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Wisconsin lodge owner reaches possible plea agreement

A 68-year-old Pennsylvania man who has been charged in Wisconsin with racketeering and securities fraud has reportedly pleaded guilty to theft by contractor. The charges stemmed from alleged promises that the man made about investment properties at a resort that he was selling. The Wisconsin Department of Justice says these promises were misleading.

According to information reported by the LaCrosse Tribune earlier this year, the man, who is the former owner of a lodge in Warrens, allegedly made promises to investors that they would receive a return on their money for investing in a series of properties that he was selling. Court documents state that he reportedly sold the properties as net-lease or lease-back agreements, but then failed to disclose to the investors that his company was in financial distress.

While the man's attorney has stated that his client plans to continue fighting both the charges of racketeering and securities fraud, the attorney has announced that an agreement has almost been reached on the third charge, theft by contractor. This charge relates to a specific incident in which the man received $85,000 from an investor who he had made a contract with to build a villa but then allegedly spent the money that he received somewhere else.

The judge handling the case is expected to hold an evidentiary hearing on June 2 in which a decision will be handed down as to whether the existing charges are read-in as part of the sentencing phase or if they will instead be dismissed. If convicted, the man could face up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. The court could also order him to repay investors.

White collar crimes such as racketeering and securities fraud could have severe consequences such as jail time and hefty fines. An experienced Wisconsin attorney could assist a defendant during the legal process.

Source: The Tomah Journal, "Van Der Molen pleads guilty to theft by contractor" Jourdan Vian, Mar. 28, 2014

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