This week, it was announced that a Sioux Falls man had been sentenced to prison. The South Dakota man was sentenced on July 15, 2019 on 10 counts of wire fraud and 8 counts of mail fraud. 42-year-old Tobias Ritesman was sentenced to 108 months and three years of supervised released.
Ritesman and his co-defendant, Timothy Burns, were indicted on January 9, 2018. Ritesman filed a petition to plead guilty on April 15, 2019. Evidence shows that Ritesman started a company called Ritesman Enterprises Inc. in approximately 2012.
There were three companies operating under REI’s umbrella. They included Tinkers and Thinkers, Global Aquaponics Inc., and Tiger Consulting. Global Aquaponics pursued investments for a proposed aquaponics facility which was going to be built in Brookings, South Dakota.
Around June of 2016, Ritesman formed SD Food Security LLC. The company was to be involved in the aquaponics project. Between roughly May 3, 2016 and August 1, 2017, Ritesman and Burns received at least $1,030,000 in investment from 34 investors.
The money was deposited into four different accounts. Both men were stealing the money and using it for other purposes. Timothy Burns is now scheduled to be sentenced on July 22, 2019. Further details can be found here.