Jurors began deliberating Thursday afternoon in the investment fraud trial of Kimm Hannan.

CANTON  Jurors will return Friday to continue deliberations in the trial of a Stark County financial adviser charged with 53 counts of securities-related fraud.

Kimm C. Hannan, 67, of Jackson Township, faces decades in prison if convicted, depending on whether any of the charges are merged for sentencing purposes. The defendant is also charged with single felony counts of aggravated theft and theft from a person in a protected class.

Closing arguments were delivered Thursday in Stark County Common Pleas Court before Judge Chryssa Hartnett.

Stark County Assistant Prosecutor Joe Vance said that Hannan orchestrated and perpetrated "nothing but a con" on five clients.

Dollars paid to Hannan totaled roughly $1.7 million spread over five clients, including $800,000 from one married couple, the assistant prosecutor said. The fraudulent conduct occurred between 2014 and 2017 and included victims both inside and outside Stark County, according to testimony.

Hannan worked in the financial industry for decades, achieving great success before he ran into money problems, according to testimony.

During closing arguments, Vance told jurors Hannan used the savings and retirement funds of investors as a "piggy bank" for his failing business ventures, including two dry-cleaning properties in Stark County, a proposed dog daycare business and a human-resources outfit. Investor funds, which the defense characterized as loans, also were wrongly spent on Hannan 's personal expenses, spousal support and business-related debt, according to bank records introduced during the trial.

Vance also said records indicate Hannan spent some of the investor funds on rent at a downtown Canton upscale apartment. More than $100,000 in investor funds were spent at casinos, the assistant prosecutor said.

A prosecution witness testified that Hannan wagered hundreds per hand on card games at a Cleveland casino and was known by employees by name. Hannan also spent time in an exclusive area of the casino, according to testimony.

Attorney Kenneth Frame, of the Stark County Public Defender's Office, emphasized to jurors that under the law the prosecution has the burden of proving his client's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It's not up to the defense to prove Hannan's innocence, Frame said.

"If you put yourself in (Hannan's) mind you'll find he had no (intent) to defraud these people," he said.

Frame also questioned some of the prosecution's evidence, noting a forensic auditor had been unaware of a Hannan-related check totaling more than $100,000.

In opening statements, Frame had told jurors his client violated investment-related rules but not the law. That was not a point he emphasized in closing arguments.

Vance cited Hannan's recorded interview with officials from the Ohio Division of Securities in which he admitted to spending investor funds or loans on personal expenses without their knowledge. The defendant also admitted he didn't disclose the problems he was having with his business ventures making payroll or turning a profit.

The Ohio Division of Securities had received a tip accusing Hannan of heading a Ponzi scheme. Vance said that's exactly what Hannan did by using new investor funds to pay old investors.

Janice Hitzeman, attorney inspector with the Ohio Division of Securities, testified earlier this week that Hannan clearly violated the Ohio Securities Act by neglecting to make full disclosure of important information related to the investments and his businesses. She also said that even if the money paid to Hannan was a loan, it's still considered a security and investment under the law.

Hitzeman also testified Hannan had asked state investigators if they wanted to invest in a new business idea of his so he could generate money to pay back investors and remedy the situation. State officials rebuked the offer.

Frame addressed that point during closing arguments.

"I'd argue that shows his dedication in trying to make this work and in trying to do the right thing," the defense attorney said.

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