Victims of suspected Ponzi scheme work with detectives to stop fraud.
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Department Commercial Crimes Bureau executed search warrants this morning at the offices of Gold Credit Investments in Valencia and the Newhall home of Celia Gallardo, the founder of Gold Credit Investments and Gold Feather Realty, seizing records and computers.
Gallardo and her company are suspected of security fraud violations and mortgage fraud in dealings made with several local residents, many of them community leaders. In the raids, in which 28 detectives participated, 50 boxes of documentation and several computers were taken as evidence, according to lead investigator Detective David Lingscheit. No arrests were made.Several employees at the office were interviewed and an attempt was made to interview Gallardo at her home, but she refused, according to Lingscheit.
“We’re in the preliminary stages of the investigation and we will be preparing a case to present to the District Attorney,” Lingscheidt said. “It looks like there might be a Ponzi scheme the way the investments were handled.”
Investors and buyers dealing with Gallardo went to the sheriff during the last year when profits predicted and real estate deals turned out not to be what she promised. Several victims told KHTS that they had invested money with her or purchased income properties in Florida and Tennessee that had questionable appraisals. Many investors stand to lose their personal homes that were put up as collateral, some have already lost thousands of dollars.
“I know people have taken money out of retirement funds or cashed in their life savings,” Lingscheidt said. “And there may be more people out there who are victims.” He encourages anyone who had dealings with Gallardo or her company to call him at 287-4098.
Additional details and interviews will be featured on hometownstation.com in the coming days.
Read other articles from this series of special reports: