Bilked Investors Face a Long Wait

Times Staff Writer

About 450 seniors, some who lost their entire savings in an alleged $178-million securities scam, met with authorities at the Riverside Convention Center on Wednesday to voice their concerns and receive updates on the ongoing criminal case.

The meeting, sponsored by Riverside County’s Curtailing Abuse Related to the Elderly program, featured a panel that included court-appointed receiver Robb Evans and officials from the state Department of Corporations, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Riverside County district attorney’s office.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Richard West told the investors that efforts to prosecute the four men from D.W. Heath and Associates likely “is going to take a long time.”


The four allegedly operated a Ponzi scheme, paying early investors with money from new investors.

Prosecutors hope a trial can begin within a year of the preliminary hearing, which is set for late summer or early fall.

Daniel William Heath, 48, his father, John William Heath, 78, and business partners Denis Timothy O’Brien, 50, and Larre Jaye Schlarmann, 49, are charged with 233 counts, including selling false securities, grand theft, stealing and embezzling from the elderly.

Each is being held on $144-million bail.