Galesburg woman convicted of Ponzi scheme, wire fraud
Prairie Review (Knox, Henderson, Warren, IL)
GALESBURG — A woman from Galesburg was convicted in federal court Friday of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering relating to a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors from across the country.
A news release from the Department of Justice named Reva Joyce Stachniw, 70, of Galesburg, and Ron Throgmartin, 58, of Buford, Georgia as the conspirators and defendants now convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, five counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Stachniw and Throgmartin ran their scheme from late 2017 to early 2019, fraudulently representing to victim-investors that their investments were backed by short term investments in cattle, according to the DOJ news release which references court documents and evidence presented at trial.
The two also used false and fraudulent pretenses to solicit money from victim-investors for the conspirators' Colorado-based marijuana business, Universal Herbs LLC. Other victim-investors gave the conspirators money based on the false promises that their money would be used for legitimate business activities related to cattle or marijuana, without having the investment money linked to specific investment opportunities.
A federal district court judge will determine their sentence on Jan. 6, 2023. The two face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each of the wire fraud counts and the conspiracy to commit wire fraud count, as well as 10 years in prison on the conspiracy to commit money laundering count.
The case was investigated by the FBI and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of the Inspector General. Assistant Chief Scott Armstrong and Trial Attorney Brandon Burkhart of the Justice Department's Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department's Criminal Division made the announcement.