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The first of many elderly investors who claim to have lost a combined $20 million in what Sonoma County prosecutors are calling a vast Ponzi scheme testified Friday they gambled their life savings on word-of-mouth recommendations and the promise of 12 percent returns.

Some, like Hyam Liebling, 86, of Oakmont in Santa Rosa, testified they plunked down their money with Aldo Baccala, 71, of Petaluma, despite being unclear about who he was and how the money was secured.

“I just trusted the guy,” said Liebling, who walked to the witness stand with the help of a cane. “And I trusted the information I got from a friend who invested in him for many years.”


NEVER NEVER NEVER give your hard-earned money to ANYONE to invest for you. Even if you do nothing more than put it in a fortune 500 mutual fund you will be better off.

I'm making 12% on an investment - but I chose the investment and I bought the stock myself. I bought it for $2 broker fee - not the exorbitant fees some "money managers" charge you. I never never NEVER trust ANYONE with my money other than myself.

And I don't have to pay some joker a management fee for doing what I can do without him. Or her. Just so I'm not sexist here.

I feel really bad for these elderly people.
And I feel that anyone who steals from an elderly person - especially - should be put under a prison to never again see the light of day.

I swear I think the elderly need financial advocates that will protect them from this kind of crap. But then who will protect them from the advocates?

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