The former president and chief, executive office of Penn Dixie Industries has been indicted on charges of defrauding that company out of more than $3 million in a Florida land deal.
Jerome Castle, 43, of Miami Beach, who was fired from those positions in May 1977 and who resigned as a director of the New York-based steel and construction materials firm last December, was indicted in U.S. District Court in New York yesterday.
Arnold Aronoff, 47, of Birmingham, Mich, vice president of the Edward C. Levy Co. in Detroit, and Edward Robinson, 41, of St. Clair, Mich., a real estate consultant and former Michigan state senator, also were indicted.
The grand jury indictment alleges that the three men conspired to purchase a block of 12,500 acres of Florida land for about $5.7 million and then sell 5.500 acres of that - mostly swamp land - to Penn Dixie for $5.9 million.
The three men then still had 7,000 acres of acceptable land for no investment at the expense of Penn Dixie, the indictment charged.
Robert Fiske Jr., U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said the Securities and Exchange Commission had investigated the fraud initially and greatly assisted his business fraud unit, which brought the case before the grand jury.
According to U.S. Attorney Thomas Sears, Aronoff and the flamboyant Castle worked out an agreement under which Aronoff would purchase the land through an offshore trust account he controlled at Castle Bank and Trust Ltd., in the Cayman Islands.
The indictment chargges that Castle's father, Herbert Kesselmen, received 20 percent interest in the 7,000 acres in exchange for Casstle's efforts to get the Penn-Dixie board of directors to buy the other 5,500 acres.
The indicament also charged that Robinson billed Penn-Dixie for $17,000 in services he actually did not perform and that Castle and Aronoff helped clear the bill. t the past 14 months, the special products department at IBM, a semi-sec