Skip to Content
State and Federal Criminal Defense Representation
Trusted Defense For Complex Criminal Cases Investment Fraud

Investment Fraud Lawyer Serving Clients in Orange County, CA

Based in Irvine, with Representation Throughout Southern California

Investors want to believe they will succeed and make fast investment returns. Anything less, and they may consider investing elsewhere. This leads to individuals and institutions promising more than they may be able to deliver to land new investors. However, such misrepresentations can result in charges for investment fraud.

Sentencing for investment fraud cases largely depends on the amount lost by alleged victims. Convictions can result in fines, imprisonment, parole, or combined punishments. Fines can be as high as millions of dollars.

Hiring a white collar crime lawyer familiar with local laws is strongly recommended to protect your best interests and potentially avoid harsh sentencing. Irvine-based defense attorney Diane C. Bass has handled some of Southern California's most severe and high-profile investment fraud cases. Law Office of Diane C. Bass has earned an outstanding reputation among clients and the legal community for legal proficiency. 

Discuss your case with our Orange County investment fraud attorney in a one-hour consultation. Call (949) 990-4195 or connect with us online to make an appointment.

What Is Investment Fraud?

Investment fraud, also known as securities fraud or stock fraud, is a broad term used to describe the criminal actions of knowingly misleading investors in the process of making their investment decisions. The offender of investment fraud can be an individual stockbroker or banker or a corporation, such as a brokerage firm or investment bank.

The U.S. Department of Justice aggressively investigates and prosecutes securities fraud cases involving “high-yield investment programs” and pyramid schemes. The crime often involves misleading information, withholding information vital to an investor’s decision-making, providing counsel in bad faith, and insider trading that benefits them at the investor's expense.

Common Types of Investment Fraud

Many types of fraud are legally prosecuted both federally and in the state of California. 

Common types of investment, stock, or securities fraud cases include:

  • Advance fee schemes. Examples of these schemes include the act in which an alleged victim pays ahead of time for a promised return on their investment but does not receive what was promised.
  • Affinity fraud. This fraud targets groups of people based on ethnicity, religion, language, or age.
  • Broker embezzlement and misconduct. Most brokers are ethical. However, some will break norms to pursue their own interests at the expense of their clients.
  • Excessive trading of assets to manufacture commission numbers.
  • Failure to disclose risks, a promise of unrealistic or unattainable returns, and material misrepresentation or omission. Essential, truthful information must be communicated with investors.
  • Foreign currency fraud. The Forex market is not immune to fraudsters.
  • Hedge-fund fraud. Misconduct committed by or for the financial interests of a hedge fund.
  • High-yield investment programs. An HYIP is a scheme that promises huge, unattainable rewards for investments.
  • Late-day trading. Illegal after-hours trades.
  • Ponzi schemes and pyramid schemes illegally pay existing investors with money taken from new investors instead of from actual investment gains.
  • Pump and dump schemes. Artificially inflating stock worth with the purpose of selling.

California has some of the most investor-friendly laws in the country. You must speak with an attorney to defend your case if you have been accused of violating laws or norms.

Defense Against Ponzi Schemes & Pyramid Scheme Charges

Ponzi and pyramid schemes are two types of investment frauds that exploit participants to benefit those at the top of the structure. Ponzi schemes promise high returns with little risk to investors. Instead of generating legitimate earnings, they use the money from new investors to pay returns to earlier investors, creating a cycle that collapses once insufficient new investors are recruited.

On the other hand, pyramid schemes involve participants earning money primarily by recruiting new members rather than by selling a legitimate product or service. Both schemes inevitably fall apart when bringing in new members becomes impossible or when many investors attempt to cash out.

Examples of Ponzi & Pyramid Schemes

Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme: Perhaps the most notorious Ponzi scheme in history, orchestrated by Bernie Madoff, defrauded thousands of investors of billions of dollars over decades. Madoff's scheme promised consistent, high returns to investors, funded by inflows from new investors rather than actual profit earned.

The Herbalife accusation: Herbalife, a multi-level marketing (MLM) company, faced allegations of being a pyramid scheme. Critics argued that its profits depended more on recruiting new distributors than selling products to end-users. However, Herbalife agreed to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) without admitting to being a pyramid scheme.

Continue Reading Read Less

Laws Violated by Ponzi & Pyramid Schemes

Ponzi and pyramid schemes violate multiple laws, defrauding investors, breaching trust, and violating ethical standards. These schemes often transgress securities laws and fraud statutes and, in the case of pyramid schemes, sometimes violate specific laws against pyramid schemes themselves.

 Ponzi schemes may violate numerous Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations, including those against fraud and misrepresentation. Both Ponzi and pyramid schemes can be prosecuted under federal mail and wire fraud statutes, which are broad laws that penalize schemes executed via postal or electronic communication. Many states, including California, have laws explicitly prohibiting pyramid schemes and other consumer fraud, imposing severe penalties for violators.

