Younger Lochmiller agrees to plea deal

The son of the owner of Valley Investments has agreed to plead guilty to charges that could land him in prison for as long as 10 years in connection with the collapse of the company last year with more than $30 million in investor money.

Philip Rand Lochmiller Jr., whose father, Philip Rand Lochmiller, owned Valley Investments, has sought a hearing in federal court in Denver to change his plea.

The younger Lochmiller’s attorney filed papers Friday in court saying that a disposition had been reached with prosecutors.

Lochmiller is to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, punishable by five years in prison,  and one money-laundering count, which carries a 10-year sentence, according to prosecutors.

No date for the plea was set immediately.

The younger Lochmiller faced federal mail- and securities-fraud changes in connection with Valley’s fall.

His father still faces charges, as does an employee of the business, Shawnee Carver.

In all, federal prosecutors filed 31 charges against the three defendants and in court papers filed last month alleged that the business had been operated fraudulently since 1999.

Other members of the Lochmiller family were part of the conspiracy to accept investor money to shore up the business, which was by then operating at a loss after having been founded as a mortgage business in 1994.

The elder Lochmiller was unable to arrange for conventional financing of the affordable-housing ventures he was promoting to investors because of his criminal record and bankruptcy in California, prosecutors said in court papers.

The younger Lochmiller also had a bankruptcy history in California.

U.S. District Judge Philip A. Brimmer is considering a request by prosecutors to conduct the trial against the remaining defendants in Grand Junction instead of Denver.

Investors who lost money in Valley Investments, many of whom are elderly and one of whom already has died, would be better able to attend the trial in Grand Junction instead of Denver, the prosecution has maintained. The senior Lochmiller has opposed a trial in Grand Junction, citing better facilities in Denver.


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