A former Pulaski County resident accused of conning people out of nearly $900,000 by posing as an investment broker has been returned to Kentucky to face the charges.
Harold Carmical Jr., 62, was indicted on federal charges in January but had been a fugitive, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey.
Authorities caught up with Carmical in California May 7 and eventually brought him back to Kentucky.
He made his initial court appearance in federal court Friday, pleading not guilty to charges of wire fraud, mail fraud and interstate transportation of stolen property.
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Carmical could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. The indictment indicates that federal authorities also want to recover the money he is accused of stealing — $897,525 — from investors in Kentucky, Ohio and Chicago.
According to the indictment, Carmical met a woman, who was not named in the document, while visiting Pulaski County in mid-2006 and began representing himself as an elite investment broker with access to information other brokers didn't have.
Carmical has ties to Bowling Green and Frankfort, according to the FBI Web site. He set up a company called Tennessee Fried Rabbit Inc., in Louisville in 1974, with the goal of going into the restaurant business, according to incorporation records.
In 2006, the Pulaski County woman introduced Carmical to her sisters, and he started talking to them about investment opportunities, according to the indictment.
Carmical took particular interest in one of the women because she had rheumatoid arthritis. He said he'd had a kidney transplant, and he told the women he felt that God had sent him to Somerset to help the ill woman, according to the indictment.
He also began attending church with them and gave his testimony at one service about his miraculous recovery after the transplant, the indictment said.
He acknowledged to one investor that he was not a licensed stockbroker but said that he had been at one time and was legally able to make trades through companies such as Charles Schwab, where he had a personal account, the indictment said.
Carmical told two of the women he would buy them Cadillacs and guaranteed investors that he would earn big returns for them, the indictment says.
One man cashed out two retirement accounts, worth more than $430,000, and gave the money to Carmical to invest, but he put it in his personal account, according to the indictment.
In early 2007, a Charles Schwab official told one of the investors that she had no money in her account there, even though she had given Carmical a check for $100,000 in December 2006, the indictment said.
Two of the investors filed a complaint with the company, which then froze Carmical's account.
Carmical later agreed to turn over money in the account to three investors.
However, one woman who got $100,000 from the brokerage signed over the check to Carmical after he convinced her of a new investment opportunity, the indictment said.
Carmical used $65,455 of the money to buy a travel trailer in Shepherdsville and put the rest in his bank account, according to the indictment.
Carmical paid two people $3,000 a month for three months to placate them and had an attorney draw up a written investment agreement to seem more official.
In 2007, two investors decided to move to Florida. Carmical promised to buy them a new Cadillac and two convertibles, but provided only a used 2000 Chevrolet, the indictment said.
He also promised to pay living and housing expenses out of their investment returns, but credit cards he provided were canceled, and they learned that the payments on their Florida condominium and their home in Kentucky were behind, the indictment said.
In another case, a woman who had refinanced her house in order to help Carmical received notice that the payments were 90 days late. Carmical had said he would make the payments, the indictment said.
Before meeting Carmical, the woman owed $70,000 on her house. The debt stood at $150,000 after the refinancing, the indictment said.
In January 2008, Carmical told one woman he was closing out his stocks. He scheduled a meeting with two investors, but then he canceled and disappeared, the indictment said.
The FBI Web site said he might have gone to Oregon in 2009 and later to California.
Prosecutors want Carmical held without bond until his trial in August, according to court records.