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Region & State

Thousand Oaks Pharmacist Guilty in Theft

October 01, 2004|From a Times Staff Writer

A 55-year-old Thousand Oaks pharmacist has pleaded guilty to bilking more than $400,000 from elderly customers who participated in an investment scheme.

John Peter Hajducko pleaded guilty Wednesday in Ventura County Superior Court to 12 felony counts of elder abuse and grand theft, prosecutors said.

Hajducko had been employed at a Sav-On drugstore on Telegraph Road in Ventura, where he persuaded 13 people to invest in a pharmaceutical distribution company he claimed he was forming, promising high returns, prosecutors said.

But he transferred the money to his personal brokerage account and lost it on risky trades, prosecutors said.

At his arraignment in July, Hajducko pleaded not guilty to 43 felony counts of elder abuse, grand theft and securities fraud.

In pleading guilty Wednesday, he also agreed to a special enhancement that permits prosecutors to liquidate his assets to collect restitution.

Hajducko remained in Ventura County Jail on Thursday in lieu of $500,000 bail. A sentencing hearing is scheduled Oct. 28.

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