Man gets 3 suspended sentences after construction fraud investigation

Robert Fersch, left, and Gary Ogle. (Provided Photos/Indiana State Police)

LEBANON, Ind. (WISH) — An Indianapolis man has received three suspended sentences after pleading guilty to three counts of theft after a state police investigation involving fraudulent construction loans.

Robert J. Fersch, 69, also had five counts of theft and a a count of corrupt business influence dismissed Thursday as part of a plea agreement with Boone Superior Court 2.

On Monday in Noblesville, Fersch received a suspended sentenced after pleading guilty to a count of conversion.

In September in Danville, Fersch also received a suspended sentence after he pleaded guilty to three counts of theft. As part of that plea agreement, accepted in Hendricks Circuit Court, nine counts of theft and a count of corrupt business influence were dismissed.

Indiana State Police conducted a nearly three-year investigation into Fersch and Gary Ogle, 70, of Indianapolis, that led to their arrest on charges of several felonies in four counties. Investigators initially said the two men were responsible for taking over $1.2 million from customers and subcontractors prior to 2013.

Ogle and Ferch were co-owners of BiltRite Homes LLC in Whitestown, Indiana, and over several years conducted fraudulent business deals including theft, corrupt business influence, perjury and forgery, state police said in 2016. In 2013, after the company filed bankruptcy, the state police began looking into complaints about BiltRite Homes. Most complaints included taking money from customers to pay off debts of previously built homes. Eventually the two men were no longer able to pay their debts resulting in several property liens being placed on completed homes. In some cases, police said, BiltRite Homes would take down payments or a first draw on victims’ construction loans, and not take any action toward building a home for them.

State police said they spoke with numerous victims, contractors, suppliers and former employees. The investigation led to charges being filed in four counties.

In August in Hendricks County, Ogle received a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to perjury. Ogle also had 86 charges — including corrupt business influence, forgery, theft and perjury — dismissed as part of his plea agreement.

In Boone County, Ogle faces 48 counts of forgery, 41 counts of perjury, 12 counts of theft and two counts of corrupt business influence. A plea agreement has been filed in that case, and a sentencing hearing is scheduled in Lebanon for 3 p.m. Nov. 2. Details of the pending plea agreement were not yet included in online court filings.

In Hamilton County, Ogle faces one count of theft. A change-of-plea hearing is set for 9 a.m. Monday, Oct. 9.