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4 arrested in alleged scheme that targeted elderly

Posted: September 21, 2012 9:00 p.m.
Updated: September 21, 2012 9:00 p.m.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Authorities have arrested four California residents for allegedly running a Ponzi scheme that defrauded dozens of investors out of $2.3 million from 2003 to 2011.

Attorney General Kamala Harris said Friday that the four suspects were charged with 66 felony counts of elder abuse, securities fraud and conspiracy.

Officials say husband and wife Philip and Ellen Lester, both 65, were arrested Thursday in Riverside County. Susan Laferte and Jonathan Blinder, both 58, were taken into custody Thursday in Nevada County.

Philip Lester was the CEO of a Grass Valley real estate company called Gold Country Lenders. Laferte is Lester's sister and the company's chief financial officer.

Harris says the defendants exploited personal relationships with elderly victims and "emptied their bank accounts."

The defendants could not be reached for comment Friday.



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