Joanne Schneider was sentenced to 10 years in prison for engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity by Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold. The Ohio Division of Securities conducted the investigation.
In March 2009, Joanne Schneider pleaded guilty to thirteen felony charges, including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. She faced a possible maximum sentence of 119 years in prison and was sentenced to three years in prison in March 2009. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded her to re-sentenced.
Joanne Schneider, 67, engaged in a massive real estate scheme over many years where she bilked eight million dollars from investors. The money was used to fund Schneider's real estate development projects, including the largest undertaking, the $60 million Cornerstone Project. The Cornerstone Project was to be a Main Street-style entertainment complex, complete with shopping, dining, entertainment, and apartments, that would replace an abandoned supermarket on W. 130th Street. Sales of promissory notes for the complex were generated by word-of-mouth by Joanne Schneider and people who had done or were currently doing business with Schneider.
Joanne Schneider’s scheme unraveled when Ohio Division of Securities received a complaint from a family member of an investor in May 2003. The complainant was suspicious that his mother was receiving a 16-20% interest on her investment. He requested that the Division investigate his mother’s investment. The Division sent Joanne Schneider a letter in October of 2003 notifying her that she was under investigation and requested documents from her. In May 2004, the Division issued a cease and desist order against Joanne Schneider for selling unregistered promissory notes.
After continuing to sell promissory notes in violation of the cease and desist order, the State was successful in obtaining a preliminary injunction in December 2004 against Schneider. In February 2005, she was found to have violated the preliminary injunction by continuing to sell securities without the permission of the court and a court-appointed Special Master. A Receiver was appointed to take possession of the joint assets of the Schneiders, and the individual assets of Joanne Schneider. The court later extended the Receiver’s authority to include Alan Schneider’s individual assets.
The criminal case against the Schneiders was referred to the Prosecutor’s Office by the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Securities. Joanne Schneider was indicted in November of 2005 for stealing eight million dollars from investigators.
Joanne and Alan Schneider began investing in both commercial and residential real estate in the 1980s. By 2005, they owned 23 properties, including three wineries, a machine shop, multiple apartment complexes and single-family dwellings. Alan Schneider pleaded guilty to six felony charges and faced seven and half years in prison and was sentenced to community control sanctions.
On March 12, 2009, Schneider pleaded guilty to Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, Security Fraud, False Representation in the Sale of a Security, Sale of Unregistered Security, and Money Laundering.