Man accused of bilking investors through Pa. business


MERRIMACK - A Merrimack man accused of stealing at least half a million dollars through fraudulent business transactions in another state was arrested Wednesday morning at his home, police said. Bernard J. Coker, 56, of 2 Landau Way, faces multiple felony charges stemming from "fraudulent and deceptive business and investment practices" in Doylestown, Pa., according to Merrimack police. At the beginning of the year, two Doylestown residents contacted their local police about problems with Landau Properties LLC, a company run by Coker in which they had invested money, said Det. Frank Bochenek of the Doylestown Township Police Department. Bochenek was unsure exactly what kind of company it is, but said investors were told that houses would be purchased, rehabilitated and then sold for a profit that would be shared. After numerous property investments, Bochenek said, investors had no returns on their money and could not reach Coker. Several more victims have approached police since, reporting a total of $500,000 in losses through the Landau operation. Doylestown police issued a warrant for Coker's arrest last month. Bochenek said Coker has several addresses in Bucks County, but that he primarily worked out of his home in Merrimack. Bochenek declined to say how his department pinpointed Coker in this state. Merrimack police received copies of the warrant Wednesday morning. Officers then went to Coker's house and arrested him at 9:15 a.m., charging him as a fugitive from justice. Coker was brought to the Hillsborough County House of Corrections and is scheduled for arraignment in Merrimack District Court this morning at 8 a.m. If Coker waives extradition, he will be brought back to Bucks County, Pa., to face charges. If not, the Doylestown police plan to solicit the Pennsylvania attorney general to obtain a warrant from the governor to return Coker to that state. Bochenek said he anticipates more victims coming forward. He said his department is receiving assistance from the Pennsylvania Securities Commission, which oversees investments and security sales transfers. Coker, he said, is in violation of its regulations. Coker, his wife Suzanne Coker and Landau Properties LLC have also been named in a federal breach of contract suit in U.S. District Court in eastern Pennsylvania. Landau Properties LLC is registered with the secretary of state's office. The entity was started in 2003, according to its registration form. It is currently listed as "not in good standing," which generally indicates that a vendor has not filed required returns or paid fees in accordance with state law.
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