Monday, December 15, 2008
With the recent allegations against Bernard Madoff who reputedly swindled investors out of $50 billion a smaller Ponzi artist, William "Boots" Del Biaggio has remained out of national media scrutiny. Del Biaggio duped investors out of about $65 million. The difference between these two high dollar scam artists is Del Biaggio had a background that should have alerted his venture debt firm, Sand Hill Capital, of his potential to commit fraud.
Ken Springer, former FBI agent who now runs Corporate Resolutions, investigated. "It's like history repeating itself. He had charges of fraudulent activity going back to 2003. You have to look at the track record, background and reputation.
After two civil suits in 2003 for fraud and breech of contract, a simple investigation into Del Biaggio's background would have revealed the man to be a bad risk. Springer said investors just didn't take the time, "People didn't do their homework. The bigger your balance sheet is, the less homework they do on these things."
Del Biaggio's attorney said in a statement that he will likely plead guilty, and face jail time, to charges against him. Del Biaggo has been fully cooperative with agents. The minimum sentence against security fraud is 25 years.
With the economy going like it is, it is important to remember there are perfectly good and legal ways to ensure you are entrusting your money with upstanding individuals. Most criminals are repeat offenders and leave a trail of evidence behind them. It's up to you to follow it and do your homework.