HAMMOND — The sentencing of an Indianapolis man convicted of a $5 million investment fraud scheme has been delayed a month.
U.S. District Court Judge Philip P. Simon is giving George R. McKown’s new team of defense lawyers additional time to sift through the transcripts of the 67-year-old defendant’s 5-day jury trial to better prepare to argue on his behalf for the most lenient sentence.
A federal grand jury indicted McKown five years ago with securities fraud, alleging he swindled 42 Northwest Indiana families out of their life savings.
Federal prosecutors won his conviction Oct. 29, 2021, on evidence he and his co-defendant, Richard E. Gearhart, 71, of Lowell, began in 2008 promising families high returns from safe investments and guaranteed the families could get the money they invested back anytime they wanted.
Prosecutors said those assurances were all lies.
The defendants really sank that money in risky financial ventures to which the families never agreed, but they soothed them with phony reports of high earnings, when in fact the money was eventually lost.
Prosecutors said the truth only emerged in late 2012 when Gearhart was forced to admit the losses in a bankruptcy.