How Can a Lawyer Help Your Defense

When fraud cases are brought to trial, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant fully intended to misrepresent themselves and defraud victims. No fraud was committed if you did not knowingly mislead anyone and thought you were providing a potentially lucrative investment. Whether right or wrong, bad luck can be chalked up to criminal activity. However, without criminal intent, there can be no fraud.

Establishing the lack of criminal intent on your own can be an overwhelming legal challenge. That is why you need an experienced professional, such as Diane C. Bass, who has handled thousands of cases. 

Schedule a Consultation at Law Office of Diane C. Bass

If you or your corporation have been accused of investment fraud, you must begin to craft your criminal defense without delay. The consequences of a conviction can be costly, resulting in thousands if not millions of dollars in fines and the potential for prison time. Whatever the particulars of your case, you are innocent until proven guilty.

Ms. Bass is well-known and highly regarded for her legal proficiency in defending all white collar crimes, including investment fraud, in state and federal courts. 

Connect with us online or at (949) 990-4195 for advice and guidance today. 

Continue Reading Read Less

Trusted By Clients

Reviews & Testimonials
    "She will put your anxiety at ease and get you through the tangled system."
    Diane is the perfect mix of gentle understanding and fierce action you’ll need if you find yourself dealing with the OC court system.
    - Angie T.
    "Whatever you’re going through, I’m confident Diane will achieve the best outcome you could hope for."
    My first impression was that she’s very experienced, no-nonsense, knows the law, how the system works, and was very busy as a result. I quickly realized that she exceeded even those first impressions but also cared very much about my story, needs, an
    - Daniel B.
    "From the start of my case, she has been there for me."
    First of all, I would like to thank Diane for everything she has done for me. From the start of my case, she has been there for me. Only very few people were granted bond and she pulled it off in my case. I know for a fact not too many lawyers could have done that. I am on probation for three years.. while “the others” will not have the chance to raise their children and live their lives. I was headed to prison….I am free.. and for that, I am forever grateful.
    - John H.
    "Diane Bass is a phenomenal attorney."
    After meeting with Diane I felt immediate comfort, and I was sold on the fact that I could trust this amazing person with my life. Diane Bass was there for me every step of the way like no other attorney had ever been.
    - Ryan O.
    "She is not afraid to battle for you. With her, you will never be alone."
    Diane is a brilliant attorney. She listens carefully to your problems and clearly advises you with honesty. She was with me from the first day of my case and I have never been disappointed in any way.
    - Maria K.
    "I highly recommend Diane if you are dealing with legal troubles of your own."
    Since this being my first Federal offense, I had no idea what to expect. I was extremely anxious. After talking to Diane, I felt like she was the attorney I needed to help me get through these challenging times. Her professionalism and knowledge of the law
    - Adam P.
    "Diane’s work is second to none."

    Diane’s work is second to none. I was charged with felony DV, and after working with one firm in Irvine that did absolutely nothing, I did some hard research and found Diane. She worked quickly and diligently and got the case dismissed. I absolutely don’t foresee me needing a criminal lawyer down the road, but if I do, it’ll be Diane hands down!

    - Shadic A.
    "Diane is the most professional, thorough attorney I have ever met."
    Her expertise, connections, analysis, and comprehensive review of my situation were more than I could ever ask. I am extremely grateful and couldn't be happier with my choice!
    - Jeff R.

Why Choose Law Office of Diane C. Bass?

  • Top-Rated & Award-Winning Legal Representation
    We consistently deliver results that exceed expectations, earning the trust of clients and accolades from the legal community.
  • 25+ Years of Criminal Defense Legal Experience
    With over 25 years of criminal defense legal experience, we bring a wealth of seasoned insight and a proven track record of success to every case we handle.
  • Extensive Knowledge & Experience With Federal Cases
    With extensive knowledge and experience in federal cases, we offer comprehensive legal strategies tailored to the complexities of each situation.
  • An Outstanding Reputation Amongst Clients & Peers
    Our reputation among clients and peers alike reflects our unwavering dedication to achieving the best possible outcomes for those we represent.
  • Featured in the Media
    Attorney Bass is frequently featured in media outlets such as The Washington Post, LA Times, ESPN, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and more.
  • Track Record of Success
    With a track record of handling some of the most significant cases in the Central District of California, our firm brings unmatched experience to every client's defense.
  • Selected by Super Lawyers Since 2022
  • Avvo 10.0 Rating
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • Top 100 Lawyers

    Contact Us for Your Consultation

    Don't Face the Criminal Justice System Alone
    • Please enter your first name.
    • Please enter your last name.
    • Please enter your phone number.
      This isn't a valid phone number.
    • Please enter your email address.
      This isn't a valid email address.
    • Please make a selection.
    • Please enter a message.
    • By submitting, you agree to be contacted about your request & other information using automated technology. Message frequency varies. Msg & data rates may apply. Text STOP to cancel. Acceptable Use Policy