United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced last week that Philip Elvin Riehl, 68, of Bethel Township, Berks County, former majority owner of the shuttered Trickling Springs Creamery in Chambersburg, was charged by Information with conspiracy, securities fraud, and wire fraud, stemming from an investigation into a Ponzi scheme worth approximately $60 million. The alleged fraud targeted members of the Mennonite and Amish religious communities in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, and is one of the largest Pennsylvania-based alleged Ponzi schemes in history.
Riehl, an accountant, is alleged to have fraudulently solicited tens of millions of dollars in investments, from his accounting clients and others, into a bogus investment program that he operated. Riehl then diverted funds from the program to Trickling Springs Creamery LLC, a Chambersburg-based creamery of which he was the majority owner. Riehl also fraudulently solicited direct investments in Trickling Springs Creamery. The Information further alleges that Riehl made material misrepresentations about the safety and security of these investments in his program and about the performance of the program, as well as misrepresentations and omissions about the creamery’s business and financial condition. Trickling Springs Creamery announced it was ceasing operations in September of 2019 and filed a bankruptcy petition in December 2019.