General Crime

* Aldo Baccala charged with 167 felony counts of grand theft in a Ponzi scheme

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A Petaluma man who allegedly stole more than $20 million from dozens of investors in a Ponzi scheme has been arrested, Attorney General Kamala Harris and Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced today. Aldo Joseph Baccala, 71, was charged with 167 felony counts of grand theft, securities fraud and elder abuse. He also has been charged with a number of enhancements, according to the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office.

Baccala allegedly used his Petaluma-based company, Baccala Realty Inc., to raise millions of dollars from more than 50 investors for ventures in California and others states, such as a car wash and assisted living facilities.Victims of the scheme were promised annual returns of at least 12 percent to invest in specific projects. After receiving numerous complaints, the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office launched an investigation into his company in January 2009.His bail has been set at $2 million. He is being held at the Sonoma County Adult Detention Facility.

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