A multiple-count fraud indictment was returned Tuesday in Spokane against eight business people accused of fleecing 100 Northwest investors out of $3 million.
The money, solicited over five years, was supposed to go to companies marketing tapes of amateur musicians, home security devices and VCR and TV repair.
But most of the money was used for personal expenses, royalty payments or to pay disgruntled investors from other investment schemes, the indictment alleges.
The defendants are charged with 31 counts of mail fraud, six counts of wire fraud and 10 counts of transportation of money obtained by fraud.
Five of those indicted are Washington residents, and three are from Oregon.
They include Jimmy J. Jensen, 53, Theresa Ramirez, 45, and Darcia M. Waples, 50, all of Spokane; Clifford A. Tadema, 42, of Vancouver, Wash.; and Steven J. Reimer, 40, of Brush Prairie, Wash.
Also charged were Machlin E. Soderquist, age unavailable, and Marvin G. Pursinger, 74, both of Portland; and Mark A. Ritacco, 36, of Lake Oswego, Ore.
The defendants are expected to voluntarily surrender for initial court appearances before a federal magistrate in Spokane. Those court dates haven’t been scheduled, but likely will be after Jan. 1.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Wilson said the grand jury indictment was returned after a lengthy investigation by agents of the Washington State Securities Division.
The 100 investors are from Washington, Idaho and Oregon but aren’t identified in the 22-page indictment.
They invested in nine businesses affiliated with the defendants between 1992 and last January.
The indictment identifies the businesses as JJJ Electronics Repair Technology Inc., JJJ Electronics, Universal Safety Alarm Co., Alert Products Inc., Continental Investments Services Inc., Churchill Companies Inc., Immcon, Brendon Marshall Inc., and Safetech World Security Inc.
The indictment accuses the defendants of making false representations and omitting material facts when they solicited individuals to invest in various products and companies.
The indictment says the late Lloyd Pankey, of Spokane, who was president of Continental Investments and Immcon, solicited investors for the defendants and their companies. Pankey is named as an unindicted coparticipant.
He was named in a civil suit filed in 1994 by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. That suit accused him of raising $580,000 for a firm that was supposed to market cassette tapes produced by amateur musicians.
However, the company, Brendon Marshall, never produced any tapes and ceased operations after Pankey stopped selling promissory notes issued by the firm.
Pankey died in a July 19, 1996, onecar rollover accident near Nordman, Idaho.
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