Court denies removal of co-defendant in alleged investment fraud lawsuit

By Jim Painter - For the Sidney Daily News

SIDNEY – The reversed residential property transfer between Ronald U. and Victoria A. Schulze of Fort Loramie continues to plague the couple. On Tuesday, the court denied a motion by the couple to have Mrs. Schulze removed from a civil case brought forth by a Sidney woman.

According to online court records, Shelby County Common Pleas Court Judge James Stevenson turned down motion to dismiss Victoria Schulze as a co-defendant from a lawsuit filed by Wanda Caudill, of Sidney, alleging financial misconduct.

On Jan. 26, Caudill, 85, filed the suit against the 64-year-old Ronald Schulze. In an amended filing, Caudill’s attorneys added his wife, Victoria Schulze, to the suit claiming the couple were attempting to protect their assets by illegally transferring ownership of their $383,000 home due to pending litigation.

On Jan. 11, Schulze transferred his half ownership of their residential property to his wife, Victoria, making her the sole owner. On March 30, Caudill’s attorneys amended the lawsuit adding Mrs. Schulze as a defendant claiming the property transfer was a move to protect their assets from creditors.

On April 9, the Schulze’s transferred the property back into co-ownership, according to records with the Shelby County Auditor’s office. Both transfers were for zero dollars exchanging hands

Court records filed Tuesday, had the Schulzes asking to have Victoria’s name removed because the couple did an about face in transferring the property back into joint ownership. Stevenson denied their requests indicating that once the case is concluded, Caudill could have financial relief based on the property.

Loss of personal life finances

Court records claim Caudill has presumably lost her life savings into a fund ultimately tied to a billion-dollar Ponzi scheme operation. She is alleging Schulze, an insurance and investment representative, persuaded her to invest the money into illegally sold securities. She is requesting the return of her money, interest, punitive damages, and court costs.

On May 1, a preliminary injunction was ordered preventing the couple from transferring or liquidating personal assets until the lawsuit has concluded. Court officials indicate the case is currently on the docket for April 2019.

Caudill is claiming that in March 2017 Schulze persuaded her to place $190,000 into securities referred to as promissory notes. The funds were presumably invested with the Woodbridge Wealth. Caudill’s attorneys claim Schulze is not licensed to sell such securities.

The $190,000 was the retirement savings of Cecil Caudill, after 42 years of service to the Minster Machine Co. Mr. Caudill died on March 17, 2017, after 65 years of marriage to Wanda.

Attorneys claim Schulze persuaded Caudill to invest the entire amount into the Woodbridge notes that were supposedly not registered with Ohio Division of Securities.

Woodbridge companies file bankruptcy

In December 2017, Caudill received a notice that Woodbridge had filed bankruptcy on Dec. 4 and that her interest payments would stop. Caudill is claiming Schulze assured her she would be getting all her money back.

On Dec. 20, 2017, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed suit against Woodbridge and the company’s founder, Robert Shapiro, in Florida. Court records indicate Shapiro used money invested in Woodbridge to live a lavish lifestyle and for his own use. The Florida lawsuit indicates Shapiro was responsible for $1.22 billion in investments.

Schulze, through his attorney Roger Sugarman of Columbus, contends he has never met Shapiro, was unaware of Shapiro’s financial activities, and, in fact, had invested a large amount of his personal funds into the same Shapiro-owned accounts.

While Schulze reportedly gave up his securities license in 2008, Sugarman contends the Woodbridge products were not securities indicating his client was not selling products illegally.

In related cases, John Seger, of Fort Loramie, filed a civil lawsuit against the Schulzes on April 18 hoping to reclaim $353,000 he placed in a revocable trust that Schulze allegedly sold the Woodbridge accounts illegally.

Also, Barbara Brunswick, of Minster, filed suit on May 11 seeking the return of her investment of $211,809.01 plus punitive relief. The funds were invested into the Woodbridge accounts through Schulze.

By Jim Painter

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.