Hogsett Announces Indictment Of Local Investment Manager For Mail Fraud, Id Theft
INDIANAPOLIS – Joseph H. Hogsett, the United States Attorney, announced today that Ronald W. Nichter, age 58, of Pendleton, has been charged by federal indictment with eight counts of mail fraud and eight counts of aggravated identity theft. The local investment manager allegedly engaged in a scheme to defraud his clients of their funds by fraudulently withdrawing money from their accounts for his personal use.
“The victims in this case worked hard for their money, and they expected the defendant to work equally hard to protect it,” Hogsett said. “Instead, this alleged scheme violated their trust and resulted in tens of thousands of dollars in losses to their investment accounts.”
The indictment alleges that Nichter purchased and managed securities on behalf of clients in and around central Indiana, with clients in Anderson, Pendleton, and Greenfield, along with other locations. As part of his duties, the defendant would meet with the clients and create an investment profile that included personal information such as the person’s name, date of birth, Social Security number, and investment goals.
Beginning in October 2009, it is alleged that Nichter created false documents with forged client signatures that requested funds be withdrawn from their investment accounts. The checks issued in response to these documents would then be forward to one of two addresses – a P.O. Box in Pendleton rented by the defendant, and the home of the defendant’s former assistant. Nichter allegedly took custody of these checks, depositing them into his bank account and spending the money for his own benefit.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Bradley P. Shephard who is prosecuting the case for the government, this case was the result of investigative work by the United States Secret Service. Nichter could face up to 20 years in federal prison on each count of mail fraud, and at least 2 years in federal prison on each count of identity theft. He also faces significant fines and years of federally-supervised release if convicted.
A criminal complaint or indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.