CANTON − A 68-year-old Jackson Township man will spend four to six years in prison for defrauding investors in his radial engine start-up companies.
At the conclusion of Charles M. Boulton's plea hearing Tuesday, Stark County Common Pleas Judge Frank Forchione ordered Boulton committed to the Stark County Jail, where he awaits transfer to a state prison, according to court records. Boulton had been free on $250,000 bond.
Forchione ordered Boulton to pay $630,000 in restitution to seven victims who live in Medina, Stark and Summit counties as well as Nebraska and California, according to prosecutors and the Ohio Department of Commerce. The department investigated the fraud allegations and referred the case to the Stark County prosecutor's office.
A message seeking comment was left late Wednesday afternoon at the law firm of Boulton's Strongsville-based attorney Aaron Schwartz.
Radial engineer designer Charles Boulton arrested
Boulton was arrested in January 2021 at his home by agents with the U.S. Marshals Violent Fugitive Task Force. A Stark County grand jury indicted him on 24 felony charges of unlawful securities practices, two counts of telecommunications fraud, one count of theft from a person in a protected class and one count of theft.
Prosecutors said he made misrepresentations while soliciting and collecting more than $600,000 from 2015 to 2018 for what the investors believed to be a radial engine product Boulton said he was working on. Boulton's company names were Radio M92 Inc., Radia R&D LLC or Radial Engine Innovation Ltd.
Instead, prosecutors, who were led by Assistant Stark County Prosecutor Kristen Mlinar, said he spent the money to cover personal expenses, loan payments and to provide him cash.
As part of a plea agreement, Forchione dismissed the theft charges and one count of telecommunications fraud. He consolidated the unlawful securities practices counts into 12 counts with one telecommunications fraud charge. Boulton pleaded guilty to those charges.
The sentence is shorter than the eight to 12 years he had agreed to in February as part of a proposed plea.
Mlinar said the victims in the case and Boulton agreed to the tentative deal.
But then Boulton backed out of the agreement before it could be presented to Forchione, apparently against the advice of his then-attorneys Frederick Pitini and Eugene O'Byrne.
Mlinar indicated she would then seek a sentence of at least 20 years for Boulton when he decided to opt for a trial.
Forchione approved Pitini and O'Byrne withdrawing as Boulton's attorneys in March after they told the judge in a hearing that they "irreconcilable differences" with Boulton, according to court records. Schwartz replaced Pitini and O'Byrne in April and requested another delay in the trial. In a filing with Forchione in April, Schwartz wrote that he had yet to get the case files with a significant amount of information from Boulton's prior attorneys. And he asked for another postponement. Forchione extended the trial date to Aug 2 but he noted "no further continuances."