Ex-Robertson commissioner to serve 71 months in prison - WSMV Channel 4

Ex-Robertson commissioner to serve 71 months in prison

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A former Robertson County commissioner was sentenced to serve 71 months in prison on Thursday after pleading guilty last year in federal court to charges of bank, mail and wire fraud along with money laundering.

Edward Shannon Polen, 37, of Greenbrier, TN, will serve 71 months in prison to be followed by a five-year term of supervised release for operating a series of Ponzi schemes that solicited more than $16 million from more than 50 investors.

"Investors are devastated by cases like these, especially people who trust their life's savings to individuals they know and trust, only to find that their trust has been misplaced," said U.S. Attorney David Rivera in a news release. "In this case, a lot of people invested money they couldn't afford to lose, particularly in hard economic times."

The former commissioner admitted that beginning in January 2007 he began soliciting funds for investment in the purchase and resale of tractors and other farm equipment that had been repossessed by John Deere & Company.

Polen admitted that in January 2008 he began soliciting funds to finance the initial purchase of construction materials.

Polen promised investors that they would receive a return of their principal investment, plus a substantial profit.

Polen also admitted that in February 2009 he devised a third scheme and began soliciting investment funds to purchase construction materials and equipment.

Polen admitted the three investment schemes, identified as the "John Deere Investment," the "Greenway Investment," and the "Tennessee Valley Authority Coal Ash Cleanup Investment" were totally fraudulent and he never intended to invest any of the funds he received from investor-victims.

Federal prosecutors said a significant part of the investment schemes involved providing investors with a minimum of two post-dated checks, one for the principal amount of their investment and the other for the profit that their investment was expected to produce.

"Yesterday justice was served for the victims of Polen's Ponzi schemes, and as a consequence of his crimes. Polen will spend almost six years in federal prison," said Christy Romero, special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP). "Polen stole more than $15 million from investors and cheated them, TARP recipient F&M Bank, and other TARP banks in a fraudulent investment scheme where his sole objective was to obtain money to feed his gambling habit and to sustain his scam. The consequences of Polen's fraudulent actions rippled throughout his community and impacted all U.S. taxpayers who are investors in TARP. SIGTARP, alongside our law enforcement partners, will bring justice to those who exploit and abuse the taxpayer-funded TARP bailout."

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