A federal grand jury indicted a Franklin couple for what prosecutors allege was a wire fraud conspiracy.
According to a news release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana, 56-year-old Haskell Knight, also known as “Trey Knight,” and 37-year-old Emily Knight, also known as “Emily Ricciardelli" and “Emily Fryer,” plead not guilty to charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Prosecutors allege that beginning in March 2016, the husband and wife, who then lived in Texas and Florida, purported to have started a new business in which Haskell Knight raised investment funds and Emily Knight handled the business' bank account.
That business, known as Udoxa, allegedly market nutritional supplements, but prosecutors said that it never actually conducted any sales, even after they said that the couple raised a total of $200,000 from four investors to start the business, with contributions of $50,000 each.
"Haskell Knight solicited investments under false pretenses and then did little to follow through with starting the business. Knight misrepresented the existence of a rich investor, available formation capital, and the strength of the startup, all to obtain funding, and then failed to use the funds in the agreed-upon manner," the news release reads.
Prosecutors also allege that Emily Knight accepted a total of $100,000 in wire transfers from two investors, one of whom lived in Baton Rouge, La., and used the money to pay old business debts and personal expenses, with none of the money going towards the company.
No additional information about the case was released.