Global Aquaponics Defendants’ Trial Delayed


The trials of two men charged with scheming to defraud investors following a KELOLAND News investigation were originally scheduled to get underway on Tuesday. 

Tobias Ritesman and Timothy Burns are accused of promising to build a fish farm called Global Aquaponics in Brookings and taking money from investors for their own personal use.

Now the two men have been granted more time to prepare for trial and maybe even work out a plea bargain with federal prosecutors.

KELOLAND Investigates followed the Global Aquaponics case for more than a year. We attended the groundbreaking and then checked back on the project month after month to discover that nothing was being built.

According to court papers, Ritesman and Burns had not purchased the land like they told investors. 
Nearly a year after the groundbreaking, KELOLAND Investigates discovered that former Board of Regents president and state legislator Dean Krogman stepped in and traded a twin home he owned for the land. 

Court papers say the Global Aquaponics claimed to investors it had nearly $6 million on hand when it did not. 

Ritesman and Burns are also accused of telling investors they had purchased equipment for the operation when they had not and falsely stating they had not and that they had obtained a $3.7 million bond for the facility,

Burns and Ritesman are accused of taking nearly $300,000 from investors and using it for their own benefit.  If found guilty of all 18 counts, they could get 20 years in prison for each one.

Their trials have been pushed back to April 23.

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