First there was Scott Bottolfson. Then there was John Clement's EdgeFund. And then Steven Hamilton.
And now meet Dennis Eugene Long:
Dennis Eugene Long stole a lot of money over the years — nearly $1 million from dozens of victims, including about 30 who showed up at his sentencing hearing Tuesday.Though the U-T cites Long as most recently having lived in Carlsbad, public records show him having lived on Swallowtail Road at the north end of the golf course in Encinitas, as well as having worked at the Encinitas Target.
But it wasn't just the financial losses that prolonged their hurt.
"You stole not only money but trust," Suzanne Stoneall said to Long, who was inside a holding cell in a Vista courtroom. He had been the man she came to know through Bible study as a big brother.
Prosecutors said Long, 65, of Carlsbad defrauded at least three dozen families out of $5,000 to $87,000 after persuading them to invest in an herbal Viagra-type drug business. He told them the company had just been sold to a larger company for $4 million, but it wasn't too late to get them in on the deal because some earlier investors had backed out.
Long told the victims, who he had met through churches or his daughter's volleyball clubs, that he had been a successful businessman and a corporate-level official at Target. Court records show he worked as a retail clerk at an Encinitas Target until he was fired. An investigation by Carlsbad police indicated he had been selling shares of the bogus herbal supplement company since at least 2005.
What brings so many Ponzi schemers to Encinitas? Is it a population of gullible people with a lot of money?
In any case, if a middle-aged white male from Encinitas offers you an investment opportunity, just walk away.