Amish wants no-contest plea in Ohio fraud case

October 25, 2011 - 1:15 PM

CLEVELAND (AP) — A northeast Ohio man charged with defrauding fellow Amish in 29 states out of nearly $17 million wants to plead no contest on religious grounds.

But the attorney for 77-year-old Monroe L. Beachy, owner of A&M Investments in Sugarcreek, says a no-contest plea isn't in his best interest. Amish traditionally avoid involvement in the court system.

Defense attorney J. Gerald Ingram expects the government to oppose a no-contest plea. The government hasn't commented.

Beachy promised investors safe securities but allegedly moved money to riskier investments. He declined to elaborate Monday on the religious grounds for a no-contest plea.

Beachy's investment company filed for bankruptcy protection last year.

The defense highlighted the religion issue in a request to delay Beachy's Tuesday arraignment in Youngstown because of a schedule conflict.