Jeffrey Ripley, 59, of Sparta; and Danny VanLiere, 60, of Grand Rapids were formally charged in the $9 million scheme on March 13 at the Grand Haven courthouse.
Ripley will be represented by public defender Joe Legatz, according to court records. VanLiere is being represented by Robert Hamilton.
The two men have also asked for a bond reduction, according to John Sellek, spokesperson for the state Attorney General’s office. They are now lodged in the Ottawa County Jail on $500,000 cash or surety bonds. That hearing is set for April 9.
“We plan to oppose a request to lower bond,” Sellek said. “We think that it is the right amount, and we’re not going to make it easy for them to get out and possibly start scamming people again.”
The Attorney General’s office alleged that the two men scammed at least 140 people, two of whom reside in Ottawa County, during a four-year period.
The two men are accused of selling false securities through their company, API Worldwide Holdings, and promising huge returns on investments, said Attorney General Bill Schuette.
An investigation revealed that the victims were defrauded of amounts ranging from $3,000 to $60,000.
To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.