Thursday, June 24, 2004

Securities charges heading to courtroom

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Greg Ballard and Paul Suchanek's defense against Clermont County securities charges will be simple: We lost money, too.

In fact, Ballard will argue that he lost $158,000 of his own money, plus plenty more from relatives, in various investments, according to his attorney Phillip Lehmkuhl of Mount Vernon.

"Does a con artist put his money in the same deal he's recommending?" Lehmkuhl asked.

But that's not the story prosecutors will tell when the trial starts in Batavia in early July. Through an indictment in August 2003, they say Ballard and Suchanek sold more than $780,000 in notes to mostly elderly investors, promising "guaranteed" returns of up to 15 percent.

The pair, operators of Global Financial Strategies in Fort Wright, each face 13 counts of selling unregistered securities. The charges could bring each of the men more than 100 years in prison if they should be convicted on all counts.

Ballard is now living in Mason and works as an estate-planning consultant, Lehmkuhl said. There have been no real plea negotiations, and attorneys on both sides said they expect a joint trial for the two men to start on schedule.

While it isn't part of the Clermont County indictment, Ballard and Suchanek also sold securities in Wellington Bank and Trust, which was based in Grenada and operated by two other local men, John Brinker and Gary Bentz.

They have their own legal problems, each facing 102 counts of securities charges in Ripley County, Ind. A trial date is set for January.

Coming and going

The acquisition of German giant Wella AG has driven change throughout Procter & Gamble Co.'s global hair-care operation. One close to home: Cincinnati's Rob Matteucci, who had spearheaded the integration of Clairol and then headed the Clairol operation in Stamford, Conn., is retiring at the end of September.

Matteucci, 51, is vice president of global hair color/professional products and was working out of the Clairol offices. He started at P&G in June 1977 as a brand assistant for Head & Shoulders.

I want a new drug

Tom Arington's new generic drug at Prasco Laboratories will compete directly with other products he knows well.

Arington formed Prasco in 2002 after he completed the sale of Duramed Pharmaceuticals Inc., where he was chairman and chief executive officer. Earlier this month, Prasco unveiled its first partnership with a major drug company to market a generic birth-control drug, Solia.

Solia will be an alternative to brand-name contraceptives like Desogen and Ortho-Cept, but its main battles will be with Apri, which was one of the products that Duramed brought to its merger with Barr Pharmaceuticals. Apri posted sales of about $121 million last year.

"I've still got friends at Barr," Arington said. "But in the business world, you sometimes end up in a competitive position with people."



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