Home San Francisco Press Releases 2009 Roberto Heckscher Pleads Guilty to Mail Fraud Bay Area Bookkeeper Defrauded Investors Out of at Least $20 Million...

Roberto Heckscher Pleads Guilty to Mail Fraud Bay Area Bookkeeper Defrauded Investors Out of at Least $20 Million

U.S. Attorney’s Office October 30, 2009
  • Northern District of California (415) 436-7200

SAN FRANCISCO—Pursuant to a plea agreement, Roberto Heckscher, a resident of San Mateo, Calif., pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston to one count of mail fraud, announced United States Attorney Joseph P. Russoniello.

On Oct. 16, 2009, the United States charged Heckscher, 55, with mail fraud, charging that between approximately 1979 and June 2009, he defrauded investors by promising to arrange and broker a series of commercial loans between his clients and himself and represented that the funds would in turn be loaned to other businesses. Heckscher promised that these loans would generate regular interest payments to his investors. Instead, Heckscher operated a sophisticated ponzi scheme whereby new investment money was transferred to existing investors as interest payments and/or repayment of principal upon request. Heckscher used the remaining portion of investors’ funds for his own, unauthorized purposes, including gambling at Nevada casinos as well as speculative investments in the equities and commodities markets.

In addition to pleading guilty to this charge, Heckscher agreed to pay restitution in connection with his misuse of funds.

The plea agreement provides for a calculation of imprisonment between no less than 151 months and up to life imprisonment. However, the sentence will be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553. The maximum statutory penalty for mail fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 1341 is 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 or up to twice the defendant’s gain or the victims’ loss, plus restitution if appropriate. The defendant is next scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on May 14, 2010. At that time, Judge Illston will determine whether to accept the plea agreement and impose sentencing.

Timothy J. Lucey is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Ponly Tu. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Further Information:

Case #: CR 09-0998 SI

A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Web site at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.

Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.

Judges’ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’s Web site at www.cand.uscourts.gov.

All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Jack Gillund at (415) 436-6599 or by e-mail at Jack.Gillund@usdoj.gov.