Capital Region Couple Indicted For Defrauding Investors

Attorney General Spitzer announced today that a grand jury has charged a Capital Region couple with theft and securities fraud stemming from a scheme in which they sold non-existent stock and other securities in companies purporting to distribute gourmet frozen foods.

Peter W. Perun, 48, and his wife, Tara A. Perun, 39, of Lake George were arraigned on April 26 in Schenectady County Court before the Honorable Richard Giardino. The defendants are accused of stealing from investors by lying to them in order to sell securities which did not exist, and to obtain loans for fraudulent business expenses. It is alleged that the scheme involved more than $900,000 in transactions.

Between December 1999 and August 2005, the couple allegedly took money from more than 140 individuals living in the Capital Region, New York City, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and California by lying to them about investment opportunities in two gourmet frozen food businesses operated by entities called Modern Day Gourmet and Harvest Holdings, Inc. The general scheme used by the defendants involved persuading potential investors by guaranteeing large returns, of up to one hundred times the original investment.

Many of the defendants victims were friends and acquaintances from local churches and religious organizations. The Peruns allegedly used the money they received pursuant to this scheme to pay their own personal expenses.

Peter Perun, was charged with: two counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class "C" felony; six counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class "D" felony; one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class "E" felony; and nine counts of Fraudulent Practices with Respect to Securities, in violation of General Business Law, class "E" felonies.

Tara A. Perun, was charged with: one count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class "C" felony; one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class "E" felony; and two counts of Fraudulent Practices with Respect to Securities, class "E" felonies.

At an appearance in Schenectady County Court today, before Judge Polly A. Hoye, Peter Perun was remanded to Schenectady County jail. Bail for Tara Perun was set at $25,000 cash or $50,000 bond. Their next court appearance is scheduled for June 12.

The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Lawrence Elmen, of the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Viola I. Abbitt and Bureau Chief Janet Cohn. They were assisted by Assistant Attorney General Michael Jones and Associate Accountant of the Investment Protection Bureau. The investigation was conducted by Investigator Leslie Arp of the Investigations Bureau, under the supervision of David Adams, Supervising Investigator.

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