American Canyon woman, Canadian man accused of bilking millions in Ponzi scheme 

An American Canyon woman and a Canadian man have been indicted by a federal grand jury in San Francisco for allegedly operating a Ponzi scheme that cost investors more than $75 million, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Wednesday.

Jacquline Hoegel, 55, and William Wise, 62, are accused of bilking investors by selling fake certificates of deposit to more than 1,200 people who invested more than $129.5 million, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said. As of March 2009, investors had lost more than $75 million.

The two are alleged to have issued CDs from three entities: Millennium Bank, United Trust of Switzerland and Sterling Bank and Trust. The entities were operated by Wise, with Hoegel as second in command, Haag said. Hoegel ran a Napa office where many investors sent their funds.

The CDs promised rates of return as high as 16 percent, allegedly based on overseas investments. Investors’ funds were actually used to enrich the accused and make interest payments to earlier investors, Haag said.

The indictment was unsealed Wednesday after Hoegel’s arrest and first appearance in court, Haag said. She was released on bond and her next hearing is Tuesday. Wise is believed to be in Canada and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

rnagle@sfexaminer.com

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