Rebekah Fairchild and Rebekah Riddell both received probation for their roles in William Apostelos’ Ponzi scheme that bilked hundreds of investors out of at least $32 million. FILE PHOTO

Apostelos’ sister, niece get probation in Ponzi scheme case

William Apostelos’ sister and niece — who said they were in fear of him and his wife — both received three years’ probation for their minor roles in the Ponzi scheme for which Apostelos received a 15-year sentence.

Rebekah “Reba” Fairchild, 54, and her daughter, Rebekah “Becky” Riddell, 31, had both earlier pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy in Dayton’s U.S. District Court. They faced a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

RELATED: Apostelos sentenced to 15 years in prison

They had agreed to testify for the prosecution if Apostelos had gone to trial because his clients lost more than $32 million. Both worked for Apostelos’ various Springboro investment businesses.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Rose said that Fairchild — who earned $17 per hour — and Riddell — who made $8.10 per hour — did not benefit from the scheme and that it was “stupid” to conspire in any capacity when they realized there was illegal activity.

RELATED: Apostelos pleads guilty to Ponzi scheme

For her guilty plea of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, Riddell also was ordered to pay $15,072 in restitution. For her guilty plea of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, Fairchild also was ordered to pay $23,840 in restitution.

“This was stupid,” Rose told Riddell. “As soon as you got a flag, you should have run for the hills.”

RELATED: Seizures in Ponzi case include race horses, cash, jewelry and artwork

Both said they were remorseful.

“I’m very sorry to the victims,” Riddell said, adding that she knows sorry doesn’t cover it. “I will never be in this position again.”

Defense attorneys’ sentencing memoranda described the mother and daughter’s difficult familial situation.

RELATED: Two plead guilty in Ponzi conspiracy

“She was berated and browbeaten by Connie Apostelos on a daily basis,” wrote Fairchild’s attorney, Michael Booher. “She continued to work there until the operation was raided in October 2014.”

Connie Apostelos — who investigators said had a $35,000 per month horse racing business and a $400 per month Victoria’s Secret bill — is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 2. She will be the last person to be sentenced in the scheme after her husband, her husband’s attorney Steven Scudder and her sister-in-law and niece.

RELATED: Centerville attorney sentenced for his role in $70 million Ponzi scheme

Riddell described how William Apostelos dodged phone calls and gave the staff things to tell irritated clients. Ridell said that despite talking to her attorney, who suggested she go to law enforcement, she did not do so: “I was scared.”

Riddell’s attorney, Adam Krumholtz, said his client was “was subservient to the whims of her uncle and aunt” and that she is “living with regret and remorse every day of her life.”

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Federal prosecutors also recommended probation for both defendants.

“She stands in stark contrast to her uncle,” assistant U.S. attorney Brent Tabacchi said of Riddell, who immediately cooperated with federal agents. “She helped connect the dots for the later part of the Ponzi scheme.

“She didn’t personally profit from the scheme. She was just an employee down there.”

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