Investors, several of which he altered in order to deposit them into the bank account he managed. Ring falsely represented that these Investor funds had been used to purchase real estate in South Carolina and provided some Investors with false balance sheets, profit-loss statements, analyses of partner accounts and other records reflecting that the Investors were partners in Old Bay Investments and had earned substantial returns on their investments. Ring also provided similar false documents to other Investors in an effort to lead them to believe that they were partners in an investment vehicle called OB Enterprises, LLC, when in fact Ring had not established any such company.
Ring diverted Investor funds to pay for accounting fees incurred by one of the Firm’s clients, an individual for whom Ring performed services, and provided Investors’ and the Firm’s funds to the individual as well as the individual’s business and creditors. Ring diverted funds from the Firm’s operating account into the bank account Ring managed; diverted Investor funds to a business owned by another investor, claiming that the money was a loan Ring had obtained from a bank; and provided Firm and the Investors’ funds to two organizations, claiming they were charitable donations.
Ring faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for wire fraud. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake has set sentencing for July 31, 2007 at 9:00 a.m.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the investigative work performed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan Biran and Harry M. Gruber, who are prosecuting the case.