Third defendant in Ponzi case appears in court

The last of three defendants indicted in the multimillion-dollar collapse of Valley Investments in Grand Junction is free after making her first appearance in federal court Wednesday to be advised of the charges she faces.

About a dozen people, including investigators and investors, watched as Shawnee Carver, 33, was handed a no-cash personal-recognizance bond in court by U.S. Magistrate Gudrun Rice and ordered to appear for formal filing of charges next week.

Carver, Philip Rand Lochmiller, 61, and his son, Philip Rand Lochmiller Jr., 38, were indicted on allegations of defrauding about 400 investors out of approximately $31 million between 1999 and 2009 through the company.

The receiver appointed to deal with Valley Investments’ collapse said it appeared to have been operated as a Ponzi scheme.

Carver, dressed in a long winter coat and high heels, spoke softly and kept her gaze toward the judge while she signed herself out of custody on the personal-recognizance bond during the hour-long proceeding.

One couple who had invested with the company said they were dismayed by the proceeding. They did not want to be identified.

“It’s a good incentive to do things wrong,” the man said sarcastically after the hearing.

Rice told Carver she faces charges of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, money laundering and conspiracy and mail fraud. If convicted on the charges, Carver could face up to 45 years in prison and more than $1 million in fines.

Carver will be arraigned at 11 a.m. Dec. 30 in the federal courtroom in the Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building in downtown Grand Junction. Philip Lochmiller Sr. also will face formal filing of charges at that time and place.

Phillip Lochmiller Jr. has pleaded not guilty at the U.S. District Court in Denver. Both Lochmillers are free on $100,000 personal-recognizance bonds.


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