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Failure to register in Indiana opens door for state charges against Ponzi scheme mastermind

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A split Indiana Court of Appeals ruled a man at the center of an alleged Ponzi scheme that defrauded nearly 72 victims in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana will have to face state charges even though he pleaded guilty to a federal indictment.

The Court of Appeals issued its rulings in a pair of cases from two different counties that involved the same defendant and the same crime.

In Jerry A. Smith v. State of Indiana, 24A01-1210-CR-469, from Franklin Circuit Court, and Jerry A. Smith v. State of Indiana, 15A05-1208-CR-411, from Dearborn Superior Court, the Court of Appeals affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded.

While the appellate judges threw out a number of state charges because they constituted a double-jeopardy violation with the federal plea, the COA held that other state charges specific to Indiana statute could stand.

Judge Nancy Vaidik dissented with the majority’s decision, arguing it violates double jeopardy. She wrote the “hypothetical reasoning” of the majority ignores the directive of previous decisions. Specifically, she pointed to State v. Allen, 646 N.E.2d 965, 968 (Ind. Ct. App. 1995) which held that a conviction in any other jurisdiction barred a later prosecution in Indiana for the same conduct.

Smith along with Jasen Snelling are alleged to have run a Ponzi scheme from CityFund Advisory and Dunhill Investment Advisors Ltd. The pair told victims they were involved in day trading, were licensed to sell securities and could garner an unusually high returns on investment.

However, according to the federal indictment, they were not licensed to sell securities nor were the firms licensed brokerages. Smith and Snelling never invested their clients’ money but rather used the funds to enrich themselves.

Together, victims of this investment scheme lost more than $8.9 million.

On June 12, 2012, Smith pleaded guilty to federal charges, acknowledging the ploy.

Franklin and Dearborn counties filed their own charges against Smith related to the financial fraud. Smith filed a motion to dismiss all state charges, asserting they were barred by double-jeopardy principles.

In throwing out several state charges, the Court of Appeals agreed with Smith that they arose from the same conduct that was included on Smith’s federal conviction. But the few charges related to Smith not being a registered broker-dealer with the Indiana Secretary of State were related to separate conduct.

“There is not overlap between the failing to register counts in this proceeding and Smith’s federal conviction,” Judge James Kirsch wrote for the majority. “On the one hand, had Smith been registered as a broker-dealer, he would still have faced the federal prosecution for his fraudulent acts. On the other, had Smith sold legitimate securities, he would have still have faced prosecution in this proceeding for his failure to register as a broker-dealer.”
 

 

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  • BS
    When a panel of judges reach different conclusions there can be no conclusion. If there are 7 judges and 4 say yea an 3 say nay, is it yea because 1 more said yea than said nay? Nay I say, it is what it is, is the COA voting on what to have for lunch or deciding justice>

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  1. On a related note, I offered the ICLU my cases against the BLE repeatedly, and sought their amici aid repeatedly as well. Crickets. Usually not even a response. I am guessing they do not do allegations of anti-Christian bias? No matter how glaring? I have posted on other links the amicus brief that did get filed (search this ezine, e.g., Kansas attorney), read the Thomas More Society brief to note what the ACLU ran from like vampires from garlic. An Examiner pledged to advance diversity and inclusion came right out on the record and demanded that I choose Man's law or God's law. I wonder, had I been asked to swear off Allah ... what result then, ICLU? Had I been found of bad character and fitness for advocating sexual deviance, what result then ICLU? Had I been lifetime banned for posting left of center statements denigrating the US Constitution, what result ICLU? Hey, we all know don't we? Rather Biased.

  2. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

  3. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  4. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  5. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

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