Trabulse gets 8 years for Ponzi scheme

May 3, 2010 6:35:29 PM PDT
A Bay Area man who stole more than $8 million from investors was sentenced to eight years in prison on Monday. The judge wanted to give him more time, but the eight years satisfies the terms of a plea agreement.

Alexander James Trabulse, 63, inflated his hedge fund returns by as much as 200 percent to attract investors. More than 100 people lost a combined $8.6 million. His defense attorney told the judge on Monday that Trabluse is no Bernie Madoff, just a good trader who got in over his head. The judge scoffed, saying it was a classic Ponzi scheme with Trabluse spending the investors' money on international real estate, rugs, and shopping sprees.

ABC7 tried to talk with Trabluse last year, but he declined the request again Monday at federal court.

In addition to eight years prison time, Judge William Alsup ordered Trabluse's probation include 200 hours working for free in a soup kitchen and that he gave a speech to 200 people telling what he did and what the consequences were.

Before sentencing, Trabluse's attorney told the judge his client "...has an ardent desire to make restitution."

The judge said, "Come on, that's another con."

And though the sentence included provisions for restitution, the judge said to victims, "Don't hold your breath."

The U.S. attorney asked for the eight years as part of a plea deal. The defense was asking for three years.

Some of the victims in court on Monday said they were just relived the case is over, but didn't want to be interviewed.

Some of them believe his daughter is still living off of a secret overseas account.


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