Alamo man accused of defrauding elderly women out of thousands of dollars

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An Alamo man is facing charges of posing as a wealthy investor to swindle hundreds of thousands of dollars from three people. (KGO-TV)

Contra Costa County investigators say a man scammed a church, then a 90-year-old member out of more than $100,000.

Ward Caldwell is accused of conning at least three elderly women and there could be more victims.

Pastor Roger Reaber of Grace Presbyterian Church in Walnut Creek trusted Ward Steven Caldwell.

"His parents were members of this congregation 30 years or more ago," Reaber said.

So when Caldwell showed up a year ago, the pastor had no idea he was being set-up for a scam. But Caldwell has a history of fraud.

"He's been to prison for this. He has a prison conviction out of Butte County for doing a securities fraud violation," said deputy district attorney Dodie Kategue.

Caldwell offered to donate $150,000 to the church and wanted it publicized in the congregation's newsletter.

"He pulled a fast one over the church, he gave them two checks," Kategue said.

Caldwell asked the pastor to wait to cash the checks. In the meantime, he allegedly convinced a 90-year old church member to invest more than $170,000 with him.

"Basically, pretending to be this investor, rich investor, and then getting them to invest money with him," Kategue

Caldwell has several aliases: Bruce Harmon, Bruce Goodrich and Bruce Lasalle.

"I was duped here and perhaps gave him a platform where he could find other people to take advantage of and I feel great regret over that," Reaber said.

Victims include a woman Caldwell met at a car wash, a widowed hair dresser, and at least two others says the deputy district attorney. He's asking any additional potential victims to contact his office.
Related Topics:
elder abuseabusemoneyfraudAlamoWalnut Creek
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