A Columbus man was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison on charges of defrauding banks of more than $10 million and failing to turn over tax payments.
Todd Van Natta, 36, who had also lived in Seymour, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of bank fraud, three counts of wire fraud and two counts of tax fraud.
U.S. District Court Judge William T. Lawrence ordered Van Natta to pay $6,977,470 in restitution to his victims, said Joseph H. Hogsett, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.
The federal government filed notice of its plans to seize assets of Van Natta obtained through criminal activity.
Records show Van Natta defrauded Columbus-based Centra Credit Union of more than $5 million.
He remained in federal custody following his sentencing, where he has been since his arrest in March 2012, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Van Natta was living at a residence at Grandview Lakes west of Columbus when the FBI arrested him.
His arrest followed a 20-month joint investigation by the FBI, Internal Revenue Service and the Columbus and Seymour police departments.
Senior Litigation Counsel Steven D. DeBrota and Assistant U.S. Attorney MaryAnn Mindrum, who prosecuted the case, said Van Natta was must serve five years of federally supervised release at the end of his prison term.
Van Natta was indicted last summer on 13 charges of federal bank and wire fraud. Two more charges were added this summer when he was accused of filing false claims on income tax returns and failing to pay federal taxes he had withheld from employees of Van Natta Asset Management LLC and Skyward Air, according to court records.
A grand jury indicted Van Natta, who once owned and operated several apartment complexes in Seymour, on June 20, 2012, on formal charges, including 10 counts of bank fraud and three counts of wire fraud.
The indictment alleged that Van Natta, the president and manager of Seymour-based Van Natta Asset Management LLC and other related companies, cooked up a scheme to defraud financial institutions to obtain large sums of money for two years beginning in March 2007.
“This criminal scheme was fueled by greed and left behind a trail of victims across the Hoosier state,” Hogsett said after the sentencing hearing. “As Mr. Van Natta learned today, embracing such a culture of corruption doesn’t pay. You will be caught, and you will be brought to justice.”
Van Natta, who sought the Democratic nomination to run for mayor of Seymour in the May 2007 primary election, was accused of preparing and submitting false documents to banks throughout central and southern Indiana, including financial institutions headquartered in Bartholomew, Decatur, Washington, Morgan and Monroe counties.
The false documents included fraudulently created tax returns that hid the true income and financial affairs of Van Natta’s family members, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. The FBI seized records from the Seymour home of Van Natta’s father in May 2011 as part of its investigation.
He also used false documents to secure loans for a variety of purposes that included $3.8 million for a property in Evansville, $2.1 million for multiple properties in Seymour and $3.1 million for a variety of properties in Fort Wayne, Hogsett said. Van Natta obtained a $100,000 loan to buy a 1970 Cessna aircraft and a $550,000 loan for a yacht.
He defrauded a Utah resident by falsely claiming he owned an aircraft he had listed for sale, Hogsett said.
Van Natta reportedly accepted thousands of dollars from the individual for the purchase and upgrade of the aircraft that he never owned, and he never delivered the aircraft to the Utah resident as stated in the purchase agreement, according to court records.
The prosecution was the result of a collaborative investigation involving the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service.
Convicted: Todd A. Van Natta
Residence: Columbus; has been in federal custody since March 2012
Pleaded guilty to: 10 counts of bank fraud, three counts of wire fraud and two counts of tax fraud
Sentence: Five years in federal prison; also ordered to pay $6.97 million in restitution; must serve five years of supervised release after serving sentence