They were known for their real estate deals Downriver. Now, a couple featured in the Hall of Shame have copped pleas for running a massive ponzi scheme.
Two years ago, I first uncovered Rita Gosselin's scheme. She posed as a Downriver real estate mogul who bought houses cheap using investors' cash, then was supposed to use her husband Richard's construction company to fix up the houses, which she would then sell for huge profits.
Dozens of investors handed over ten of thousands of dollars after initial investors reaped the big profits, but those profits turned out to be just money from new investors.
When I checked on these properties, I found out they weren't fixed up. They weren't paid for with cash. In fact, they were mortgaged several times over.
And Rita Gosselin wouldn't answer any of my questions. I put her in the Hall of Shame.
Rita was arrested and jailed, but a sympathetic judge released her on bond. She repaid the judge by cutting her electronic monitoring tether and fleeing the state.
Rita Ripoff became Rita Runaway. Her husband also fled when he was charged with several felonies related to the scheme.
After six months on the run, the couple was arrested hiding out in a tiny Tennessee town and brought back to Michigan to face charges.
Now, the Gosselins are guilty -- Rita Gosselin on three counts of taking money under false pretenses over $20,000 and racketeering, Richard Gosselin on three counts of taking money under false pretenses over $20,000.
Joy Yearout with the attorney general's office tells me Richard Gosselin had three felonies dropped in exchange for his guilty plea. He will be jailed for one year and must pay restitution.
Rita had charged dropped for her plea, as well. However, she will likely be sentenced from five to 20 years in state prison.
Sentencing is scheduled for March tenth.