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Local News in Brief : Man Gets 25 Years for Bilking Investors

A former Mission Viejo man, described by a prosecutor as a money-hungry shark who led “a feeding frenzy over the life savings of hundreds of hard-working Americans,” was sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison by a federal judge in Los Angeles.

Joel Fisch, 58, whose precious metals trading firm operated in 1983 and 1984 under the name First Trading Group, was convicted of swindling about 2,000 U.S. and Canadian investors out of about $8.6 million.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Leon W. Weidman told U.S. District Judge James M. Ideman that Fisch and others “gorged themselves on the $8.6 million of these victims’ hard-earned savings in a lust for limousines, yachts and penthouses.”

Fisch’s firm engaged in telephone sales of precious metals futures contracts, but never purchased the contracts.

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Five other defendants have been convicted in the case, including Fisch’s wife, Joan, who received probation, and his son, Todd, who received a 20-year sentence.


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