Columbus-area businessman faces federal fraud charges

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A Columbus-area businessman is facing multiple federal charges that he defrauded banks, credit unions and investors of more than $10 million.

Todd Van Natta, who operated businesses in Columbus and Seymour, was charged by federal indictment last week with 10 counts of bank fraud and three counts of wire fraud, according to U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Joseph Hogsett.

Van Natta, president and manager of Seymour-based Van Natta Asset Management LLC and several related companies, is accused of devising a scheme to defraud financial institutions to obtain large sums of money under false pretenses. According to a statement from Hogsett, loans occurring between March 2007 and 2009  exceeded $10 million.

The indictment accuses Van Natta of preparing and submitting false documents, including phony income tax returns, to obtain loans from banks and credit unions in Bartholomew, Decatur, Monroe, Morgan and Washington counties.

The loans included $3.8 million for an 83-room River House hotel in Evansville. Less than four years after the loan, the hotel sold for $475,000 at a sheriff’s sale after foreclosure, according to the Evansville Courier & Press.

Hogsett said other loans involving Van Natta’s businesses included $2.1 million for properties in Seymour and $3.1 million for properties in Fort Wayne. Van Natta also received a $100,000 loan to buy a 1970 Cessna aircraft and a loan for $550,000 for a 2007 fantasy yacht.

Van Natta also is accused of defrauding a Utah investor of thousands of dollars, ostensibly for the purchase and upgrade of an aircraft Van Natta listed for sale. Hogsett’s office said Van Natta never owned the plane.  

If convicted, Van Natta faces up to 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count of bank fraud and up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count of wire fraud.

Hogsett’s statement said prosecutors will seek to recover assets if Van Natta is convicted. The charges resulted from an investigation that included the FBI and Internal Revenue Service.  



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