by Associated Press
A former Nebraska City broker accused of defrauding investors out of more than $20 million has agreed to plead guilty to two fraud charges and is likely to testify against another person charged in the securities case.
Rebecca Engle , who had faced eight felony charges, won’t be sentenced until after the other case is resolved. She and former Nebraska football player Brian Schuster had been accused of improperly selling risky investments in several interrelated Florida companies to more than 130 investors.
Most of the investors affected were nearing retirement age or had already retired, so they wanted conservative, stable investments with little risk. They say Engle and Schuster instead invested their money in high-risk enterprises and never fully explained the risks.
Engle’s lawyer, Steve Achelpohl , declined to comment on the plea agreement that a court approved last week.
Schuster’s attorney, Don Schense , said Tuesday that his client plans to continue fighting the eight securities fraud charges he faces.
“We maintain that Mr. Schuster never misled or was deceptive to any of his clients,” Schense said.
Schuster’s trial has been tentatively scheduled to begin April 11 , and Judge Paul Korslund ordered the trial moved out of Otoe County into Gage County to ensure he will be able to get a fair trial. Korslund, who is based in Gage County , is hearing the case because many lawyers and judges in Otoe and Sarpy counties had conflicts of interest.
Prosecutors with the Nebraska Attorney General’s office didn’t immediately respond to a message left Tuesday.
Schuster, who played fullback for Nebraska from 1992 to 1996, worked with Engle in Nebraska City for several years. The two sold securities in American Capital Corp. and Royal Palm . According to court documents, Engle and Schuster described the Florida companies in glowing terms such as “can’t-miss deals” or “mini Berkshire Hathaways,” referring to the Omaha -based conglomerate run by billionaire Warren Buffett .
PrimEdge Inc. later bought American Capital and Royal Palm , and Schuster became the president and chief executive of PrimEdge . He is now a law student in South Dakota , and PrimEdge is listed as an inactive corporation by the Florida Secretary of State’s office.
Engle lost her securities dealing license in February 2008 as part of an agreement with state regulators. She filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Arizona in the summer of 2008. Recent filings in the bankruptcy case say Engle has assets worth between $1 million and $3 million , and claims against her totaling roughly $20 million .
A federal class action lawsuit is pending against Engle, Schuster, their former employers and several people connected to the Florida companies. Investors have also filed several lawsuits against companies that insured Engle and her brokerage business.