[UPDATED with Conviction:] William Warren Baker Pleads Guilty to Ponzi Scam, But Where's His Mom?

Categories: Crime-iny
fonzi-150.jpg
No, PONZI scheme ...
UPDATE, MAY 20, 4:30 P.M.: Orange County sheriff's investigators went to investigate a missing person and found a vast Ponzi scheme.

Laguna Niguel house flipper William Warren Baker, 59, pleaded guilty today to stealing more than $900,000 from investors in a Ponzi scheme by fraudulently promising to buy, refurbish, and re-sell distressed homes for a profit. The scheme was unearthed by detectives looking for Baker's elderly mother, who remains missing.  


Baker copped to 13 felony counts of using untrue statements in the purchase or sale of securities and one felony count of grand theft from the United States Social Security Administration with sentencing enhancements and allegations for loss over $100,000, aggravated white collar crime over $500,000, and property damage over $150,000.

He could get up to 10 years in state prison at his July 15 sentencing in Santa Ana.

The home flipper met at least 10 investors through church, friends and other personal relationships. Baker's mother, 82-year-old Sara Jo Mowery, went missing in January 2009. Baker was arrested for fraud three months later.

According to prosecutors, the fraud probe revealed that after Mowery went missing, Baker siphoned funds from a joint account to which his mother's Social Security benefits were deposited.

The investigation into her disappearance continues.


ORIGINAL POST, MARCH 5, 2010, 7:40 A.M.: A Laguna Niguel man was arrested Thursday for allegedly bilking 10 people he met through church, friends and other personal relationships out of more than $900,000.

William Warren Baker fraudulently promised investors he would buy, refurbish, and re-sell distressed homes for a profit, but what the 57-year-old really did was engange in a Ponzi scheme, according to the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

In Ponzi schemes, investors are offered high, short-term returns on investments, but instead of the investments generating actual income and legitimate profits, the money from the investors is kept for the benefit of the defendant or used to repay earlier investors.

Baker has been charged with 13 felony counts of using untrue statements in the purchase or sale of securities and 13 felony counts of selling securities in issuer transactions without qualifications with sentencing enhancements and allegations for loss over $100,000, aggravated white collar crime over $500,000, property damage over $150,000, and property damage over $200,000.

Baker is also accused of exchanging investor funds for promissory notes or stocks without qualifying the investments with the California Department of Corporations, as required by law.

The alleged embezzlement occurred between Jan. 20, 2006, and May 7, 2008, according to prosecutors. Baker allegedly failed to purchase any property to be renovated and flipped as promised to his investors.

He is accused of instead purchasing a property for himself and transferring the property into trusts belonging to either his son or wife.

The complaint alleges Baker used investor money for personal expenses or to pay back old investors from previous ventures.

If convicted of all charges, Baker could get up to 32 years and eight months in state prison.

Currently held on $1 million bail--he must prove that the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond--Baker is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Santa Ana.
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13 comments
Jeanne
Jeanne

Kathleen, thank you for your post.   I feel better just knowing that I'm not the only one who has had horrible experiences with him! 

I promise you, the family will never stop looking for her and will not allow anyone to go unpunished for what has happened!   For those interested parties, the sentencing was continued at the defendant's request and won't be heard until the end of August.  If any of you are victims, or know of any other victims, please encourage them to attend the sentencing and make a "victim's impact statement"!  There was a plea agreement in this case; his maximum sentence is 10 years minus time served and time off for good behavior so even with 10 years, he'll be out walking the streets in just over 3 years -- !  How about that for JUSTICE?

ENOUGH
ENOUGH

Well Bettaray Bill.....

I pray Everyday that you are right- and that they find Sara alive and well somewhere.  However, I can ASSURE you that Sara had NO IDEA who the REAL William Warren Baker was.  This is NOT her fault- this is HIS FAULT.....WILLIAM WARREN BAKER'S FAULT.....and I think it's time that we all remember that.  

I know all the players involved in this- and I can also ASSURE you that her family IS NOT going to stop looking for her.  And we WILL find her....

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BettarayBill
BettarayBill

Yes, But what about the Old Lady that spawned this scumbag in to society.  I hope she is alright.  I hope he didnt kill her 

Jeanne
Jeanne

The victimized family of Sara Mowrey expresses their heartfelt thanks to the tireless efforts of OCSD for sorting out this horrendous situation.  We thank each and every one of you from the bottom of our hearts. 

Dan
Dan

Oooops, got over excited with the "post" button. 

Dan
Dan

Awesome job by the OCSD and the Deputy DA's office. This guy is obviously guilty of much more than this, so don't let up. We are all greatful for the job you've done and continue to do. 

Dan
Dan

Awesome job by the OCSD and the Deputy DA's office. This guy is obviously guilty of much more than this, so don't let up. We are all greatful for the job you've done and continue to do. 

Mark A. Ensell
Mark A. Ensell

My name is mark ensell I am Mary jo (cole) ensell and hank ensell's son from steubenville, ohio sara was my aunt jo. I hope this is Jeanne who is my mothers cousin. My mother has alzheimers real bad and before she got sick she had told me of the disappearance and what warren had done please contact me at superpig146@yahoo.com

Kathleen M George Perry
Kathleen M George Perry

I am so gald to hear this because you all need some kind of closuer and I feel so bad you all have to go through this. I hope she is found soon!!!!

Kathleen M George Perry
Kathleen M George Perry

I have know this family since 1969 and Warren was very selfish and talked about nothing but himself. I thought I was his girlfriend only to find out about 5 years ago he dated many girls at once. His Mother is the most awesome sweet person and I really hope he did not do anything to harm her but now I believe he could have. The whole family his wife and sons get what they deserve!!!!

Vetgone
Vetgone

What was the sentence today?  I Hope It;s 30 years!  What a thug and liar! 

Enough
Enough

Vetgone- It took awhile....but Warren was given 10 years.  (He took a Plea)  He will probably be out in about 3 3 1/2 years.....depending on whether they findSara's body by that point of not. 

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