A federal grand jury in Colorado returned an indictment that was unsealed Tuesday charging an Illinois woman and a Georgia man with running a Ponzi scheme that raised approximately $650 million from investors across the country.
According to court documents, Reva Joyce Stachniw, 69, of Galesburg, Illinois, and Ron Throgmartin, 57, of Buford, Georgia, were charged with running a Ponzi scheme, along with a third co-conspirator, Mark Ray, from late 2017 until early 2019. Ray was previously charged by criminal information for his role in the Ponzi scheme in the Central District of Illinois in February 2020.
According to the indictment, Stachniw, Throgmartin, and other co-conspirators solicited hundreds of millions of dollars from victim-investors throughout the United States. Most often, the conspirators fraudulently represented to victim-investors that their investments were backed by short-term investments in cattle. They 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 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.
In all three variations of the conspirators’ investment fraud scheme, victim-investors were promised returns of approximately 10% to 20%…