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Leader of fraud scheme sentenced to 4-plus years

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The ringleader of a scheme that defrauded an Indianapolis investor out of $1.7 million was sentenced Monday to four years and nine months in federal prison.

Michael Russell, 54, pleaded guilty in January to 20 counts of wire fraud and money laundering.

Russell, who led an Indianapolis charity called the Russell Foundation, was charged in late 2011 along with former Indianapolis City-County Councilor Paul Bateman and associate Manuel Gonzalez.

Bateman, 58, who also pleaded guilty, is scheduled to be sentenced May 20.

Gonzalez was found not guilty of the charges by a jury in February.

A federal judge on Monday ordered Russell to make restitution to his victim, a doctor who invested the $1.7 million in his foundation and a related ethanol-production business.

Prosecutors say Russell —also known as Rev. Michael L. Russell —and Bateman persuaded the doctor to invest $1 million in a corporate bond for the foundation to help fight poverty and provide community leadership.

Between February 2007 and April 2007, according to court documents, Bateman picked up five checks from the doctor for the ethanol investment totaling $702,000, most of which were deposited into Bateman’s personal account.

Russell and Bateman admitted using the money for entertainment, personal security, clothing, jewelry, travel and vehicles.




 

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  1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

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  4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

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