INDIANAPOLIS - All three members of The Dane Group, a capital investment firm located in Fishers, have been convicted of securities fraud following an investigation by Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson's office.
The Dane Group was formed in 2012 by Bruce McIntyre, Shelly Guzman and Fennis Bledsoe to provide capital to expanding businesses. Together, the partners sold unregistered short-term promissory notes to at least 4 Hoosiers totaling over $375,000 from 2013-2014. Bank records show the funds as being used for personal expenses, contrary to the expectations of the victims.
On Sept. 7, Fennis "Nick" Bledsoe, the final member of the group to face a judge, was sentenced to 3 years in the Indiana Department of Correction. Earlier this year, McIntyre and Guzman were charged with 15 felony counts including securities fraud, the sale of unregistered securities, acting as unlicensed agents, and corrupt business influence. Bledsoe was charged with 5 felony counts included aiding the unlawful sale of securities, aiding in securities fraud and corrupt business influence. All charges were Class C felonies.
"Any financial transaction of this nature, no matter the size, should be verified before the money changes hands," said Secretary Lawson. "We urge Hoosiers to do their homework and to contact the Secretary of State's office to report suspicious financial products or activity. I want to thank Hamilton County Prosecutor D. Lee Buckingham and his team for pursuing the matter."
This is not the first time investors have fallen prey to members of The Dane Group. McIntyre has previously pled guilty to embezzlement, forgery and federal securities charges. McIntyre is currently married to Guzman, although Guzman was romantically involved with Bledsoe during the period in which the crimes occurred. Additionally, Guzman's three children each received a paycheck from The Dane Group during that time.
McIntyre pled guilty to securities fraud and corrupt business influence and was sentenced to 6 years in the Indiana Department of Correction and ordered to pay $382,593.53 in restitution to 4 Indiana residents. Guzman pled guilty to securities fraud and corrupt business influence and was sentenced to 4 years in the Indiana Department of Correction and ordered to pay $300,000 in restitution to 1 Indiana resident.