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Published: Tuesday, 3/4/2014

2 local businessmen face money laundering charge

BLADE STAFF

Two Toledo-area businessmen have been charged in federal court with money laundering in what a federal investigator described in a court document as a scheme to defraud investors.

Mark Wittenmyer of Holland and Arvel Ray Henderson II of Toledo each were charged in U.S. District Court on Feb. 18 with money laundering.

Mike Tobin, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said prosecutors have 30 days from the date the charge was filed to present the case to a federal grand jury for possible indictments.

Mr. Wittenmyer, a consultant who connects buyers and sellers of bonds, had a preliminary hearing Monday before Magistrate Judge Vernelis Armstrong. After hearing testimony from FBI Special Agent Eric Robinson, the judge did not immediately find that there was probable cause to present the case to a grand jury but said she would defer her ruling until she had reviewed documents presented to the court by Mr. Wittenmyer’s defense attorney.

Mr. Henderson, a Realtor with Re/​Max, waived his preliminary hearing Monday in federal court.

In a lengthy affidavit filed with the federal charge, Special Agent Robinson laid out a complex series of business transactions he alleges Mr. Wittenmyer conducted involving Florida attorney Jeffrey Lasman and the group he represented.

Special Agent Robinson alleges Mr. Wittenmyer and Mr. Henderson “knowingly participated in a scheme to defraud Lasman’s group, or any future buyers” of bonds purported to have a true value of $88 million by placing a $1 million lien on the bonds.

He alleges they committed wire fraud when they “knowingly conducted financial transactions with the purpose of concealing the nature, the location, the source, the ownership, or the control of the proceeds” from the deal by moving money between Mr. Henderson’s business accounts and “numerous third parties” and by “converting the money into goods, travel, and gambling.”

George Gerken, attorney for Mr. Wittenmyer, declined to comment on the allegations Monday. Martin McManus, attorney for Mr. Henderson, could not be reached.

Both Mr. Henderson and Mr. Wittenmyer have been the subject of numerous liens and civil suits filed in Lucas County Common Pleas Court in recent years.

In 2011, Mr. Wittenmyer was arrested and jailed for contempt of court after he failed to follow court orders during a 2010 civil case in which he was being sued for failing to repay nearly $3.8 million in loans.

— Jennifer Feehan



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