Two West Michigan men accused of defrauding investors in a $9 million Ponzi scheme have pleaded no contest to racketeering.
The state attorney general's office announced Friday that 60-year-old Jeffrey Ripley of Sparta and 61-year-old Danny Lee VanLiere of Grand Rapids also pleaded no contest in Ottawa County Circuit Court to two counts of selling unregistered securities.
A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing purposes. Ripley and VanLiere are to be sentenced on June 21.
According to the AG's office, the scheme operated under the name API Worldwide Holdings LLC, and more than 100 victims were defrauded of thousands of dollars, including some elderly victims who lost their life savings.