Defendant in fish farm fraud back in jail, bond revoked

June 26, 2019 GMT

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A former executive accused of defrauding investors in a scheme to build an $11 million fish farm in South Dakota is back in jail.

Tobias Ritesman had been free on bond after pleading guilty to 18 felonies in connection with the Global Aquaponics project near Brookings.

As part of his bond, Ritesman was ordered no to have contact with the victims of his scheme. Investors who put a minimum of $25,000 each in the project lost hundreds of thousands of dollars because the fish farm never materialized. Investors were told that Global Aquaponics already had $5.6 million in cash on hand for the project. Authorities say Ritesman and co-defendant Timothy Burns spent the money as quickly as it came in, the Argus Leader reported.


According to court records, Ritesman, who had nicknamed himself “The Tiger,” had repeated contacts with a victim identified as “J.B.” and asked to borrow $3,000. J.B. refused to loan the money, but a short time after that meeting, Ritesman called J.B. to say that his heat had been turned off, so J.B. loaned Ritesman $175, which Ritesman did not pay back by a Feb. 20 deadline, the documents said.

Federal Judge Karen Schreier on Monday ordered Tobias Ritesman jailed until his sentencing next month.

A federal jury in April found Burns guilty of five counts of wire fraud. He’s awaiting sentencing.


Information from: Argus Leader,