Wisconsin Northwood Brothers Charged With Fraud


Two Northwoods brothers who co-own Eliason Inc. in St. Germain are facing 10 felony counts of securities fraud after failing to disclose the conditions their business was in.

31 investors were defrauded out of at least $3 million total in the scheme, many of which were described as being both friends and family members of the brothers.

More from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

The charges involve sales of securities in Eliason Combination Fund. The investment, known as a tenancy-in-common, or TIC, calls for the company to borrow money from lenders to finance purchases of real estate, which is then syndicated — or sold in pieces — to investors.

“Despite the complexity and size of the multimillion-dollar deals, Eliason (Inc.) was much like so many ‘house-flipping’ businesses that operated during the housing bubble, made possible by the availability of easy credit and exuberant real estate investors,” Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Amber Hahn wrote in the 22-page complaint filed in Vilas County last month.

Unlike many criminal complaints filed in fraud schemes, this one does not charge the brothers with running a Ponzi scheme or selling securities in a nonexistent entity. Rather, the complaint charges that the brothers failed to tell investors “material facts” about the company and the investment. For example, the criminal complaint charges that Eliason Inc. did not tell investors that it had to restate its financial results in 2009. The restated financials showed an $8 million loss in 2006 and an $18 million loss the following year.

The complaint also notes that while the Eliasons told investors that the company cut expenses and personnel because of the “current financial recession,” the criminal complaint charges that they failed to disclose that “Eliason Inc. did not have the funds to continue covering operational expenses beyond 2009 despite the “cut backs.'”

The lawyer of the brothers criticized the charges, claiming that many of the investors did not consider themselves victims to a crime.


Photo by catd_mitchell via Flickr CC License

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