Ontario Man Pleads Guilty in Grand Rapids Racketeering Scheme

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – John Von Stach, 50-years-old, of Ontario, Canada, has pleaded guilty to 21 felonies for his role in a racketeering scheme that defrauded at least 20 victims out of more than $2.2 million. His plea was made late last month before Kent County Circuit Court Judge Mark A. Trusock.John Von Stach

An investigation conducted by the Attorney General’s Office found Von Stach – through his Grand Rapids-based company VSP North America, LLC and V-Power Energy, Inc. – sold investments to investors across the U.S. and Canada between 2014 and 2018, promising a 20 percent return in 90 days. During that time, at least 20 people fell victim to his fraudulent scheme and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Von Stach was charged in May 2018 with the following:

  • One felony count of Conducting A Criminal Enterprise – with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and/or $100,000;
  • Seven felony counts of False Pretenses ($100,000 or more) – with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and/or $35,000, or three times the value of the money or property involved (whichever is greater);
  • Two felony counts of False Pretenses ($50,000 or more but less than $100,000) – with a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and/or $25,000, or three times the value of the money or property involved;
  • Seven felony counts of False Pretenses ($20,000 or more but less than $50,000) – with a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and/or $15,000, or three times the value of the money or property involved; and
  • Four felony counts of False Pretenses ($1,000 or more but less than $20,000) – a maximum sentence of five years in prison and/or $10,000, or three times the value of the money or property involved.

Von Stach was arrested in June 2018 while crossing the border into the U.S. and pleaded guilty to the charges in lieu of facing a jury trial.

As part of his plea agreement, Von Stach received a delayed sentence. He will be incarcerated for the duration of the delayed sentence and if he remits $1,000,000 toward restitution before sentencing, counts three through 21 would be dismissed and he would be sentenced to 19 months. If he pays $1,500,000 in restitution before sentencing, counts three through 21 would be dismissed and he’d receive a 15-month sentence. However, if Von Stach fails to pay $1,000,000 by his sentencing date, he will be sentenced on all 21 counts.  Sentencing is currently set for January 8, 2020.

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“Protecting our residents from those who seek to commit fraud is a top priority for our office,” Nessel said. “This plea agreement is an effort to return the money stolen from Mr. Von Stach’s clients as quickly as possible and make certain he is held accountable for his actions. Today’s announcement should send a clear message that no matter where you live, if you commit crimes in Michigan, you will be held accountable.”

VSP North America, LLC also pleaded guilty to 21 felonies.  Von Stach’s other company, V-Power Energy, Inc., was not charged, but was actively involved in the racketeering scheme.