SF bookkeeper to plead guilty for fraud

September 23, 2009 7:01:00 PM PDT
A San Francisco bookkeeper will now plead guilty to defrauding clients out of millions of dollars. That's the word from his defense attorney.

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When investors first found out about this suspected case of fraud, ABC7 News first broke the story.

For months, Roberto Heckscher's former clients have been in the dark. They knew the FBI was investigating, but they could not understand why Robert Heckscher was still walking around free three months to the day from when he first talked with the FBI.

Heckscher spent hours inside the FBI offices with his attorney on June 23rd.

His attorney told ABC7 Heckscher has been cooperating fully with the FBI, turning over documents and records and admitting responsibility for bilking scores of investors out of millions of dollars.

In a letter to investors that Heckscher wrote three months ago, he said: "His financial difficulties started over 20 years ago with some incredibly large losses."

He added: "Gambling then came into my life and some early wins made it seem like it might enable me to pay off all my debts and clean my slate.

"Well that's criminal fraud, I mean that's why I don't understand why he's not under arrest," said attorney Daniel Bacon.

Bacon represents an investor who lost $2.75 million.

"Everything I see it's criminal activity, what's the difference this guy and Madoff, just the numbers, as far as the number of victims and amounts," said Bacon.

Bacon's client and some 300 investors haven't been told of Heckscher's cooperation with the FBI.

Van Obermuller is one of Heckscher's former clients. He owns the building where Heckscher had his offices on Irving Street in San Francisco.

Obermuller has been running an information clearing house for dozens of former investors.

"We're hearing nothing but frustration. They have no feedback from the FBI, they have no feedback from the lawyer who is doing the class action lawsuit. Nobody knows anything," said Obermuller.

Obermuller says the last meeting of investors was a week ago, when he learned that Heckscher's own sister had lost $500,000.

On Wednesday afternoon, Heckscher's attorney told ABC7 over the phone that his client intends to surrender to the FBI and that fraud charges will be filed within the next couple of weeks.

Heckerscher intends to plead guilty and accept responsibility for his actions.

Heckscher's attorney told ABC7 the total amount of money lost is in the tens of millions.

He says Heckscher is very remorseful about the harm that has been suffered by his former clients and investors, and will be personally expressing that remorse at the appropriate time.

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