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Long-running Ponzi scheme preyed on elderly


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During the week, Roberto Heckscher was a socially awkward accountant who drove a Saturn and kept an office above a flower shop in a quiet neighborhood.

On the weekends, he transformed into a high-rolling casino "whale" who enjoyed VIP treatment worthy of a sheik.

He managed to keep this double life secret from most — especially the hundreds of mostly elderly and working class who invested their life savings with him — until the night of June 8, 2009. That's when he swallowed 90 sleeping pills and lay down to die.

One of the longest-running Ponzi schemes in U.S. history had finally collapsed.

Heckscher survived his suicide attempt and is in county jail waiting assignment to a federal prison. U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston sentenced him to 20 years in prison for duping at least 290 investors out of at least $50 million over a period of 30 years.


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