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A Buford man has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Colorado on charges related to running a Ponzi scheme from late 2017 to early 2019 that raised more than $650 million from investors across the United States.

According to a news release issued by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Public Affairs, Ron Throgmartin, 57, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, five counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to engage in money transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity.

Throgmartin is charged alongside an Illinois woman, Reva Joyce Stachniw, 69, of Galesburg. A third conspirator, Mark Ray, was previously charged by criminal information for his role in the scheme in February 2020.

Throgmartin and Stachniw made their initial court appearance Tuesday, May 11, before U.S. Magistrate Judge N. Reid Neureiter of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.

Throgmartin and Stachniw are accused of fraudulently represented to victims that their investments were backed by short-term investments in cattle. According to the news release, they also used false and fraudulent pretenses to solicit money from victims for a Colorado-based marijuana business, Universal Herbs LLC. Victim also gave the conspirators money based on false promises that investment money would be used for legitimate business activity related to cattle or marijuana, without having the investment money linked to specific investment opportunities. Victims were promised returns of approximately 10 percent to 20 percent over periods as short as several weeks.

“At no point did Stachniw, Throgmartin, or Ray tell victim-investors that they were primarily using their money to repay other investors in a Ponzi-style investment scheme, or to enrich themselves,” the news release states. “Stachniw and Throgmartin allegedly received millions of dollars from the scheme, despite putting little to none of their own money into it.”

If convicted, Throgmartin faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for wire fraud and 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy to engage in money transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity.

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