The founder of Noah's Event Venue in South Jordan and five co-defendants have been charged with 18 counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud by a federal grand jury in Salt Lake City.

The U.S. Attorney's Office of Utah says founder William J. Bowser, 60, of Hendersonville, North Carolina, and his co-conspirators defrauded victims, mostly the elderly and retired, of more than $30 million after they were persuaded to invest in Noah Event Centers, according to a statement released Monday.

Court documents say the defendants conspired to carry out a nationwide scheme from January 2015 to May 2019.

Bowser and his co-defendants used "glossy marketing materials showing pictures of beautifully constructed buildings and promising impressive long-term financial returns," according to the federal prosecutors. They didn't use investor money as promised, misappropriating funds to pay large commissions and investors, the indictment says.

Other defendants include:

  • Christopher J. Ashby, 49, of Salt Lake County
  • Scott W. Beynon, 46, of Davis County
  • Jordan S. Nelson, 42, of Salt Lake County
  • Scott L. Rutherford, 51, of Utah County
  • John D. Hamrick, 64, of Franconia, New Hampshire, the vice president and director of Edmund and Wheeler Inc.

Their initial court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 14 at the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City.

Previously, U.S. District Judge Joel T. Marker ordered Noah's Event Venue to close in February 2020 after the company declared bankruptcy in May 2019.