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Press Release

Two Individuals Convicted of Conspiracy and Fraud in Cattle Ponzi Scheme

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A federal jury convicted a woman and man today of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering relating to a scheme that fraudulently raised money from investors across the country.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Reva Joyce Stachniw, 70, of Galesburg, Illinois, and Ron Throgmartin, 58, of Buford, Georgia, ran a Ponzi scheme from late 2017 until early 2019 by fraudulently representing to victim-investors that their investments were backed by short-term investments in cattle. They also used false and fraudulent pretenses to solicit money from victim-investors for the conspirators’ Colorado-based marijuana business, Universal Herbs LLC. Other victim-investors gave the conspirators money based on false promises that investment money would be used for legitimate business activities related to cattle or marijuana, without having the investment money linked to specific investment opportunities.

Stachniw and Throgmartin were convicted on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, five counts of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 6, 2023, and face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each of the wire fraud counts and the conspiracy to commit wire fraud count, as well as 10 years in prison on the conspiracy to commit money laundering count. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division made the announcement.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General and the FBI investigated the case.

Assistant Chief Scott Armstrong and Trial Attorney Brandon Burkhart of the Justice Department’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.

Updated August 26, 2022

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 22-919