Ottawa County Man Allegedly Ran a $1.5 Million Ponzi Scheme
Yesterday, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed 33 felony charges against Scott Rookus, 45 of Jenison, for his role in running an alleged Ponzi scheme between 2010 and 2015.
Between 2010 and 2013 Rookus allegedly solicited and obtained investments of approximately $1.5 million for his holdings company, New Haven Holdings. His customers many of whom were senior citizens, were allegedly told that earnings from their investments would come from the profits of Rookus’ enterprises, when in fact the money he took resulted in an alleged Ponzi-scheme from which he was the primary beneficiary.
To cover his tracks, Rookus allegedly issued fraudulent returns to some investors using money from newer investors. He allegedly used the investor funds to pay personal expenses such as his children’s private school education and to pay off tax liens against him.
The alleged scheme was uncovered after Rookus filed for personal bankruptcy in March 2015 and his investors found out that they had lost everything they invested.
Rookus has been charged with the following crimes:
- One count of Conducting a Continuing Criminal Enterprise; a 20 year felony;
- One count of Embezzlement of $20,000 or more but less than $50,000; a 10 year felony
- Two counts of Embezzlement of $50,000 or more but less than $100,000; a 10 year felony;
- Five counts of Embezzlement of $100,000 or more; a 20 year felony
- Seven counts of Obtaining Money by False Pretenses over $20,000; a 10 year felony;
- One Count of Obtaining Money by False Pretenses over $100,000; a 20 year felony;
- Eight counts of Larceny by Conversion of $20,000 or more, a 10 year felony; and
- Eight counts of Fraudulent Sales of Securities; a 10 year felony.
Rookus was arraigned on June 7, 2016 in Ottawa County Circuit Court before Judge Post. He was released on $10,000 Cash/Surety bond. Rookus was also required to surrender his passport. He must request court permission for any travel outside the State of Michigan and cannot have any contact with any victims named in the complaint.