Crime & Justice

Feds say SoCal elderly bilked in $6M Ponzi scheme

SANTA ANA - Federal prosecutors have charged a Southern California investment adviser on charges he bilked elderly residents in a $6 million Ponzi scheme.

Richard H. Nickles, the owner of Innovative Advisory Services in Santa Ana, was charged late Thursday with four counts of mail fraud and two counts of securities fraud.

The 57-year-old Irvine man, who has been in jail since his July 9 arrest, will be arraigned Monday.

U.S. Attorney's office spokesman Thom Mrozek says Nickles ran newspaper advertisements in Orange and Los Angeles counties promoting safe, government guaranteed low-risk bonds.

But prosecutors say he took investor money and paid off prior customers or traded in securities not authorized by the investors. Investigators estimate victims lost more than $6 million.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.