March 7, 2012
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster said Eric Christian Gagnepain pleaded guilty February 29 to ten counts of securities fraud and nine counts of unlawful merchandising practices for his role in running the Greenleaf Companies and The Real Estate Company in Springfield. Gagnepain was indicted on those counts by a Greene County grand jury in February 2011.
Gagnepain is the second officer of the company to plead guilty; Lane Sanders, former president of Greenleaf Companies, pleaded guilty to securities fraud and unlawful merchandising fraud charges in February 2011. Sanders’ sentence is pending.
According to Koster, Gagnepain will be sentenced to between 7 and 10 years in prison. Sentencing is set for August 3.
The cases for four other individuals indicted along with Gagnepain last February are pending. Those individuals are Scott Allen Dasal, former President of The Real Estate Company; Misty May Perkins, former Director of Investor Relations for Greenleaf; William David Strong, former Director of Finance for Greenleaf; and Robert Lee Batchman, former real estate broker for The Real Estate Company.
According to Koster, Gagnepain solicited investors to enter into investment contracts under which investors would purchase one or more new homes designated by Greenleaf. Greenleaf was responsible for the down-payment, the closing costs, and for reselling the homes. Under the terms of the investment contracts, Greenleaf would pay the investor $10,000. In soliciting consumers to enter into the investment contracts, Gagnepain willfully failed to advise investors of Greenleaf’s weak financial condition and failed to advise them that financial institutions were being misled about the true source of down payments. When Greenleaf and The Real Estate Company resold the homes, Gagnepain willfully failed to advise the purchasers that the title to the homes were held by the investors and failed to advise the consumers when the homes were in danger of foreclosure.
Koster acknowledged the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Securities Division of the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office, the Springfield Police Department, and the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office in the Greenleaf investigations.