NEWARK, N.J. — A conspirator who organized family and friends in a scheme to profit from stock offerings of mutual banks, including some former credit unions, has received a sentence of 20 months in prison for the crime.
U.S. District Court Judge Peter Sheridan sentenced Mark Ristow, an Indianapolis, Indiana retired real estate investor and property manager to 20 months in federal prison for securities fraud. Ristow also had to forfeit $2.8 million in profits he made from the deals. The two co-conspirators named in the initial complaint, Ristow’s cousin Andrew Crabb and sister-in-law Susan Gitlin escaped jail time but also had to forfeit money they had made.
According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the three conspired to deposit money in mutual savings banks, including former credit unions, which they believed would issue stock either in a so-called “second step” conversion to a full stock organization or as part of a mutual holding company. Ristow funded the deposits and stock purchases by Crabb and Gitlin and used their participation to circumvent laws restricting such preferential stock offerings to legitimate depositors in the bank.