Monday Tobias Ritesman was sentenced to nine years in prison for bilking money from investors. Ritesman must also pay back nearly $700,000.
According to federal court papers, he’d been ignoring court orders and contacting one of his victims from the Global Aquaponics scheme, asking for even more money.
Ritesman plead guilty to 18 federal fraud charges in April. Last month, Ritesman was put back in prison, accused of violating the conditions of this bond.
Our year-long KELOLAND Investigation, beginning in 2016, revealed that the proposed fish and vegetable farm near Brookings, was nothing but lie after lie—from Ritesman’s and other company officials’ backgrounds—to the money on hand– to even owning the land for the facility, which was never built.
Federal investigators found that Ritesman and Burns received more than $1 million in investments in the project from 34 investors. Bank records showed that the money from investors was deposited into four different accounts. Ritesman and Burns were each stealing investor money and using it for their own purposes.
A jury found Burns guilty of the crimes in April. He is scheduled to be sentenced next Monday.