by Hunter Dublin | September 8, 2022
Drovers, a beef industry trade publication, reported that two persons suspected of orchestrating a $650 million Ponzi scam involving cattle ranches and cannabis have been convicted on several offenses.
A federal grand jury convicted Reva J. Stachniw, 70, of Galesburg, Illinois, and Ron Throgmartin, 58, of Buford, Georgia, last week on one count of conspiracy to conduct wire fraud, five counts of actual wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
According to court records provided by Drovers, the couple operated the fraud from 2017 to 2019. The victims were lured in with claims that their money would be backed up by short-term cattle investments. Victims were also encouraged to invest in a bogus Colorado dispensary, Universal Herbs LLC, according to prosecutors. The defendants allegedly profited millions from the crime but utilized very little of their own money.
Duped investors were promised profits of up to 10% to 20% in a couple of weeks. Based on the investigation, victim-investors were never informed that their funds were being utilized to repay other Ponzi scheme participants.
The couple faces up to 20 years in prison for each wire fraud conviction and ten years for money laundering. Their sentencing date is set for January 6, 2023.