Canadian man pleads guilty to 21 felonies in Grand Rapids racketeering scheme

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LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – A Canadian man pleads guilty to 21 felonies that defrauded at least 20 victims of more than $2.2 million.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel made the announcement today that 50-year-old John Von Stach of Ontario, Canada pleaded guilty late last month for hist role in the racketeering scheme.

Von Stach’s Grand Rapids-based company VSP North America, LLC and V-Power Energy, Inc. sold investments with a promise of a 20 percent return in 90 days.

Between 2014 and 2018, at least 20 people fell victim to his fraudulent scheme and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Von Stach faces one felony count of conducting a criminal enterprise with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and $100,000 fine. He also faces 20 counts of false pretenses for varying amounts of money between $1,000 and more than $100,000 which have sentences of up to 20 years and up to three times the value of the money or property involved.

Von Stach was arrested in June 2018 while crossing the border into the U.S. and pleaded guilty to the charges instead of facing a jury trial.

As part of his plea agreement, Von Statch will be in jail until his sentencing on January 8th, 2020. If he pays $1.5 million most of the false pretenses charges will be dismissed and he would only receive a 15-month sentence. If he fails to pay at least $1,000,000 by his sentencing, he will be sentenced on all 21 counts.

“This plea agreement is an effort to return the money stolen from Mr. Von Stach’s clients as quickly as possible and make certain he is held accountable for his actions,” said Nessel. “Today’s announcement should send a clear message that no matter where you live, if you commit crimes in Michigan, you will be held accountable.”

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