POMEROY — The Mason, Ohio, man accused of taking more than $2 million from two Meigs County victims in an alleged securities scam appeared in Meigs County Common Pleas Court last week to face the 11 count indictment against him.
Aaron S. Pitman, 31, 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.
Pitman appeared alongside attorneys Steven Goodin and Kellie Kulka of Cincinnati and local attorney Lindsey Price.
Judge Linda Warner set bond for Pitman at $500,000 with 10 percent permitted and required GPS monitoring. Pitman posted bond following the hearing and was released with the ankle monitor. Pitman was also ordered to have no contact with the victims in the case, and should contact be necessary for business purposes it is to be handled through attorneys.
In court, Prosecutor James K. Stanley argued for a $500,000 bond, stating that in Pitman had been avoiding arrest and that he had access to large amounts of cash and cyber currency.
Pitman’s council disputed that he had tried to avoid arrest, stating they had been in contact and scheduled the arraignment to turn him self in rather than having him be arrested.
Pitman’s alleged co-defendant George Hammons, 78, appeared in Meigs County Common Pleas Court earlier in the week, being released on his own recognizance in the case. Hammons is charged with four counts of Commercial Transactions Prohibited Activity (money laundering), felonies of the third degree and two counts of receiving stolen property, felonies of the fifth degree.
Both men were ordered to surrender their passports as part of their bond.
According to Stanley, Pitman, who allegedly does not have a license to sell securities in the State of Ohio, is alleged to have made false representations to the victims regarding multiple business ventures and investment opportunities in order to induce the victims to invest a total of nearly $2,000,000. Pitman is alleged to have laundered the invested money through Hammons who allegedly received the money, kept a percentage, and then funneled the remaining money back to Pitman. Pitman is alleged to have failed to invest most of the money as promised and instead kept the money for his own personal gain.
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, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Meigs County Sheriff’s Office.
An initial pretrial for Pitman is scheduled for Aug. 13, with a final pretrial on Sept. 3, motions hearing on Oct. 1 and jury trial on Oct. 31.
Hammons is scheduled for an initial pretrial on Aug. 1, a final pretrial on Sept. 5, a motions hearing on Oct. 3 and a jury trial on Oct. 22.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.