News and Press Releases

Florida man indicted for $4 million bank fraud related to massillon construction project

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 2, 2013

A Florida man was indicted on four counts for a scheme in which he defrauded Fifth Third Bank out of approximately $4 million, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

Russell W. Spitz, age 75, owned and operated his company, Vision Power Systems, out of the Jacksonville, Florida area, where is currently residing. He was indicted on one count of bank fraud and three counts of wire fraud.

The indictment charges that between in or around December 2006, and in or around August 2008, Spitz knowingly executed a scheme to defraud Fifth Third Bank of approximately $4 million.

The indictment alleges that this scheme began when Spitz’s company, Vision Power Systems, agreed to construct and operate a biomass boiler for FiberCorr, a corrugated paper company based in Massillon, Ohio. The biomass boiler was intended to reduce energy expenses by providing heat and steam power to FiberCorr’s paper mills. The project was financed by the Stark County Port Authority, but Fifth Third Bank issued a letter of credit to guarantee the bonds.

The indictment alleges that Spitz submitted a number of fraudulent documents to Fifth Third Bank during the loan negotiation process, which Fifth Third Bank relied up on when it decided to enter into the loan agreement with Spitz. Fifth Third Bank disbursed approximately $4.1 million for the project.

The indictment alleges that Spitz did not use the funds for construction of the boiler, and, as a result, construction on the boiler stopped in 2008. The project was never completed.

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Chelsea S. Rice of the Cleveland U.S. Attorney’s Office, following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

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