MORRISON – The man accused of holding an Erie couple for ransom is facing new charges after investigators say he wrote the couple – twice – pretending to be a home invasion victim named “Elouisa Mae,” and asking them to help their kidnapper.
Chad C. Schipper, 41, of Geneseo, was charged Friday in Whiteside County Court with four counts of harassing a witness, which carries 3 to 7 years in prison.
Investigators say Schipper kidnapped Larry and Connie VanOosten at gunpoint from their home on Feb. 7, 2017, and held them in a secret room in a vacant home he owned in Geneseo, using a stun gun to keep them subdued. He then forced them to get a $350,000 cashier’s check from their Albany bank to pay their own ransom.
Police, who were alerted to a possible abduction by a teller, spotted Schipper’s car the next day; he led them on a high-speed chase that ended with his arrest.
He’s now accused of sending the VanOostens two letters, one on April 23 in which he purports to be Elouisa Mae, home invasion victim, and the other on April 30, in which Elouisa Mae encourages the couple “to ask for a lenient sentence for Chad C. Schipper.”
His preliminary hearing is July 2. His $1 million bond in the kidnapping case applies.
He’s also being sued by his parents, who say he bilked them out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Schipper is charged in the kidnapping case with 16 felonies: home invasion with a firearm, two counts of armed violence, two counts of aggravated kidnapping with ransom, two counts of aggravated kidnapping with concealed identity, two counts of aggravated kidnapping with a firearm, and two counts of aggravated kidnapping while armed with a stun gun, all of which carry 6 to 30 years in prison; theft by threat of between $100,000 and $500,000, which carries 4 to 15 years; and two counts of aggravated battery while wearing a hood, robe or mask and two counts of aggravated unlawful restraint, all of which carry 2 to 5 years.
State’s Attorney Terry Costello is asking for a sentence enhancement of 15 years for the home invasion and aggravated kidnapping with a firearm charges, and for a minimum of 15 years for the armed violence charges.
Schipper has a pretrial conference June 26, and a tentative trial date of July 10.
In their suit, his parents, Marlyn E. and Linda Schipper, 73 and 71, say he stole more than $444,000 from them over 4 years in his capacity as their financial investor.
The kidnapping investigation lead to the discovery that he lied about several investments he purported to have made on their behalf, the Schippers said in their suit, which was filed July 20 in Whiteside County Court.
They are seeking reimbursement plus interest, attorney fees and unspecified punitive damages.
The VanOostens and the elder Schippers reportedly attended the same church.
Schipper, an Erie High School graduate and father of six, ran Schipper Financial Services LLC in his home. He opened the business on July 12, 2013, but had not been a registered investment adviser or broker since September 2013, according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which regulates businesses and people selling securities in the U.S.
He is represented by Whiteside County Public Defender James Heuerman.