3 SoCal Operators Accused of Ponzi Scheme

     RIVERSIDE, Calif. (CN) – Two of three people accused of bilking investors in a $23 million Ponzi scheme have been arrested and face an 85-count federal indictment charging them with fraud and money laundering. Financial Solutions, of Norco, Riverside and Ontario, allegedly promised 20 percent monthly returns through a “government contract lending program.”

     Charged were Christiano Kawiki Hashimoto Jr., 49, founder and president of Financial Solutions; Catherine Lipscomb, 41, of Moreno Valley, CFO and vice president of the company; and David Lincoln Johnson, 70, of Loma Linda, president of Gentech.
     Financial Solutions’ office moved around, from Norco to Riverside to Ontario, Calif., until the SEC shut it down in November 2004. Gentech was based in Chino.
     Hashimoto told investors that Financial Solutions would invest their money in Gentech to fund construction of equipment for the federal government. Gentech’s contract with the government was terminated by the Air Force in 2004 but Hashimoto and Johnson continued to tell investors the contract was active and that they would get 5 percent to 20 percent monthly returns, according to the indictment.
     From mid-2003 through November 2004, Hashimoto and Lipscomb deposited approximately $23 million into Financial Solutions’ bank account, the indictment alleges. Less than $1 million of it went to Gentech, nearly $2 million went directly Hashimoto, and about $14 million went to pay other investors and sales commissions, prosecutors say.
     Johnson surrendered on Friday. Hashimoto was arrested in Mankato, Minn. on Thursday. Lipscomb is expected to make her first court appearance later this month.

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