Lebanon businessman charged with $1M in investment fraud
A Lebanon County businessman faces mail fraud charges after federal officials said he misused private investments for his own purposes.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Christopher Burhans, 64, used the investments in two of his businesses — Angelic Ventures and Home Buyers Solutions Inc., both now defunct — to fuel some of his other businesses and for personal use.
Money he received from investors in those companies was used for salaries for him, his wife and his son, as well as to purchase multiple timeshares he used for vacation, according to federal officials.
Burhans told investors their money would be used solely to make loans for the purchase of real estate, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Burhans advertised in farming newspapers, saying that the investments in the companies would be insured, secured and with promised rates as high as 12 percent. From April 2005 to May 2007, he deposited almost $2 million in investor money from Angelic Ventures and from November 2006 to December 2009 deposited about $450,000 from Home Buyers Solutions Inc.’s investors.
In December 2009, Burhans wrote investors that both companies were out of business and the money was gone. Federal prosecutors said that, as of that month, he owed investors more than $1 million.
Both of the businesses were operated out of his former home at 847 Maple St. in Lebanon — a home that sold at auction in November.
A plea agreement has been filed, but it must be approved by the court, prosecutors said.