Two Convicted in Ponzi Scheme Involving Cattle and Cannabis

Two people were convicted in a cannabis-and-cattle Ponzi scheme last week on charges including conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and five counts of wire fraud; they are facing multiple decades in prison for the $650 million scam.

Full story after the jump.

Two people accused of running a $650 million Ponzi- like scheme involving cattle farms and cannabis have been convicted on a variety of charges, according to a report from Drovers, a beef industry trade magazine.

The pair — Reva J. Stachniw, 70, of Galesburg, Illinois, and Ron Throgmartin, 58, of Buford, Georgia — was convicted last week by a federal grand jury on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, five counts of actual wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Court documents outlined by Drovers said the pair ran the scheme from 2017 to 2019 and that the victims were roped into the scheme with promises that their money was backed up by short-term investments in cattle. Victims were also solicited to invest in a fraudulent Colorado dispensary, Universal Herbs LLC. Prosecutors say the defendants made millions from the theft but used very little of their own money.   

“Other victim-investors gave the conspirators money based on false promises that investment money would be used for legitimate business activities related to cattle or marijuana, without having the investment money linked to specific investment opportunities.” — Federal prosecutors, via the Gwinnett Daily Post

Defrauded investors were promised returns of up to 10% to 20% in a matter of weeks. At no point were victim-investors told their money was being used to pay back other investors in the Ponzi scheme, the report says. 

The pair faces up to 20 years for each wire fraud case and 10 years for the money laundering charge. Their sentencing is expected on January 6, 2023.

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