Home Cleveland Press Releases 2010 Mentor Man Charged with Securities Fraud and Filing a False Tax Return

Mentor Man Charged with Securities Fraud and Filing a False Tax Return

U.S. Attorney’s Office December 20, 2010
  • Northern District of Ohio (216) 622-3600

A criminal information was filed charging Ronald J. Olear, age 57, with one count of securities fraud and three counts of filing a false tax return, Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, announced today.

Olear, a resident of Mentor, Ohio, is accused of defrauding approximately 30 investors of approximately $339,000 by purporting to sell either shares of stock or warrants for shares of stock.

Olear is also accused of failing to report the income from this scheme on his income tax forms for calendar years 2005, 2006 and 2007.

“This defendant took advantage of the trust that was placed in him by his employer and used it to enrich himself,” Dettelbach said. “This office will continue to aggressively prosecute those who would undermine the faith we have in our financial systems through schemes, deceit and outright theft.”

Athersys, Inc. (“Company”) moved into its facility in Cleveland, Ohio in approximately January 2003 and the company hired Olear as its building coordinator, according to the information. Olear had been employed as the building coordinator for the previous occupant of the facility. Olear’s job duties and responsibilities as the Company’s building coordinator included building maintenance, grounds security maintenance, and overseeing the company’s shipping and receiving department.

The information alleges further that from February 2003 through January 2009, Olear promoted and sold securities to family, friends and acquaintances by falsely representing to them that he owned or controlled shares of company stock.

Olear’s scheme originally involved “selling” shares of company stock. In or around 2006, Olear revised the nature of his scheme and, without authorization or approval, removed stock certificates from a shredding receptacle that was stored in a secure area of the company’s facility and altered the stock certificates to represent his purported ownership of approximately 80,000 shares of company stock, according to the information.

In or around 2006 through in or around January 2009, Olear presented the fraudulent certificates to investors and falsely represented that they demonstrated his ownership of company stock. The defendant also falsely represented that he was permitted to sell warrants for these shares of company stock, according to the information.

The information alleges further that Olear converted investor money for his own purposes, including to: (a) make Ponzi-type payments to previous investors, (b) pay the expenses necessary to continue his scheme, and (c) to finance a house valued at approximately $600,000.

With respect to the tax counts, the information alleges that Olear knowingly submitted false U.S. Individual Tax Returns for the 2005, 2006 and 2007 calendar years in that Olear understated the amount of his total income for those years by approximately $276,500.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Bridget M. Brennan after an investigation by the Cleveland Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Cleveland Office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division.

This prosecution is brought in connection with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.

President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.

If convicted, Olear’s sentence will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including his prior criminal record, if any, his role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

An information is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.