Valley Investments owes $29K in taxes

Failed Valley Investments owes more than $29,000 in back real estate taxes, penalties and fees, while owner Philip Rand Lochmiller owes more than $5,400 on properties listed in his name, county records show.

Fifty properties listed in legal advertisements in The Daily Sentinel show that taxes remain owed on those properties.

Listing properties with unpaid taxes is typically the first step toward putting them on the block at a tax sale.

Not in this case, though.

Valley Investments is in receivership, so the properties can’t be sold without court approval. The receivership, the Grand Junction law firm of Rider & Quesenberry, agreed that Mesa County Treasurer Monika Todd could advertise the properties as being delinquent in taxes but could not put them up for a tax sale.

“It would be a violation to put them up for sale,” said Lloyd Quesenberry of Rider & Quesenberry.

The fate of the properties is to be worked out by Denver District Judge Herbert Stern III, who last week agreed to the receivership’s request for more control of assets owned by Lochmiller and his relatives.

Those assets are believed to have been purchased with investor money from Valley Investments.

Valley Investments last year paid the taxes on time, submitting a single $36,000 payment for all those properties in time to meet the April 30 deadline for lump-sum payments, Todd said.

Property owners also can pay in installments due Feb. 28 and June 15, and no payments were offered on that schedule.

Valley Investments was closed May 29 by state regulators who were conducting an investigation into Valley Investments’ offer of high guaranteed returns to people who invested at least $20,000.

The FBI also is investigating Valley Investments and Lochmiller, who was sentenced to a three-year prison term in California in a securities-fraud plea bargain. He pleaded guilty to 30 counts and 30 other counts were dropped.

The receivership has said that Valley Investments appeared to have been operated as a Ponzi scheme.

Lochmiller’s attorney, Cliff Stricklin of Denver, has maintained that Valley Investments was a victim of the economic downturn.


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