$114 million awarded to Fresno Ponzi scheme victims
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A jury has awarded $114 million to the victims in a Fresno based Ponzi scheme. The scam cost some investors their life savings. It's a story Action News has been following for more than two years.
Heritage Pacific Leasing is the Fresno company at the center of the lawsuit. John Otto -- the man who ran Heritage Pacific -- and other high-ranking employees are accused of getting clients to invest in the company using fake leases.
Investors gave Otto money -- and Otto would make pay outs... not with lease revenues ... but with money from other investors. Eventually that money ran out.
Attorney: "The verdict is essentially the first step for them to recover the money they lost in the scheme. I hope that people who are planning to do these schemes understand there's a major risk on their end to try to pull one of these off because they always fail in the end."
After sending letters to his investors saying their payments dried up, Otto took his own life.
In all, 800 victims in the Fresno area joined in the lawsuit and will be repaid all or some of their losses as part of the $114 million verdict.
lawsuit, scams, fresno, fresno county, local
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