A 57-year-old Wheaton man and a 71-year-old Waukegan man have been indicted in a home construction sceme that allegedly bilked investors out of more than $800,000, DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin announced Friday.
According to a press release, a DuPage County Grand Jury returned indictments on Ronald Moore, 57, of the 900 block of Elm Street in Wheaton and Richard Osty, 71, Thursday, Apr. 26.
Osty was taken into custody Friday morning and is scheduled to appear in Bond Court Saturday, Apr. 28. There is currently a $250,000 arrest warrant out for Moore, according to the release.
A DuPage County Grand Jury returned a 122-count indictment against Osty, alleging that he developed a scheme that called for Moore to locate individuals willing to put down funds, usually in the amount of $1,500, that would place them on a chronological waiting list that, once their name was called, would allow them to obtain a construction loan for a modular “green home” in their own name. Once the loan was obtained, Osty claimed he would provide a plot of land for the home for $1 under a program run by the city of Chicago, according to the release.
Moore faces 18 counts of Securities Fraud, a Class 4 Felony, for allegedly selling securities associated with the scheme without being registered.
According to the release, Osty claimed he would also be able to find a buyer for the home, once completed, through one of two organizations he was working with that counsel and assist prospective home buyers. For their investment, Osty allegedly told investors they would make a 10.25 percent profit. An investigation conducted by the Illinois Secretary of State Securities Division and the Wheaton Police Department revealed that Osty did not take any of the necessary steps to obtain any $1 plots from the city of Chicago and he did not have any agreements with any organization to provide buyers for the completed homes.
Further, Osty did not have any contracts in place regarding the modular “green homes." Osty faces one count of Theft Over $500,000, a Class 1 Felony, one count of Theft Over $100,000, a Class 1 Felony, eleven counts of Theft Over $10,000, a Class 2 Felony, sixty-eight counts of Theft Over $500, a Class 3 Felony and forty-one counts of Securities Fraud, a Class 4 Felony.
“White collar crime claims billions of dollars a year from its victims,” Berlin said in a statement Friday. “Because financial crimes, such as what is alleged in this case, can be complex and may involve a high level of trust between the victim and the offender, the victims often times do not realize they have been scammed until it’s too late."
Members of the public are reminded that these complaints contain only charges and are not proof of the defendants’ guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial in which it is the government’s burden to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.