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July 17. 2013 10:25PM

Settlement reached, but Ponzi case expected to advance

CONCORD — A Superior Court judge has approved a settlement in a civil suit against one defendant in an alleged Ponzi scheme that cost investors in the Monadnock region millions of dollars, and they retain the right to sue another

Lawyers representing Park Construction of Fitzwilliam were notified July 15 that Judge Larry M. Smukler approved their agreement with lawyers representing Eric Olson of Rindge.

The construction company claimed to have lost $15 million in an investment scam 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.

The "stipulation for dismissal" in the case of Park v. Eric Olson states 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."

The stipulation was initially filed in March, but on April 10, attorneys for Park Construction 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.

The request to hold the settlement until July noted that one of the terms of the deal was that it be held for 90 days, pending the sale of property owned by Eric Olson in Winchendon, Mass. Eric Olson agreed to put $35,000 from that transaction into a trust with his law firm as part of a settlement with Park Construction.

Given the consolidation of cases against Aaron Olson and the settlement between Park Construction and Eric Olson, the case is now likely to focus on Aaron Olson, accused of masterminding a fraud that divided a close-knit community of families with shared ethnic and religious ties in the Rindge and New Ipswich areas.

The losses involving investors from across the country could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. 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.

dsolomon@unionleader.com



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