SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — A federal grand jury in Salt Lake City has indicted seven individuals, including multiple Utahns and the president of Noah’s Event Centers, on a national scheme to defraud investors of more than $30 million, according to the Dept. of Justice.
The following individuals have been indicted in the scheme, which reportedly took place from January 2015 through May 2019: William J. Bowser, 60, of Hendersonville, North Carolina; Christopher J. Ashby, 49, of Salt Lake County, Utah; Scott W. Beynon, 46, of Davis County, Utah; Jordan S. Nelson, 42, of Salt Lake County, Utah; Scott L. Rutherford, 51, of Utah County, Utah; John D. Hamrick, 64, of Franconia, New Hampshire and the Vice President and Director of Edmund and Wheeler Inc., which is also named as a defendant in the indictment.
Officials said the fraud scheme targeted mostly retired and elderly victims. These victims were defrauded of more than $30 million after being convinced to invest in Noah Event Centers, according to the DOJ.
The indictment alleges that Noah Event Centers were an unprofitable enterprise, kept afloat only through new investor funds. Moreover, the accused individuals did not used the funds as promised in their marketing materials, purchase agreements, and related representations.
Instead, they diverted the funds, which were intended to be used for the development and construction of new event centers. These funds were diverted to pay large commissions, Noah’s operations, prior investors, construction costs of other event centers, and rents on previously sold Noah Event Centers, according to the DOJ.
“As part of their alleged scheme, the defendants used the internet, telephone, email, and other means to promote, offer and sell fractional Tenant-in-Common interests in five Noah Event Centers through the use of a network of financial planners, 1031 exchange specialists, real estate brokers and other salespeople, using glossy marketing materials showing pictures of beautifully constructed buildings and promising impressive long-term financial returns,” a release states.
The DOJ said that Bowser and his conspirators are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud. They are scheduled for their initial court appearance on Sept. 14, 2023, at the Orrin G. Hatch Courthouse in downtown Salt Lake City.
This case is being investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service.