Man gets 18 years for Ponzi scheme

A 68-year-old Orange man has been sentenced to 18 years in state prison for bilking $2.6 million from investors in a Ponzi and real estate fraud scheme, which targeted some elderly Newport Beach-area residents.

Joseph Anthony Veltre pleaded guilty to 112 felony counts, including 60 counts of grand theft, 17 counts of elder financial exploitation by a non-caregiver, 17 counts of residential burglary, 13 counts of forgery, three counts of recording false documents, one count of commercial burglary, one count of identity theft, and white-collar-crime sentencing enhancements for loss of more than $500,000, the Orange County district attorney's office said Tuesday in a news release.

The court offered the plea arrangement.

Apart from the prison sentencing, Veltre was ordered to pay $2.64 million in restitution.

According to the news release, between 2002 and 2007 Veltre defrauded eight people in a Ponzi and real estate fraud scheme. A Ponzi scheme offers investors high, short-term returns on investments; but instead of using the money to generate actual income and legitimate profits, the money from the investors is kept for the benefit of the defendant or used to repay earlier investors.

Newport Beach police arrested Veltre in May 2009 after receiving complaints from some of his alleged victims.

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