Rokita helps Hoosiers fight fraud
Contact: Allison Fore
By Todd Rokita, Indiana Secretary of State
Earlier this month, Thomas and Marietta Squibb of Mishawaka received federal prison sentences in an investment scheme that robbed nearly 200 investors of approximately $11.5 million dollars. While this case may not grab nationwide headlines, I think it’s important that Hoosiers know how the state is working to protect them from other thieves that may consider engaging in similar behavior. The Secretary of State's Prosecution Assistance Unit (PAU) first received a complaint against the Squibbs in January 2006 and began its investigation at that time. Our investigators allotted over 1,000 hours questioning and analyzing the couple’s business dealings. As a result of the collaboration between my office, the FBI, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana at the time of filing Joseph Van Bokkelen, as well as the current U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana David Capp, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jesse M. Barret, Thomas Squibb received 17 1/2 years and his wife Marietta Squibb was sentenced to eight years in prison for their involvement with mail and wire fraud schemes.
For over ten years, the Squibbs conspired to solicit investments promising to develop campgrounds in Michigan and condominiums in Florida. The monies that the couple collected were never invested in any projects as they had promised their investors.
The Squibbs represent some of the worst elements of white-collar crime there is; they were likable people who gained the trust of supposed friends and business partners.
The Squibbs’ case is exactly the type of situation for which I created the PAU in 2004. The idea was to advance criminal investigations and to facilitate the prosecution of alleged Securities Act and Loan Broker Act violations. The PAU’s focus is to assist prosecutors by working together at the courthouse and the statehouse to root out white-collar crime. I am proud to say we have helped to file charges in 26 high-profile investment fraud cases in Indiana. We have a 19 to 1 conviction-to-dismissal record with over 200 years of jail time sentenced to date.
The cooperation between the PAU, the U.S. Attorney's Office, and the FBI made it possible to hold the Squibbs accountable for their crimes, as well as protect the integrity of commerce in Indiana. I hope that news of these sentences helps to protect investors from such fraudulent schemes by making them more aware that these schemes exist while warning potential con artists of the consequences.
Unfortunately, this is not the last time we will hear of someone trying to steal hard earned dollars from their fellow citizens. But with two less culprits on the street and the continued work of the PAU, I am confident we are taking the necessary steps to safeguard Hoosiers against fraud. I encourage you to report suspicious activity and to research Indiana brokers by calling my office at 800-223-8791 or by visiting www.sos.IN.gov.
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