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Wednesday

Rick Koerber now faces 22 counts

(AP)Federal prosecutors filed 19 additional charges Tuesday against Rick Koerber, saying the Utah County man failed to tell investors who poured more than $100 million into his real estate investment program that his FranklinSquires Cos. were not earning a profit.

In the new indictment, Koerber, of Highland, now faces one count of mail fraud, six counts of fraud in the offer and sale of securities, one count of sale of unregistered securities, 10 counts of wire fraud, two counts of money laundering and two counts of tax evasion.

Koerber, 36, was originally indicted in May on three charges -- one count each of tax evasion, mail fraud and wire fraud. Prosecutors alleged the businesses he directed collected more than $100 million but used about half of that to pay back other investors and make it appear the operations were profitable.

U.S. Attorney Brett Tolman said the investigation was ongoing and that more charges could be filed against Koerber and others associated with the companies.

"We will continue to look at other leads that we have and, whether those leads are concerning Mr. Koerber or others, we are continuing to follow up on those," he said.

According to the new indictment, Koerber falsely stated in mailings and magazine advertisement distributed to investors and potential investors that the FranklinSquires Cos. and related entities had $111 million in revenue in 2005 and more than $500 million in 2006. But, the indictment
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says, neither FranklinSquires nor subsidiary Founders Capital made a profit in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

It also alleges that "at no time during the operation of this scheme did Founders Capital or FranklinSquires entities operated by defendant Koerber make a yearly profit."

Reached by phone Tuesday evening, Koerber said he was unaware of the new charges until told about them by a reporter and would have to consult with his attorney before reacting to them.

Previously, Koerber has adamantly denied he was operating a Ponzi scheme. He said that his businesses had plenty of equity in real estate to pay back investors until the bottom fell out of the U.S. real estate market.

The new indictment lays out an alleged scheme in which Koerber promoted his real estate investment program, "Equity Milling," to investors.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Koerber "communicated his misrepresentations regarding his schemes, directly and indirectly, to different levels of investors and potential investors using various means such as seminars, phone calls, mailings and advertisements. Koerber also made misrepresentations to colleagues and intermediaries with the knowledge that such information would be disseminated to other investors and potential investors."

The indictment says instead of real estate transactions, Koerber used some of the investor funds for personal housing, expensive automobiles, investments in restaurants and other businesses.

The money laundering count alleges Koerber used investor money to buy a 2001 Ferrari 550 Barchetta for $218,896 and a 2004 Ferrari 360 for $213,459.

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