Ohio Men Get Prison Time for Insurance Fraud

August 31, 2004

Cincinnati-area former insurance agent Greg Ballard and former securities salesman Paul Suchanek were sentenced in the Clermont County Court of Common Pleas to four and three years, respectively, in state prison for scheming elderly investors.

Greg M. Ballard and Paul Suchanek, who were also ordered at the hearing to pay restitution in the amount of $826,000 and $50,000, respectively, were indicted in August 2003 for defrauding investors of $875,000 in retirement savings over an 18-month period in a series of investment schemes. The Ohio Department of Commerce and the Clermont County Prosecutor’s Office assisted in the investigation, which was led by the Ohio Department of Insurance.

Ballard was a licensed insurance agent in Ohio and Kentucky. Suchanek was previously licensed to sell securities in both states. They were in business together in a company called Global Financial Strategies.

Beginning in 2001, Ballard and Suchanek allegedly sold promissory notes in an entity called the Xelon Group to elderly investors in southern Ohio and northern Kentucky. The notes were sold as investments in “reverse mergers.”

However, ODI said no evidence exists that the money was ever used for its stated purpose and no money was ever paid back to any investor.

At least seven investors, most of them retired or close to retirement, were told that their investments of more than $875,000 were “safe” and that the returns of 10 percent and 15 percent were “guaranteed.”

Ballard and Suchanek allegedly talked the investors into surrendering their fixed-rate annuities for the investment.

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