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Valley Real Estate Agent Faces $1M Ponzi Scheme Trial

Celia Gallardo arrested by FBI agents and charged in a 16-count federal indictment with wire and mail fraud.

A North Hills real estate agent and self-described investor faces trial in September on charges she ran a Ponzi scheme that conned dozens of victims out of at least $1 million, it was announced Thursday.

Celia Gallardo, 42, was arrested Wednesday by FBI agents and charged in a 16-count federal indictment with wire and mail fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Gallardo is accused of bilking investors who put money into her purported year-long real estate investment program.

Prosecutors allege she told investors she would purchase condominiums in other states and that the properties would yield extremely high rates of return in very short time periods -- as much as 100 percent return in only 30 days.

Instead, the indictment alleges, Gallardo spent most of the money on personal expenses, including her home, travel, cash withdrawals and to repay earlier investors to perpetuate the scheme.

Victims in California and elsewhere lost more than $1 million, prosecutors said.

At an arraignment hearing Wednesday, Gallardo was ordered released on a $75,000 bond. The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Dean D. Pregerson for trial on Sept. 4.

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Lillian Jones October 31, 2012 at 04:00 PM
There was much more money stolen than $2million. Gallardo destroyed dozens of lives, including those of family and friends. She deserves to serve a much longer sentence. Too bad she was able to plea-bargain so little time in prison. Lillian jones in Altadena
Barbara January 16, 2013 at 07:15 AM
Who can I contact?? She did this and worse to my mother who is currently in a rehabilitation center due to a stroke suffered recently... Celia had her cash out all of her 401k early in promise of a prosperous future etc. etc. etc. My mother lost everything!!! Everything!!! Please contact me at gallardo_91950@yahoo.com...

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