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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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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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