Second Valley Investments defendant to plead guilty
A second defendant in the criminal case stemming from the collapse of Valley Investments has agreed to plead guilty to unspecified charges.
The attorney for Shawnee Carver, who was the personal assistant to Valley Investments owner Philip Rand Lochmiller Sr., said in a filing in federal court that a plea agreement had been reached with prosecutors. No information about the charges to which Carver will plead was immediately available Friday.
Another defendant in the case, Phillip Rand Lochmiller Jr., agreed to plead guilty to charges that could land him in prison for as long as 15 years. The younger Lochmiller is to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and one count of money laundering on Nov. 12 in Denver federal court.
The plea agreement is “the right result,” Carver’s attorney, Colleen Scissors, said Friday. “Her involvement is so minor compared to (the Lochmillers). She was just a salaried employee and derived no benefits. It was just horrible she got sucked into this.”
Valley Investments collapsed in 2009 after taking more than $30 million from more than 400 investors who purchased land in what the Lochmillers described as affordable-housing projects in Colorado, Idaho and Utah.
Investors were promised returns as high as 18 percent in return for two-year investments.
Prosecutors allege many of the deeds of trust issued to investors, many of them elderly and in search of reliable investments, were fraudulent. In some cases, more than a dozen deeds were tied to the same land, according to court papers.
Instead of applying investment money to the housing developments, Lochmiller converted thousands of dollars over his salary to his own personal use and that of his family, court papers say.