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Tuesday, Sep 26, 2023

Burbank Woman Sentenced for Scam

A Burbank woman who lured investors with bogus promises of 25 percent returns every 45 days, was sentenced to five years in federal prison. Celia Flores, 43, ran a Ponzi scheme that collected more than $10 million dollars from investors through her company Maximum Return Investments. Flores was sentenced by United States District Judge Margaret M. Morrow Oct. 18, and was ordered to pay $6.12 million in restitution to the 169 people who were victimized by her scheme. Flores admitted she used investor funds to enrich herself, and to throw lavish parties for investors. She also used the funds to pay earlier investors in order to perpetuate the farce of the company’s success. As part of the scheme, when investors requested their purported profits, Flores encouraged them to re-invest these supposed returns. And when she failed to convince investors to keep their supposed profits in her investment program, Flores, fabricated reasons as to why the investors could not obtain their money. Flores pleaded guilty in May to two counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering. Back in 2009, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Flores and her company, Maximum Return Investments, with violations of federal securities laws. Civil penalties of $650,000 were filed against Maximum Return and $130,000 against Flores. Additionally, a federal judge ordered Flores to turn over more than $10.3 million that she collected during the scheme.

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