GV-area woman indicted for Ponzi scheme
SANTA ANA – Six individuals have been indicted in a $17 million international scam, court records claim. Among them was 60-year-old Daisy M. Burlingame of the Grass Valley area, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
A Friday call to an Alta Sierra phone listing for Burlingame wasn’t returned. Court documents also mention an Alta Sierra property on Brewer Road that could be seized if she’s convicted.
On Thursday, federal agents arrested four officers at Richard A. Parker’s financing firm, Morgan, Weinstein & Co. The arrests came a week after Parker, 78, was taken into custody by agents who believed he was preparing to flee to Europe.
Parker, a Laguna Niguel businessman who once offered to finance construction of the world’s tallest skyscraper in Chicago, has been indicted along with his son and four others for allegedly committing wire and mail fraud, money laundering and conspiracy.
Burlingame, who reportedly began working for Morgan, Weinstein & Co. in 1998, was arrested in Grass Valley before appearing in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, said U.S Attorney spokesman Thom Mrozek.
She was released on a $240,000 unsecured bond and $10,000 cash bond, a clerk said. She’s scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 11 in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana with the other defendants.
Court documents allege the group swindled more than 400 companies worldwide out of $17 million in a long-running Ponzi scheme. Court documents show a total of 33 counts of illegal activity.
Among the victims listed are airline, hotel, shipping and computer firms.
A Ponzi game is an investment scheme in which funds paid in by later investors are used to pay artificially high returns to the original investors.
Victims were allegedly tempted by false claims that Morgan, Weinstein & Co. was a well-established company with more than $30 billion in assets, according to prosecutors.
Parker’s company allegedly guaranteed more than $11 billion in loans to applicants, but never delivered on its promise, despite having collected huge retainer fees.
The retainer fees were supposed to be refunded if the loans were not approved within 180 days, but those fees were rarely paid back to loan applicants, according to investigators.
Along with Burlingame, the firm’s new-projects manager, the latest arrests included Parker’s son and chairman of the financial firm, Richard A. Parker II, 54, of San Juan Capistrano; senior analyst David A. Feldman, 62, of Fallbrook; analyst Donald L. Allen, 44, of San Diego; and Wayne Chan, 51, of Vancouver, British Columbia, who allegedly acted as a reference for Morgan, Weinstein & Co.
So far, members of the Parker family say the elder Parker and his son are innocent, and Feldman has denied the charges through his attorney, Jan L. Handzlik.
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