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State accuses man of Ponzi scheme
An Ottawa County man faces more than 30 charges for allegedly running a Ponzi scheme between 2010 and 2015.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed the charges yesterday against Scott Rookus of Jenison.
Rookus was arraigned on June 7 in Ottawa County Circuit Court before Judge Kenneth Post. He was released on $10,000 cash/surety bond.
Between 2010 and 2013, Rookus allegedly solicited and obtained investments of about $1.5 million for his holdings company, New Haven Holdings.
His customers, many senior citizens, were allegedly told that earnings from their investments would come from the profits of Rookus’ enterprises, when the money he took resulted in an alleged Ponzi scheme, with him as the primary beneficiary.
Rookus allegedly used money from newer investors to issue fraudulent returns to some investors to cover his tracks.
He allegedly used the investor funds to pay personal expenses, such as his children’s private school education and to pay of tax liens against him.
The alleged scheme was uncovered after Rookus filed for personal bankruptcy in March 2015 and his investors found out that they had lost everything they invested.
“The crime this man allegedly committed destroyed the savings of many who are on a fixed income,” Schuette said.
Schuette said he hopes the case will provide some “relief and repayment” for those affected.
Rookus has been charged with the following crimes:
- One count of conducting a continuing criminal enterprise: a 20-year felony
- One count of embezzlement of $20,000 or more but less than $50,000: a 10-year felony
- Two counts of embezzlement of $50,000 or more but less than $100,000: a 10-year felony
- Five counts of embezzlement of $100,000 or more: a 20-year felony
- Seven counts of obtaining money by false pretenses, more than $20,000: a 10-year felony
- One count of obtaining money by false pretenses, more than $100,000: a 20-year felony
- Eight counts of larceny by conversion of $20,000 or more: a 10-year felony
- Eight counts of fraudulent sales of securities: a 10-year felony