A well-known Quad Cities businessman has pleaded guilty to federal charges of wire fraud and money laundering.
Charles Arthur "Chuck" Ruhl Jr., 59, pleaded guilty to the charges Tuesday, September 17, 2013.
Prosecutors said Ruhl unlawfully took about $1.3 million from several limited liability companies he managed, then spent the money on personal expenses and on expenses for Ruhl & Ruhl Commercial Company. The personal expenses he paid included nearly $47,000 in property taxes on a personal vacation home in Michigan.
Prosecutors said Ruhl hid what he was doing from investors by telling his chief financial officers to omit his withdrawals from financial statements or to enter false deposits on those statements to offset the withdrawals he made. As a result, the statements showed large cash balances when the accounts were actually depleted.
"As part of the plea agreement, Ruhl and the government jointly recommended that Ruhl be sentenced to a term of imprisonment somewhere within the range of one day and twenty-four months," said a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Nicholas Klinefeldt.
Ruhl will be sentenced at the U.S. Courthouse in Davenport on a later date.
"We want to make it clear that Rul&Ruhl REALTORS is not connected to Chuck Ruhl Jr. or NAI Ruhl & Ruhl Commercial Company in any way," said a statement from Ruhl&Ruhl President Caroline Ruhl. "The two entities have been owned and operated separately since January 1, 1998. There is no cross ownership."
A statement from Ruhl & Ruhl Insurance echoed the desire for clarity regarding the various companies bearing the Ruhl name.
"Due to recent news articles, we want to make you aware that Ruhl & Ruhl Insurance is not affiliated in any way with Chuck Ruhl Jr., Ruhl & Ruhl Commercial Company or Ruhl & Ruhl Real Estate," said a statement sent to News 8 by Alexa Vikel of Ruhl & Ruhl Insurance. "Ruhl & Ruhl Insurance has been a separate entity since 1982 and is an affiliate of Two Rivers Financial Group."