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A Chicago businessman pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal wire fraud charge in connection with a multi-million fraud scheme involving investors in the Orthodox Jewish community who invested in assisted living communities and nursing homes throughout the Midwest, Law360 reported.
Erez Baver, executive vice president and bookkeeper of Skokie, IL-based FNR Healthcare, entered his plea in U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois. The plea follows allegations that he and Zvi Feiner, former FNR Healthcare owner and CEO orchestrated a Ponzi scheme that defrauded at least 75 investors out of at least $22 million.
The two were accused of misappropriating funds raised between 2012 and 2017 through the sale of membership interest in companies Feiner created under the FNR umbrella to buy and sell assisted living communities and nursing homes.
Baver previously settled a case with the Securities and Exchange Commission, agreeing to pay $2.25 million over accusations that he and Feiner misappropriated investor funds for personal use, to support other struggling properties, to pay back loans taken out on other properties, and to make distributions to earlier investors.
Baver faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Feiner, an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, is charged with 10 counts of wire fraud. He pleaded not guilty to all counts.
Baver and Feiner are accused of intentionally misleading investors about the financial condition of the companies in order to fraudulently raise funds. An indictment said that the payments to investors were funded through a Ponzi scheme, with Feiner and Baver paying early investors with money raised from later investors.