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[SOS] Secretary of State investigation leads to arrest in real estate scam
Start Date: 3/18/2014 All Day
End Date: 3/18/2014
Entry Description

Porter man allegedly sold unlicensed investments for his personal gain  

INDIANAPOLIS (March 18, 2014) — An investigation by Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson’s Prosecution Assistance Unit led to the filing of criminal charges by Porter County Prosecutor Brian Gensel against Don Johnson of Porter.  He was arrested this weekend for allegedly selling unregistered investments in real estate development.

“Real estate schemes are some of the most common forms of investment fraud that come across my desk,” said Secretary of State Connie Lawson. “I hope this case serves as a reminder to check with my office to ensure the investment is registered before investing.

“I would also like to thank Prosecutor Gensel for his work. This arrest would not be possible without him.”

The Secretary of State’s office began investigating after receiving a complaint about an investment made with Don Johnson. Upon further review, investigators uncovered at least six investors who allege Johnson solicited money for real estate development and promised high interest returns. In this case, investors typically rolled over IRA accounts to Johnson’s company Private Lending, LLC and received promissory notes showing the guaranteed interest rate return. Investors began to complain when interest payments stopped. Many requested their money back, but Johnson allegedly told investors it’s unavailable.

Instead of using the money as promised to his clients, Johnson allegedly used the money for his personal gain. In some cases, investors were unaware their money was missing because they continued to receive statements showing the money was in their accounts and they continued to receive bills for custodial fees. Some investors received interest payments as promised from Johnson for a period of time.

Prosecutor Gensel filed charges focused on Johnson’s deceit of six investors, but investigators believe there may be other victims in the Porter County area.

This is still an ongoing investigation. The counts described are allegations. Johnson is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Contact Information:
Name: Valerie Kroeger
Phone: 317-233-8655
Email: vkroeger@sos.in.gov
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