A former custodian with stem cell developer Athersys Inc. (NSDQ:ATHX) was accused by federal prosecutors of running a stock scam that bilked would-be investors out of $340,000 over six years.
Ronald Olear, 57, in some cases stole stock certificates to aid in his scheme, which involved selling bogus shares of stock to about 30 investors.
The plot ran from 2003 to 2009, the year in which Olear was fired from his Athersys job, The Plain Dealer of Cleveland reported.
It would appear that the entrepreneurial and apparently smooth-talking Olear was underemployed as a janitor if he managed to fool 30 people in the scam.
Olear allegedly used the proceeds to help build a $600,000 house. His attorney said he plans to plead guilty.
Athersys fired Olear shortly after learning of the allegations, and said the ex-custodian’s actions have had no impact on the company or its operations.
Athersys went public in a reverse merger with a Texas company in 2007.
Olear is scheduled to appear Jan. 5 in U.S. District Court.