SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — We have an update in the Global Aquaponics case that KELOLAND Investigates spent a year working on, exposing fraud in 2017: Some of the victims of the scam may get a little money back.
Global Aquaponics, started by Tobias Ritesman, promised to build a hydroponic vegetable and fish farm on 10 acres of land outside of Brookings. They even broke ground, but never built anything and kept investors’ money.
Ritesman is currently in federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, serving a nine-year sentence. He’s also been ordered to pay $680,000 in restitution to investors.
The court has now approved a sale of the land back to its original owners, Real Estate Agents Todd Voss and David Kneip.
Ritesman had originally promised to pay them $200,000 for the land but never did. In a strange twist to the story, former Board of Regents President and Lobbyist Dean Krogman traded in a twin home he owned, valued at $174,700, for the land, which he then gave to Global Aquaponics.
Kneip and Voss tell KELOLAND Investigates that they had to put money into the twin home in order to sell it. They’re still getting the 10 acres back for less than half of the original sale price. The court has agreed to an $80,000 purchase price.
Ritesman won’t see a dime. After real estate fees and taxes, the remainder of the money will go to Ritesman’s victims.