Prosecutors recommend probation in case of alleged $800K Ponzi scheme
By Mary Pieper, Mason City Globe Gazette
Prosecutors are recommending a suspended sentence and probation for a Lake Mills man accused of bilking investors for four years.
Randall Finer, 54, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of felony second-degree theft by deception. He will be sentenced at 9:30 a.m. July 31 in Winnebago County District Court.
The maximum sentence for second-degree theft by deception is five years in prison and a $7,500 fine.
As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors are recommending a suspended five-year sentence and probation for Finer, court documents say, unless investigators recommend a deferred judgment.
He has agreed to pay $10,000 toward his restitution and other financial obligations related to the case at the time he is sentenced. Previously, he had been ordered to pay civil restitution to some of his investors.
In May 2015, the Iowa Insurance Commission ordered him to pay $614,272 in restitution, plus interest, for offering and issuing unregistered securities.
Finer was arrested in February 2017 on one count of felony ongoing criminal conduct. If he were convicted on that charge, he would have faced up to 25 years in prison.
During a hearing on Friday, Finer admitted to obtaining more than $100,000 by misleading others about the existence of investment returns on borrowed money.
From 2011 to 2015, he is accused of soliciting more than $800,000 from community members for investment purposes.
He made payments to investors and portrayed that money as interest from well-performing stocks when, actually, the investments were losing money, according to the Winnebago County Attorney’s Office.
Finer is accused of diverting 52 percent of the money into his own accounts for living expenses.
The Iowa Insurance Commission also ordered Finer to stop selling securities and banned him from offering investments in Iowa.