|Pig scam sticks man into pen|
|Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Staff Writer|
|Thursday, 20 June 2013 10:02|
The expression "when pigs fly" indicates a lack of probability of something happening. A proposed pig insemination farm never took off, either.
The only thing that flew was the money two investors entrusted to Jason E. Schwartz, of North Baltimore, in 2007.
Schwartz was sentenced to 180 days in the Wood County jail and ordered to pay $127,500 in restitution on Tuesday afternoon for bilking the "investors."
He was sentenced on two second-degree felony offenses of unlawful securities practices. His attorney characterized his client's business plan as "ill conceived."
One of the investors told the Sentinel-Tribune, Schwartz "burned through" the $120,000 of an initial investment in the proposed farm to be located in Bucyrus. The investor and a friend each invested $60,000 initially, while he later sunk another $20,000 into the failed operation.
The farm was to have been a livestock production facility where sows would be artificially inseminated to produce piglets for sale.
Schwartz, 39, received the investments between Oct. 1, 2007 and Aug. 1, 2008. He was indicted last August with two counts of unlawful securities practices, passing bad checks and aggravated theft. Through the plea agreement, Schwartz entered a no contest plea in March to the reduced second-degree offenses. Per the agreement, the latter two charges were dismissed at sentencing Tuesday.
When Wood County Common Pleas Judge Robert Pollex asked Schwartz to speak, the defendant told the court, "I will make the restitution and make it right with the victims and move on with my life. That's what I'd like to do."
Stephen D. Long, the defendant's attorney told the court, "His intention was to run a business. I honestly don't believe it was his intent to steal any money."
Long admitted his client did not fully inform the investors including facts about a previous bankruptcy and other pertinent information about "his business that went under."
He added, "His livestock purchases and plans for the farm were ill conceived."
Aaron Lindsay, an assistant Wood County prosecuting attorney, concurred and said such information should have been disclosed by Schwartz.
"He also improperly used much of the cash of the defendants," Lindsay said.
The victim characterized Schwartz' actions as "not forthcoming" and that he mismanaged the money for personal use.
"It sounded like a good plan," he said of the original business proposal. "Obviously, it was not my best moment."
The victim said both he and the other investor heard about the opportunity through a mutual friend.
"We both had some cash available and were looking for something other than investing in a money market fund," he said.
The judge ordered the restitution of $72,500 to that investor and $55,000 to the second victim.
Schwartz planned to pay $10,000 of the restitution on Tuesday.
Pollex also ordered Schwartz to serve three years of community control sanctions. Part of the conditions is to have no interest or involvement in any securities or financial investments and to pay the restitution at a minimum rate of $500 per month.
The judge reserved eight years in prison for him if he fails to follow his community control sanctions. Pollex also granted Schwartz a week's stay on beginning his jail term to allow him time to organize his personal affairs.
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