Local Businessman Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud, Money Laundering as Part of Investment Fraud Scheme
COLUMBUS, Ohio – John Richard Blazer, 70, of Marion, Ohio, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to wire fraud and money laundering as part of an investment fraud scheme.
Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Angela L. Byers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, announced the plea entered into today before U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson.
According to the Statement of Facts in this case, from approximately January 2011 until August 2013, Blazer owned and operated several businesses in central Ohio, including The Ohio Company and The Ohio Company Loan Fund. He was also a partner in The Ohio Heritage Fund.
Blazer recruited investors by promising them that their money would be invested in one of his businesses, or in a real estate fund to purchase and rehabilitate homes in central Ohio, or in a gold mining operation in Africa.
Rather than investing the victims’ funds, Blazer used the money to pay for personal expenses and to pay off previous investors.
In total, he received at least $1 million from approximately 21 victims.
Blazer pleaded guilty to one count each of wire fraud and money laundering. Each crime is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the FBI and Assistant United States Attorney Jessica H. Kim, who is representing the United States in this case.