A federal grand jury has indicted a Seabrook Island man on nine charges that he used several businesses to steal approximately $2 million from investors over the past two years.
According to the indictment filed in U.S. District Court in the District of South Carolina, Todd Vannatta, 42, solicited investments for his business called Brokers Exchange, which purchased shipments of goods to resell them at a profit. However, in obtaining investments, Vannatta allegedly misrepresented whether others had already invested, whether he had a financial investment in the business and whether he had certain goods under his control, the indictment said.
Vannatta also allegedly secured investments in Fly Charleston LLC, a business owned in part by Vannatta, by representing that he had more of an investment in the business than he actually did. He often sold individuals parts of the company that had already been sold to other investors, according to the indictment.
The indictment says that through these schemes, Vannatta obtained $2 million from investors, as well as personally receiving over $600,000 in payments.
In addition, Vannatta was charged with making false statements to the government related to his income and required restitution payments because of a series of bank, wire and tax fraud schemes in Indiana between 2007 and 2012. Vannatta pleaded guilty to those charges in Indiana and was sentenced to five years in prison; he was released in August 2016, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Combined, all 10 S.C. charges carry a maximum sentence of 185 years in prison. If he is convicted, the indictment says any money made as a result of fraud would be subject to forfeiture under federal law. The indictment lists assets that prosecutors have targeted, including $1.9 million, an apartment on Seabrook Island, two bank accounts that total $55,752.38, $5,000 in cash, two cashier’s checks totaling $100,000 and a Cessna aircraft.