Secretary of State’s Prosecution Assistance Unit teams with Marion County Prosecutor’s office to build successful case against agent who helped steal millions from cemetery trust fund
INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 19, 2011) – A Marion County judge today ordered former financial agent Mark Singer to three years behind bars for his part in defrauding investors of an Indiana cemetery trust fund of more than $23 million.
Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White credited the successful conclusion of the case to the collaboration between the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office and the Prosecution Assistance Unit (PAU) – a team in the Indiana Securities Division comprised of legal and criminal experts with more than 70 years of experience.
“This is a perfect example of teamwork and efficiency between government agencies for the benefit of Hoosiers,” White said. “It is because of the hard work between the PAU and the prosecutor’s office that justice was served, and Hoosier investors can rest assured this type of partnership will continue to protect them against deceptive financial agents like Singer.”
Singer was found guilty of five counts of felony theft in connection with Robert Nelms, who is serving up to 10 years for securities fraud offenses involving the same $23 million cemetery trust fund scheme.
Nelms was the owner and president of Memory Gardens Management Corporation, an Indiana corporation that owned and operated cemetery property and funeral homes. In Indiana, the owner of a private cemetery is required by law to provide for the creation and establishment of an irrevocable perpetual care fund. The fund is designed for the purpose of permanently maintaining cemeteries for the benefit of the community and those who purchase lots there.
For his part in the investment scheme, Singer took the money and placed it in accounts through his former employer – CitiGroup Global Markets, an arm of CitiGroup.
Singer immediately will begin serving a three-year prison term. He also was ordered to serve two years in work release and three years probation, as well as paying court costs. A restitution amount to the victims has not been determined.
Singer also faces a March trial in Tennessee for theft and securities violations.
About the Prosecution Assistance Unit
Created in 2004, the sole purpose of the unit is to assist police and prosecutors in investigating and prosecuting criminal violations of the Indiana Securities Act and the Indiana Loan Brokers Act. The investigators and attorneys in the unit collectively have more than 72 years of experience investigating and prosecuting criminals.
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