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Oak Harbor man taken by U.S. Marshals, dies in Georgia prison

A 65-year-old Oak Harbor man who was sent to a state prison after being caught trying to solicit an underage girl for sex died in a privately operated prison in Georgia last month.

A spokesman for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Jonathon Kruse, a 35-year resident of Oak Harbor, passed away July 27 at the D. Ray James Correctional Facility. The cause is under investigation, the spokesman said, but indications are that Kruse committed suicide.

The U.S. Marshal’s Office had moved Kruse from the state prison in Shelton to Georgia in order to stand trial in federal court in Jacksonville, Fla. He and his brother, Paul Kruse, were charged with defrauding investors with a sham investment product.

Paul Kruse, a resident of Jacksonville, and Jonathon Kruse both worked as financial planners, even though Jonathon Kruse’s financial licenses had been permanently terminated for previously misrepresenting financial information to clients and forging financial documents.

A grand jury indicted the Kruses in U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, on March 28 with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

The indictment states that “the conspirators would and did solicit friends, family, and former clients (victim investors) to invest in a fraudulent and sham investment product allegedly provided by Yorkshire Financial Services, LLC.”

Paul Kruse incorporated Yorkshire Financial Services in 2010, but he and his brother represented to investors that Yorkshire had “over 30 years of continuous operations making us one of the oldest financial services in the United States.”

The court file indicates that the Kruses defrauded investors in Oak Harbor, Langley, Jacksonville, Fla., the Netherlands and elsewhere.

Last year, Jonathan Kruse was ensnared in a Skagit County Sheriff’s Office operation similar to the TV show “To Catch a Predator.” Detectives at the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office posed online at Backpage.com as underage girls and corresponded with men who were interested in paying for sex.

Kruse was arrested at a gas station in Mount Vernon where he thought he was meeting a 13-year-old prostitute for sex.

Kruse pleaded guilty in Skagit County Superior Court to attempted rape of a child in the second degree. On Feb. 16, a judge handed him an indeterminate sentence with a minimum of five years and 10 months in prison.

Kruse’s name is spelled two different ways — Jonathon and Jonathan — in court records.

 

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