An Indiana man is facing criminal charges for allegedly swindling more than $4 million from individual investors, including members of local Amish communities, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced.

Earl D. Miller, 40, of Goshen, Ind., was charged with six counts of wire fraud in connection with the scam, which involved the sale of private investments in supposed green energy products, the release said. He was also charged with securities and bankruptcy fraud.

Miller raised at least $4.3 million from about 70 investors in 2014 and 2015, illegally using more than $1 million of the investors' money to pay off a former business partner, the indictment said.

Many of Miller's victims were novice investors, and some of them lost their life savings in the fraud, according to a related lawsuit filed by the SEC.

"He falsely told investors that he would not get paid anything for managing their funds," the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Indiana said in a press release. "Mr. Miller also did not own 'green product' patents and performed virtually no due diligence into the purported 'green' companies before placing his investors’ assets."

In 2015, Miller was sued by the SEC in federal court in connection with the scheme. The SEC won a judgment in 2019 that required Miller to pay over $5.2 million for defrauding investors in two private funds he created for investment in residential real estate and "green" products.

The SEC said in its complaint that Miller, who has a background in real estate development in Indiana, "touted his Amish heritage to raise money from the Indiana and Michigan Amish community and encouraged his victims to invest their retirement savings in his funds."

Miller's efforts to lure members of the Amish community into the scheme included ads in local Amish newspapers and community meetings with local Amish families to discuss his investment “opportunities,” the SEC said.

The companies Miller used to raise the funds were 5 Star Commercial LLC and 5 Star Capital Fund LLC, both of which were based in Mishawaka, Ind., according to the SEC. The SEC noted that many of the investments in these funds failed "almost as soon as they were made."