A former employe of a Springfield stock brokerage firm yesterday was sentenced to serve two years probation following his no contest plea to a charge of transporting unregistered securities in connection with the collapse of a local real estate venture.
Richard M. Kulak, formerly of Kulak, Voss & Co., Inc., had been under federal investigation in connection with a scheme to defraud investors of the real estate venture known as Research Homes, Inc.
Investors in the firm included former presidential press secretary Ron Nessen, Galloping Gourmet Graham Kerr, restaurant executive Woodrow Marriott and about 500 others.
Judge Albert V. Bryan Jr., of the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, said that Kulak personally had been uninvolved in fraud and had "no participation in any securities transaction" related to an alleged fraudulent scheme. Kulak could have received a maximum sentence of five years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
The founder of the bankrupt firm, James W. Dyer, pleaded guilty Wednesday to selling unregistered securities and conspiracy to sell unregistered securities. Dyer was the third person charged in the collapse of the firm, a subdivision developer which was declared bankrupt in 1977.
"I'm sorry for being involved in this," Kulak told Bryan yesterday in court. "I know more about securities law now than I've ever known before."
The circumstances of Research Homes' collapse were first investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission which brought suit two years ago. The SEC accused RHI's directors, in a civil lawsuit, of defrauding about 500 mostly Washington area investors of RHI.
The problems began in the early 1970s when RHI wad developing two major projects, the 2,500-acre Crows Nest Harbor on the Potomac River in Stafford County, Va., and Pinehurst near Annapolis.
When the projects collapsed, investors lost money on both stock in the corporation and lots in the two developments.
Many of the victims were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - the Mormon Church-who alleged that Dyer, a former Morman missionary, used his religious background to sway investors.
After Kulak's no contest plea on March 9, Kulak's employment with the Springfield firm was terminated and the firm changed its name to Vos & Co. Inc.