US (SD): Global Aquaponics leaders indicted

Global Aquaponics executives Tobias Ritesman and Timothy Burns have each been indicted by a federal grand jury on 18 counts of mail and wire fraud.

If convicted, each count is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Federal prosecutors say Ritesman and Burns misled potential investors about the viability of Global Aquaponics. An indictment says investors were told that a nearly $11 million high-tech farm would be built in Brookings to grow fish and shrimp. The water from the fish tanks would be used to grow vegetables.

Global Aquaponics held a groundbreaking for the project in June 2016 on land it didn’t yet own. Lobbyist and former state legislator Dean Krogman later stepped in and traded a twin home he owned for the land and transferred it to Global Aquaponics for $1.

Local investors purchased ownership units of the project for $25,000 apiece, but nothing ever happened at the farm site, and investors weren’t getting answers to their questions. Investors had been told the farm would be operational by spring 2017.

Read more at The Brookings Register

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