Four held in Nevada County real estate Ponzi scheme

A once-prominent Grass Valley real estate broker and three of his associates are facing felony charges for their alleged roles in an expansive Ponzi scheme that cost investors, some of them elderly, millions of dollars. Philip Lester, the former head of the Gold Country Lenders real estate firm who has since lost his lending license, and his sister and chief financial officer, Susan Laferte, each face 66 charges of securities fraud, elder abuse and conspiracy, according to the state attorney general’s office. Also implicated in the alleged scheme were Lester’s wife, Ellen Lester, who is an attorney and business partner, and their business associate Jonathan Blinder. Ellen Lester faces two felony counts of conspiracy and securities fraud; Blinder, four felony counts of securities fraud. Read Sacramento Bee report here.

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