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5 Charged With Scam Topping $10 Million

Two San Juan Capistrano men are among those accused of fleecing the elderly.

August 28, 2004|Claire Luna | Times Staff Writer

Two San Juan Capistrano residents are among five men charged this month with bilking investors out of more than $10 million through bogus certificate of deposit programs.

Authorities say the massive investment scam targeted the elderly, drawing most of its victims from the Thousand Oaks and San Jose areas.

"The allegations in this indictment involve acts of incredible greed and financial harm to so many victims it is heartbreaking," said Cleve Daniels, an agent with the criminal investigation division of the Internal Revenue Service, one of several agencies that participated in the five-year investigation.

Charged in San Jose with conspiracy to commit money laundering, mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud, are Vincent J. Ferro, 46, and Eduardo J. Prado, 36, both of San Juan Capistrano; Kummel J. Heir, 43, of San Jose; and Mark C. Selby, 45.

Selby, formerly of Campbell, now lives in Las Vegas.

Walter Zlotnicki, 60, of Thousand Oaks is charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Prado's attorney, Mark Holsher, decried the allegations against his client and said Prado was indicted before the federal government attempted to talk to him or his lawyer.

"This is devastating to Ed and his reputation," Holsher said.

"Ed Prado never even met the individuals he's alleged to have conspired with or victimized."

None of the other men or their lawyers could be reached for comment.

Officials from the U.S. attorney's office say the men lured investors with false promises of one-year certificates of deposit paying monthly dividends of 7% to 12%.

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