Man Charged with 167 Felony Counts in $20 Million Ponzi Scheme
A California man faces securities fraud and other charges after an alleged Ponzi scheme took millions from investors. Our investment fraud attorneys explain.
On Tuesday, June 5, 2012, 71-year-old Aldo Joseph Baccala, of Petaluma, California, was charged with 167 felony counts that included elder abuse, securities fraud, and grand theft. The felony counts come in relation to an alleged $20 million Ponzi scheme that affected about 50 investors total. Baccala is also believed to have been involved in additional fraud-related activity, which caused losses of more than $3.2 million.
According to prosecutors in the case, Baccala lured in investors through his Baccala Realty, Inc. by offering returns on investments related to several ventures, including a car wash and an assisted living facility. Some investors were promised returns of more than 12% annually, but Baccala is accused of instead using investors’ money to cover trading losses, pay off prior investors, and pay his own personal expenses. It has been reported that many of the alleged victims in the case were either elderly or had known Baccala for years.
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris stated that, “This Ponzi scheme caused dozens of investors to lose the money they thought they would be securing and investing. It is important to protect investors from being duped by false representations from criminal actors.” Baccala is currently being held at Sonoma County Adult Detention Facility and bail has been set at $2 million.