POMEROY — Two men are scheduled to appear in Meigs County Common Pleas Court this week on charges alleging that they took more than $2 million from victims in an alleged securities scam.
George R. Hammons, 78, of Denver, Colorado, and Aaron S. Pitman, 31, of Mason, Ohio, are both charged in multi-count indictments returned by the grand jury this month.
Pitman is charged in an 11-count indictment with crimes against two alleged victims from Meigs County. Charges include:
- Two counts of Securities Prohibited Acts (making false representations for the purpose of selling securities), felonies of the first degree;
- Two counts of Securities Prohibited Acts (engaging in fraudulent activity in selling securities), felonies of the first degree;
- One count of Securities Prohibited Acts (sale of securities without a license), a felony of the first degree;
- Two counts of Theft, felonies of the second degree;
- Four counts of Commercial Transactions Prohibited Activity (money laundering), felonies of the third degree.
Hammons is charged in a six-count indictment for his alleged role in the matter. Charges include:
- Four counts of Commercial Transactions Prohibited Activity (money laundering), felonies of the third degree;
- Two counts of receiving stolen property, felonies of the fifth degree.
Meigs County Prosecutor James K. Stanley explained that Pitman allegedly told the victims that they were investing in sites which were being reinvented and upgraded. They would then be able to sell them to make a profit.
Stanley stated that there were, in most cases, no websites and that the money was not invested, rather, it was reportedly pocketed.
He added that Pitman allegedly sent the money which was placed in “shell companies” to Hammons ,who would reportedly take a cut of the money, and then send it back to Pitman. Those actions led to the money laundering charges.
The total losses to the Meigs County victims were just more than $2 million, said Stanley. According to the indictment, the crimes occurred in 2013 and 2014.
There are suspected victims in other jurisdictions, both in Ohio and out of state, said Stanley.
The case was investigated by the Department of Commerce, a forensic accountant with the Attorney General’s Office and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Pitman is scheduled to appear for arraignment at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 3 in Meigs County Common Pleas Court.
Hammons is scheduled to appear for arraignment at 1 p.m. on Monday, July 1 in Meigs County Common Pleas Court.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.