Ohio Judge Sentences Insurance Agent in Investment Scheme

April 21, 2008

An insurance agent was sentenced to 20 years in prison Friday for what prosecutors say was an investment scheme involving more than 200 victims in 12 states who have claimed up to $25 million in total losses.

Jerry Rose, 48, of Hamilton, Ohio pleaded guilty in July to charges of forgery, perjury and the sale of unregistered securities.

Butler County Judge Noah Powers gave Rose the maximum sentence possible and ordered him to repay $17.7 million to victims. A court-appointed receiver has so far collected about $6.9 million in assets to help repay victims. Officials estimate that victims may only get back about 25 cents on the dollars after Rose’s assets are sold and related expenses are paid.

Many of the victims who cashed in retirement funds and turned over pensions and savings to Rose to invest attended the emotional three-day sentencing hearing.

Rose owned an insurance business in Fairfield that served as a conduit to supply investors for his scheme, authorities said.

He promised investors high returns and did invest some of the money, but much of it disappeared in a Ponzi-type scheme, according to prosecutors. In that type of scheme, new investors’ money is used to feed payments to old investors and pay the person running the scheme.

Prosecutors said Rose’s admitted crimes spanned seven years starting in 2000.

A message seeking comment was left Friday at the Hamilton office of Rose’s attorney, Michael Gmoser.

Authorities have said they are still concerned about money they haven’t been able to trace, including $3 million that disappeared shortly before Rose entered his guilty pleas.

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