Crime & Justice

Orange County broker pleads guilty in $7 million Ponzi scheme

A Tustin broker has pleaded guilty to 68 felony counts for stealing $6.9 million from investors in a real estate Ponzi fraud scheme.

Orange County prosecutors say 53-year-old Mark Alan Helsing stole from investors, most of them longtime friends, by failing to fund loans as promised. Investigators say he supplied them with forged documents and bogus interest payments.

Helsing pleaded guilty Monday to 55 felony counts of grand theft, seven felony counts of filing false recorded documents, six felony counts of elder financial exploitation and sentencing enhancements for white-collar crime over $500,000 and excessive stealing.

Prosecutors say he faces up to 15 years in prison when he's sentenced Dec. 5.