SOUTH BEND — Earl D. Miller, 40, of Goshen, has been charged by way of an indictment with six counts of wire fraud, one count of securities fraud and one count of bankruptcy fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Thomas Kirsch.
According to documents in this case, it is alleged that Miller, a former real estate investor, began raising money for a new private investment firm named “5 Star Capital” in 2012. He began recruiting predominately novice investors, including members of the Amish community, for “investment opportunities” with 5 Star Capital, 5 Star Commercial and other real estate entities, the indictment reads.
Miller allegedly solicited funds to invest in “green energy saving products that save the American consumer hundreds of dollars each year.” It is alleged that from June 2014 to August 2015, Miller raised at least $4.3 million from at least 70 investors, according to investigators.
The indictment alleges Miller falsely told investors he would not get paid anything for managing their funds when, in truth, he misappropriated more than $1 million from 5 Star Commercial investors for his personal use, including to pay off a former business partner. Miller also did not own “green product” patents and performed virtually no due diligence into the purported “green” companies before placing his investors’ assets, the indictment reads.
In addition to the wire fraud, Miller is charged with securities fraud and bankruptcy fraud for omissions made during bankruptcy proceedings.
“Investment fraud schemes, like the one charged today, ensnare hundreds of victims each year across the United States,” Kirsch said.
The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Security Exchange Commission in collaboration with the Northern Indiana Bankruptcy Fraud Working Group coordinated by the U.S. Trustee, the news release states. The case is being prosecuted by assistant U.S. Attorneys John Maciejczyk and Jerome McKeever.