Ponzi Scammer Faces CA Charges in Printing Ruse
SANTA ANA, CA—A Minnesota man convicted of running a Ponzi scheme based around a phony commercial printing company that bilked investors in eight states out of more than $150 million now must face the music in California.
Gerard Cellette, 48, was extradited to The Golden State on Wednesday to face arraignment on 116 felony counts, United Press International (UPI) reported. The Orange County District Attorney's office said that Cellette allegedly victimized 55 investors out of $21 million in that county alone between 2005 and 2009. It is the largest Ponzi scheme in Orange County history.
Cellette stands accused of soliciting investments in a fake printing company that he claimed had lucrative contracts with major corporations. He promised investors 10 to 15 percent returns on investments and used ersatz contracts to support the alleged fraud.
He pleaded guilty to similar charges in Minnesota in 2010 and was sentenced to eight years in prison.
Cellette spent the investors' money on luxury cars, trips on private jets and a number of homes, including some fitted with bowling alleys, the UPI reported.