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Laguna Niguel man accused in Ponzi scheme

March 4, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
An Orange County man has been arrested in a $900,000 Ponzi scheme. William Warren Baker, 57, Laguna Nigel, is charged with 13 felony counts of using untrue statements in the purchase or sale of securities.Investigators say Baker fraudulently promised to buy, refurbish, and re-sell distressed homes for a quick profit. The defendant is being held on $1 million bail, and must prove that the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond.

Baker is scheduled to be arraigned Monday, March 8, 2010, in Santa Ana. If convicted, Baker faces a maximum sentence of 32 years in state prison.

A Ponzi scheme is when investors are offered high, short-term returns on their investment. However, instead of the investments generating actual income, the suspect keeps the money, and uses part of it to pay off earlier investors.

Investigators say the Baker scheme included ten major investors.