|Pictured Above: William Warren Baker. Source: Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
William Warren Baker was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to 13 felony counts of making false statements in the sale and purchase of securities and one felony count of grand theft from the U.S. Social Security Administration. Baker recruited acquaintances from his church to invest in his business which he claimed involved the purchase, remodel and sale of distressed homes. However, Baker did not own a business, and instead was running a $1,000,000 Ponzi scheme. After pleading guilty to 14 felony charges, Baker now has to pay around $900,000 in restitution and $1.8 million in state fines.
California Securities Fraud occurs when a person lures another to buy or sell something based on false information. Here, Baker convinced people that he was running a lawful business when in fact he was just investing the money into one piece of property that he deeded to his son. Punishments for fraud include jail/prison time, probation, restitution and court fines. If the fraud occurred in more than one state, it would be a federal crime and would come with additional penalties. Therefore, if you are charged with fraud or grand theft, call an experienced criminal defense attorney right away to assist you.