Assistant pleads guilty in investment scheme

The executive assistant to the owner of failed Valley Investments in Grand Junction faces as many as five years in prison after pleading guilty to a conspiracy charge.

Shawnee Carver, 34, was the executive assistant to Valley Investments owner Philip Rand Lochmiller, whose company failed in 2009, taking with it more than $30 million lost by more than 400 investors.

Carver, Lochmiller and his stepson, also Philip Rand Lochmiller, were indicted on 33 counts of conspiracy and mail and securities fraud in connection with Valley Investments’ failure.

Carver and the younger Lochmiller have pleaded guilty in the case. The elder Lochmiller is awaiting trial, which is scheduled to begin in Denver in the spring.

Valley Investments promised returns of as much as 18 percent to investors in the company’s mobile-home parks in Colorado, Utah and Idaho, which it told investors were being developed as affordable-housing projects.

Carver, according to court papers, prepared documents for investors, while she was “fully aware that the specific real estate that was to secure the investments made by the investors was already encumbered despite representations to the contrary.”

Her part in the scheme went back as far as 2007, prosecutors said.

Carver was entrusted with investors’ financial records, such as information about investments, interest rates and calculations, payment schedules, dates of payment and total amounts of principal and interest owed and paid, papers said.

“Carver repeatedly reassured investors that Valley Investments’ business was doing well, even when she knew that was not true,” prosecutors said.

In his plea agreement, the younger Lochmiller said Carver played a key role, notarizing signatures that both Lochmillers forged on official papers.

The younger Lochmiller is facing as many as 15 years in prison. He and Carver are to be sentenced April 22.

Carver had been scheduled to plead guilty Nov. 18, but failed to meet the terms of the agreement by confessing her action to the court.


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