Convicted Ponzi schemer William Apostelos is challenging his 15-year federal prison sentence alleging ineffective assistance of counsel.
Apostelos, 57, of Springboro, was sentenced June 30, 2017, in Dayton’s U.S. District Court after pleading guilty to mail fraud in connection with a Ponzi scheme.
Apostelos and his wife Connie — also in federal prison — had been indicted on 27 counts related to shell companies used to bring in $66.7 million from 350 investors, many of whom lost hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.
Filing pro se (without an attorney), Apostelos entered a motion to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence. Apostelos also asked for more time to file the motion because he is defending two other court actions. A form requires the grounds for the motion.
“Trial counsel, never discussed or advised the Defendant of the ‘on advice of counsel defense,’ or discussed that his conduct would be ‘unwilling’ if he was acting on said advice had counsel discussed the defense, the Defendant would not have pled guilty to the charges,” Apostelos wrote of his Ground One.
In his Ground Two, Apostelos wrote that his attorney refused to obtain forensic accountings and filings and that his guilty plea was not knowingly or voluntarily entered into. He wrote that led to a “Hobson’s Choice” of either going to trial without a developed defense and likely substantial sentence or plead guilty.
In his Ground Three, Apostelos wrote that each of the alleged victims who testified at his sentencing hearing were actually “net winners,” according to a civil lawsuit filed in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.
Apostelos admits that none of the reasons for his filing were in his appeal, saying “all the grounds are outside of the record, and thus were unavailable.”
In a series of affidavits, Apostelos wrote that “my public defender informed me that innocence was not a defense, and indicated that I should plead guilty” and that he was told he was “only going to get about 60 months” in prison.
Apostelos had a couple of hired attorneys representing him but finished court proceedings with federal public defender Art Mullins. Mullins did not return a message seeking comment.
Apostelos asks for the court to “set aside the guilty plea, a new trial with competant [sic] counsel, and/or a new sentencing.”
Apostelos is housed in the Elkton Federal Correctional Institution in Lisbon, Ohio, as Inmate 73404-061. His anticipated release date is July 18, 2030.
Apostelos also has filed documents in cases related to bankruptcy and Securities and Exchange Commission complaints against him.
Court records indicate that forfeiture is ongoing on Apostelos’ business building in Springboro, a farm and its associated rent in Clark County, and the approval for the sale of a residence in Washington Twp.