Local News

Global Aquaponics Executive Charged With Grand Theft

KELOLAND Investigates has an update on a story we've been following for over a year now concerning Global Aquaponics.  

One of its executives in the alleged scheme is facing new charges for allegedly writing bad checks. 

Tim Burns of Brookings is now charged with two counts of grand theft. 

He's accused of writing a $15,000 check in December to Pizza Ranch owner Kip Pharis that bounced.   He's also accused of writing another check for $7,500 to Pharis in April of this year that also bounced. 

Burns is already facing federal charges on 18 counts of mail and wire fraud for his alleged role in the Global Aquaponics scheme where he and Tobias Ritesman allegedly defrauded investors in a high-tech fish farm. 

They touted a multi-million dollar food factory that would employ dozens of people and produce millions of pounds of seafood and produce.

However as KELOLAND investigates has shown you, very little progress has been made at the site since the ceremonial groundbreaking. 

Burns is a longtime developer in Brookings and was the chief operations officer of Global Aquaponics. He and Ritesman are scheduled to go to trial on their federal charges in September. 

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