SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Several people who allegedly targeted elderly residents in Sacramento and Stockton as part of a Ponzi scheme will face charges, Attorney General Rob Bonta announced.
The international scheme reportedly involved 15 people who told victims they would see “interest payments” if they invested in the construction of a resort in the Philippines.
Officials say at least 30 people, mostly local elderly Filipino residents, had their retirement savings defrauded, totaling about $5 million.
The Department of Justice says the alleged perpetrators “used their positions as financial advisors to convince elderly victims into investing in the development” of Pagudpud Sands Resort, starting sometime December 2015.
They allegedly lied to investors and said Wyndham Resorts would be managing the resort and that they would see returns on their investments.
Instead, the DOJ says investments made by victims were used to pay two of the defendants about $10,000 a month at the minimum. Their money was also used as commission payments for bringing in investors and other schemes not related to the resort.
According to the DOJ, investors rarely saw payments, and when they did, it was with money from other victims.
“Senior citizens were the direct targets of this fraudulent, international investment scheme. Our most vulnerable loved ones should never be deceived and defrauded of their hard-earned retirement money,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Those who take part in the financial abuse of elders must be held accountable for their actions.”
The 15 defendants face several charges, including financial elder abuse.