Grand jury indicts Elkton man on fraud charges

Published 6:04 am Thursday, November 19, 2009

A federal grand jury on Tuesday returned an indictment against a 57-year-old Elkton man for allegedly defrauding victims out of money that he promised would be invested in collector vehicles.

Fred Engelhart faces three counts of wire fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of money laundering.

He was also charged with possession of a short-barreled shotgun, according to a news release.

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The indictment alleges that between March and May of 2007, Engelhart, acting as a broker, received money from the sale of collector cars but failed to pay the sellers what was owed them.

Engelhart also allegedly failed to deliver valid titles to the purchasers.

According to the release, Engelhart received wire transfers from purchasers on three separate occasions, totaling almost $500,000.

On March 23, 2007, he wired $250,000 of that money from Farmers State Bank of Elkton to purchase real estate. He also submitted false financial statements to the bank to secure loans in excess of $500,000 for his business, Engelhart Performance.

Before that, in December 2006, Engelhart allegedly used his purported inventory of collector cars — valued at more than $2 million — to secure a $500,000 loan from Rushford State Bank.

That bank later learned Engelhart did not own the inventory, and when it was liquidated, the bank did not receive any of the proceeds.

Lastly, the indictment alleges that on July 25, 2008, Engelhart possessed an unregistered, sawed-off shotgun.

If convicted, Engelhart faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count. He also faces 30 years on each bank fraud count, as well as 10 years for the weapon charge.