GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - The owner of a well-known breakfast restaurant chain has been charged in connection with a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme.
Doug Kacos, the owner of the New Beginnings restaurant chain in the Grand Rapids area, has been charged with money laundering in connection to the scheme run by Jeff Ripley.
Another man, Tom Doctor, was also charged with money laundering Tuesday.
Authorities say the scheme netted about $9 million and victimized around 140 people. Ripley is serving a prison sentence for his admitted role as the mastermind of the con.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette's office on Tuesday confirmed the charges against Kacos and Doctor.
"Both men are accused of recruiting investors and wiring large sums of money overseas allegedly to avoid detection and tracking," Joy Yearout, a spokesperson for Schuette, said in an email to 24 Hour News 8.
On documentation filed with the state, Kacos was listed as the "Resident Agent" of the company API Worldwide Holdings, LLC, which was behind the multi-year scheme. But Kacos told 24 Hour News 8 that he allowed his name to be used by Ripley, hoping it would help to recoup some of the thousands of dollars he had invested.
Kacos said he did not recruit victims.
"I never was involved with any of that," Kacos said in a Tuesday evening phone interview. "I just had my name on the LLC, and that was pretty much it."
Kacos says Doctor was also a victim. Kacos plans to plead not guilty, he said.
"[Ripley] kind of gave us all a black eye," Kacos said.
Asked if the charges might impact the New Beginnings restaurant chain, Kacos said, "I hope not."
The Michigan House has put off voting on legislation to hold back third-graders who aren't proficient in reading and grade public schools from A to F instead of colors.
Kent County prosecutors say they are charging a man with the sexual assault of a 77-year-old woman in her southeast Grand Rapids home.
Kent County sheriff’s investigators say what was initially believed to be an armed robbery at a Subway restaurant in Alpine Township Tuesday was actually staged.