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Orinda Real Estate Investment Group head accused of Ponzi schemes

Former investment company executive charged

Carl Miller has lived an expensive California style life for years as the head of Orinda Real Estate Investment Group but more recently, he has been accused by lead attorney in the district attorney’s real estate division on nine counts of embezzling, totaling around $1 million from various investors along with charges of theft and forgery.

Miller was recently arrested and bail was reduced from $416,000 to $327,500 secured by his personal property and his father-in-law’s property.

Miller allegedly cheated clients out of their money by orchestrating Ponzi schemes or giving investors fraudulent information, lead investigator Ken McCormick said.

Allegedly, other investors have come forward claiming Miller invested in bad deals, but the prosecutor is only pursuing charges in which Miller “completely steals and cheats,” McCormick told ThePatch.com.

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One of the charges alleged against Miller that is most shocking is the accusation that after being treasurer of Orinda Boy Scout Troop 327 until 2010, Miller embezzled $16,000 from the Troop’s funds. Although the money was returned after a short period, the prosecutor notes that it constitutes a felony regardless.

Year old investigation

The district attorney’s office launched their investigation into Miller over a year ago after investors began requesting intervention and help.

Other investors took over the $10 million fund managed by Miller after rumors of his misdeeds. Miller has pleaded not guilty and his preliminary hearing was just pushed back to September 22nd.

This May, Ronald Harris Jr. of Newark pleaded guilty for his part of his foreclosure-rescue company that cheated mortgage lenders out of $10 million, and in July, the Trammell family plead guilty to complex mortgage fraud scheme charges.

Miller is not the first in a long line of people who have allegedly taken advantage of loopholes in the system or gotten creative during a struggling economy, and he won’t be the last to see charges filed. The prosecutor in this case implied that unless blatant cheating was involved, not all cases against Miller would be considered, given the rise of bad investments being argued as fraud to his office.

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