AG Harris Announces Sentence for Perpetrator Ponzi Scheme
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced that defendant Aldo Joseph Baccala, who ran a Ponzi scheme that defrauded victims more than $17 million, was sentenced to 20 years in state prison and ordered to pay a fine of $6.4 million at a hearing today in Sonoma County.
“This fraudulent investment scheme cheated dozens of elderly investors out of millions of their hard-earned dollars,” Attorney General Harris said. “The dedicated investigators in our Financial Fraud Section, along with our local partners, will continue to protect California’s investors and consumers by bringing perpetrators like him to justice.”
“Along with the Attorney General’s Office, our office expended incredible resources in order to bring this scam artist to justice,” District Attorney Jill Ravitch said. “The scale and scope of this man’s fraud on unsuspecting investors is staggering. That so many of his victims lost their livelihoods, their homes and their retirement savings, to this man’s scheming and greed is beyond tragic. This was not just a fraud he perpetrated, but a crime against their futures and the emotional toll is incalculable. Thus, we believed his loss of liberty should be in proportion to their loss.”
Baccala was arrested in June of 2012 and charged with grand theft, securities fraud and elder abuse. On March 12 of this year, Baccala entered no contest pleas to 140 counts and admitted to excessive taking and white collar enhancements. The case was jointly prosecuted by both the Attorney General’s Financial Fraud and Special Prosecutions Section and the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office.
Consumers should exercise caution with investments that seem too good to be true and contain promises that cannot be verified or authenticated. Consumers may report suspected fraud or elder abuse to the Attorney General’s Office here:https://oag.ca.gov/bmfea/