NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — Two home builders accused of fraudulent deals have received suspended sentences in all of the cases they were accused.
Indiana State Police conducted a nearly three-year investigation into Robert J. Fersch, 69, of Indianapolis, and Gary Ogle, 70, who is listed in court documents as living in Carmel and Indianapolis. That investigation led to their arrest on several felony charges in four counties. Investigators initially said the two men were responsible for taking over $1.2 million from customers and subcontractors prior to 2013.
In Marion County, Fersch received three suspended sentences after pleading guilty to three counts of theft after a state police investigation involving fraudulent construction loans. Fersch also had five counts of theft and a a count of corrupt business influence dismissed as part of a plea agreement with Boone Superior Court 2. In Hamilton County, Fersch received a suspended sentenced after pleading guilty to a count of conversion. In Hendricks County, 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.
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 faced 48 counts of forgery, 41 counts of perjury, 12 counts of theft and two counts of corrupt business influence, but only was found guilty of perjury as part of a plea agreement. In Hamilton County, Ogle pleaded guilty to a count of theft, the only charge he faced there.
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.