Ex-city official gets year in prison

INDIANAPOLIS — A former investment manager and Greenfield city official accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from his clients will spend one year in federal prison.

A federal judge sentenced Ron Nichter to one year in prison and two years of supervised release, the federal version of probation, said Tim Horty, spokesman for the United States Attorney’s Office. Six months of Nichter’s probationary period after his release from prison will be spent on home detention, Horty added.

Nichter, who was appointed by former Mayor Brad DeReamer to serve on the city’s board of public works and safety in 2007, pleaded guilty in February 2015 to eight counts of mail fraud and faced 10 years behind bars.

Nichter, who served on the works board until 2011, was indicted on federal charges in 2013 on eight counts of mail fraud and eight counts of aggravated identity theft after he was accused of pocketing about $163,000 from clients. He used the funds to pay for his living expenses, court records state.

In exchange for pleading guilty to mail fraud, the federal government dismissed the additional eight counts of aggravated identity theft.

Federal officials said beginning in October 2009, Nichter started creating false documents with forged client signatures that requested funds to be withdrawn from their investment accounts.

The checks issued in response to those documents would then be forwarded to one of two addresses — a post office box in Pendleton rented by Nichter or the home of the defendant’s former assistant, according to court documents.

Nichter allegedly deposited the money into his own bank account, having endorsed the checks and forged signatures of the 14 victims, according to the federal indictment.

The victims lived in Greenfield, Pendleton, Anderson, Shirley and Clearwater, Florida. Several of the checks written on Nichter’s clients’ accounts were for $10,000; some were for $5,000, and one was for $3,500, records state. DeReamer, a close friend of Nichter’s at the time, was among his victims.

Nichter admitted to investigators working for Cantella & Company, a Boston-based corporation that monitors independent financial advisers, that he fraudulently withdrew funds from his victims and forged their signatures without their knowledge, court records state.

He said he chose clients who trusted him the most because they would be less likely to believe he’d steal from them, documents state, and they wouldn’t miss the money.

Nichter was ordered to pay $16,000 of restitution to his victims. Some of his victims already had been paid back the funds he took, Horty said.

Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.