SOUTH BEND – Earl D. Miller, 40, of Goshen was charged with six counts of wire fraud, one count of securities fraud, and one count of bankruptcy fraud, according to U.S. Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch II in an announcement made Thursday, June 11.
According to documents in the case, it is alleged that Miller, a former real estate investor, began raising money for a new private investment firm named “5 Star Capital” in 2012. He began recruiting predominately novice investors, including members of the Amish community, for “investment opportunities” with 5 Star Capital, 5 Star Commercial and other real estate entities. Miller allegedly solicited funds to invest in “green energy-saving product that save the American consumer hundreds of dollars each year.”
It is alleged that from June 2014 to August 2015, Miller raised at least $4.3 million from aboutt 70 investors through lies. He falsely told investors he would not get paid anything for managing their funds when, in truth, he misappropriated over $1 million from 5 Star Commercial investors for his personal use including to pay off a former business partner.
Miller also did not own “green product” patents and performed virtually no due diligence into the purported “green” companies before placing his investors’ assets. In addition, to the wire fraud, Miller is charged securities fraud and bankruptcy fraud for omissions made during bankruptcy proceedings.
“Investment fraud schemes, like the one charged today, ensnare hundreds of victims each year across the United States,” said Kirsch. “This case is an excellent example of our law enforcement partners working together to seek justice on behalf of the defendant’s alleged victims. We will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute cases involving all types of investment frauds.”
“I am grateful to U.S. Attorney Kirsch and our law enforcement partners for their strong commitment to combating fraud and abuse in bankruptcy cases as evidenced by today’s proceedings,” stated Nancy J. Gargula, U.S. Trustee for Indiana, Central Illinois, and Southern Illinois (Region 10). The U.S. Trustee Program is the component of the Justice Department that protects the integrity of the bankruptcy system by overseeing case administration and litigating to enforce the bankruptcy laws. Region 10 is headquartered in Indianapolis, with additional offices in South Bend and Peoria, Ill. The charges resulted, in part, from a referral by the U.S. Trustee for Indiana and Central and Southern Illinois (Region 10) to the U.S. Attorney. Assistance with the investigation was provided by members of the Northern Indiana Bankruptcy Fraud Working Group coordinated by the U.S. Trustee.
If convicted, any specific sentence to be imposed will be determined by the judge after a consideration of federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Security Exchange Commission in collaboration with the Northern Indiana Bankruptcy Fraud Working Group coordinated by the U.S. Trustee.