Ex-Viking Voigt charged with fraud, accused of defrauding millions
Less than a year after settling a million dollar fraud lawsuit filed by a former teammate, former Vikings close member Stu Voigt was accused on Wednesday of using a real estate scheme to defraud millions investors by diverting funds to new accounts.
Voigt, 66, of Apple Valley, and Twin Cities real estate developer Jeff Gardner, 61, have both been charged with multiple counts of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, bank fraud, bogus declaration on a loan application and monetary transactions on property of criminal origin. Documents filed between 2005 and 2007 accuse Voigt and Gardner of plotting to defraud individuals and financial institutions by distorting assets from victimized investors. Voigt helped solicit and raise funds for Gardner’s business entity, Hennessey Financial LLC, according to the indictment. Investors were told their money would be used to finance commercial real estate projects and were promised annual returns of 10-20%.
But Gardner used Hennessey’s funds instead to pay off previous investors and debts incurred by himself and his companies, court records show.
According to the indictment and previous documents:
Gardner lied to investors about the company’s financial condition, promising positive returns even after the company went bankrupt.
Voigt was the chairman of First Commercial Bank in Bloomington, a large commercial real estate lender, and guaranteed loans for Gardner without revealing the company’s financial situation or its affiliation with Hennessey.
Voigt was banned from banking and paid a fine of $ 15,000 to settle charges of illegal activity while running the bank, which was closed and sold in 2012.
Last year, former Vikings teammate Ron Yary settled a lawsuit against Voigt in federal court, ending a dispute that started in 2011. The lawsuit claimed Voigt duped Yary and three other Minnesotans on $ 1 million after luring them into “risk-free” investments. The deal cost an elderly man his savings.