Jenison man pleads no contest in $1.5M Ponzi scheme

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LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — A Jenison man accused of running a $1.5 million Ponzi scheme mostly targeting senior citizens has pleaded no contest to two felony charges.

Scott Rookus pleaded no contest on Monday to one count of racketeering and one count of fraudulent sale of securities for running a million dollar Ponzi scheme between 2010 and 2015, according to a press release from Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Rookus allegedly bilked investors out of approximately $1.5 million through his company, New Haven Holdings.

Rookus told investors they would profit from his enterprises, but instead took their money to pay for his children’s private school and tax leins, according to Schuette’s office. To cover up the alleged crimes, Rookus paid older investors using money from newer investors.

The alleged scheme unraveled when Rookus filed for bankruptcy in March 2015 and his investors lost everything.

Rookus was originally charged with more than 30 crimes in the alleged Ponzi scheme. But as part of the plea, the remainder of his charges were “absorbed” into the racketeering charges, according to Schuette’s office.

“Many of this man’s victims were seniors on a fixed income,” said Schuette in a release. “Today’s plea brings us one step closer to finding relief for those who were affected by this illegal Ponzi scheme.”

Rookus is expected to be sentenced on Jan. 30. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

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