Former Police Officer and Ladera Ranch Resident Sentenced to Three Years and Five Months for Operating a $2 Million Real Estate Scheme That Targeted Retirees and Other Investors
SANTA ANA—A one-time Ladera Ranch man who served several years in the military and as a police officer was sentenced Monday to three years and five months in federal prison for operating a real estate investment scheme while living in Orange County.
Daniel Vazquez, 57, was sentenced by the Honorable United States District Judge James V. Selna to 41 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Judge Selna also scheduled a hearing on September 16th to determine restitution for the victims in this case. Vazquez has been in federal custody since December 2018.
In May 2019, Vazquez pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud and eight counts of wire fraud.
According to the indictment charging Vazquez, which was returned by a federal grand jury in April 2018, Vazquez operated businesses known as Hoplon Financial Group (Hoplon) and New Economic Opportunities Fund I, LLC (Neon) through which he offered and sold investments in real estate.
Beginning in at least 2010 and continuing through 2014, Vazquez sold investments to victims who were told their funds would be used to purchase, renovate, and sell properties in order to generate returns, and that they would be paid returns on their investments no less frequently than twice a year.
Vazquez made several misrepresentations to victim investors with regard to how their money would be invested in real estate transactions. Vazquez also lied to victims by advising that his own compensation would be limited to small percentages of investor capital and return on investment, as well as other nominal fees. Further, Vazquez falsely claimed that he would pay expenses and overhead, and that investors would receive a portion of profits from the real estate transactions.
Money invested by victims was used to pay unauthorized expenses for Vasquez’s business, his personal expenses, and those of his employees. Vazquez renovated his home, bought luxury vehicles, and paid credit cards with investor money, among other expenses, according to court documents.
According to sentencing papers filed by prosecutors, the loss to approximately 25 victims in this case, some of whom attended Monday’s sentencing hearing, was calculated to total $2,623,907.26. The defendant deprived many elderly victims of retirement wealth they earned over a lifetime of work, many with no ability or time to re-earn the money they lost after years spent accumulating it, according to prosecutors.
This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office.