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April 28. 2013 12:08AM

Two sides in alleged Ponzi scheme suit near agreement

CONCORD ­- Two sides in a civil suit over an alleged Ponzi scheme that cost investors millions appear to be headed for a settlement, but not one that will get the accused perpetrator off the hook.

Park Construction of Fitzwilliam, which claims to have lost $15 million, sued Eric Olson of Rindge last year. The company claimed that the investment scam was operated by Olson's nephew, Aaron Olson, in partnership with his uncle. Eric Olson later filed suit against his nephew, claiming he was a victim, too.

On March 26, attorneys for Park Construction and Eric Olson filed a "stipulation for dismissal" in the case of Park v. Eric Olson, while stating that, "dismissal of the claims in this matter shall have no effect on or impair the right of any party to pursue claims against Aaron Olson or any entity owned or controlled by Aaron Olson, specifically including the claims asserted in the case of Eric Olson v. Aaron Olson."

But on April 10, attorneys for Park and Eric Olson filed a request for the court to "strike the order for dismissal," claiming it was filed prematurely and should be held in abeyance until July 8.

Given the consolidation of cases against Aaron Olson and a pending settlement between Park Construction and Eric Olson, the case is now likely to focus on Aaron Olson as a sole defendant.

In suing his nephew, Eric Olson brought to light many of the dynamics of the alleged fraud that divided a close-knit community of families with shared ethnic and religious ties in the Rindge and New Ipswich area.

Eric Olson in his lawsuit maintains that Aaron represented to his family, fellow parishioners and friends that he was a highly successful investment manager, when he was actually "preying on the love and affection of family members and the esteem and friendship of his other victims."

The lawsuit claims that Aaron induced investors with "elaborate representations" that included tax forms, periodic account statements and printouts from investment management websites designed to make them believe that their money had been used to make highly successful trades in blue chip equities like Bank of America, Dell, Cisco, GE and Microsoft.

The losses involving investors from across the country could be in the hundreds of millions. The state Bureau of Securities Regulation and the U.S. District Attorney are both investigating the case, but have refused to comment on the record, as have attorneys for all sides.

The agreement between Park Construction and Eric Olson appears to have been held up on a technicality. The request to strike the settlement until July notes that one of the terms of the deal was that it be held for 90 days, pending the "recording of certain mortgages."

Other documents related to the settlement reveal that Eric Olson has an offer on property at 19 Madison Ave., in Winchendon, Mass. Once that transaction is complete, Eric Olson has agreed to put $35,000 in trust with his law firm - money that is likely part of the settlement with Park Construction.

dsolomon@unionleader.com


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