HAMMOND- Richard E. Gearhart, 69, of St. John, Indiana has tendered his plea of guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Kirsch.
“Fraud schemes targeting the elderly, among the most vulnerable of victims, are particularly egregious crimes,” said US Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch, II. “My Office and our law enforcement partners are committed to prosecuting white collar crimes like those committed in this case.”
According to court documents, between in or about January 2008 and continuing through in or about March 2013, Gearhart, the owner of Asset Preservation Specialists, Inc., along with his co-conspirator, knowingly, willfully, and intentionally engaged in a securities fraud scheme in which he and his co-conspirator sold securities to more than 25 investor victims through false statements, misrepresentations, and omissions of material facts. Gearhart’s actions resulted in misleading the investor victims into purchasing securities from him and his co-conspirator whereby the victims’ investments were used for the personal benefit of Gearhart and his co-conspirator including funding businesses they owned without disclosing this information to the investor victims. In Gearhart’s plea agreement, he agreed to serve 5 years in prison and pay restitution to all victims impacted by the fraud, subject to the approval of the court. The sentencing date will be determined by the court at a later date. George R. McKown is scheduled to proceed to trial on January 27, 2020.
The case was the result of an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Indiana Secretary of State, Securities Division and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Toi Denise Houston.