According to charges filed in federal court, Richard L. Thompson is accused of soliciting investment in a real estate development company that he owned, Latten Management, and using the money he raised for his own personal use. The allegations state that Thompson asked potential investors to loan money directly to him so that he could invest it in his real estate company, which he falsely claimed owned over 200 acres in Tennessee.
According to information provided in the criminal complaint, Thompson founded Latten Management in 2007, purchasing 54 acres in the Green Mountain area and 15 acres in the Green Ridge Park area. The property was in Thompson’s name, not under Latten Management.
Some time later, Thompson and other individuals allegedly bought 217 additional acres in Catawba Peak, but they defaulted on the loan for the property while they still owed about $9.8 million. Catawba Peak was also never under the Latten Management name.
According to the complaint, from 2009 through April 2011, Thompson solicited shares in Latten Management by claiming that the company owned three Tennessee properties and would later develop them into vacation spots. Thompson allegedly gave potential investors tours of the properties and claimed that Latten Management owned them, when in fact they were under Thompson’s name. The complaint also accuses Thompson of concealing the fact that he had defaulted on one of the loans.
The complaint accuses Thompson of using nearly $2 million of investors’ money to pay for his personal expenses, as well as to pay back other investors. Additionally, the complaint accuses Thompson of obtaining $667,000 in personal unsecured loans through false pretenses. Thompson has been charged with one count of wire fraud for his alleged role in the Ponzi scheme and is currently awaiting trial.