Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

A Newport Beach man accused in a $13.5 million Ponzi scheme was brought back from Texas to Orange County Thursday to face charges.

Brandon Walton Stewart, 30, is charged with running a Ponzi scheme from April 2009 to January 2013 with alleged losses to victims about $10.6 million, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

Stewart promised four victims he would invest their money in stocks such as Facebook, but instead spent the money on himself for trips to Las Vegas on a private jet to gamble, prosecutors alleged. One of the alleged victims was a 92-year-old relative, prosecutors said.

He also is accused of ripping off several banks by writing nearly $3 million in checks from closed accounts or ones with insufficient funds, prosecutors alleged.

Stewart was arrested in October in Dallas and fought extradition.

Stewart is charged with three counts of residential burglary, 24 counts of using untrue statements in purchase or sale of a security, two counts of financial elder abuse, 126 counts of money laundering, 38 counts of kiting checks, and four counts of failing to file a state tax return, all felonies. He also faces sentencing enhancements for aggravated white collar crime in excess of $500,000, property damage more than $3.2 million and money laundering in excess of $2.5 million.

If convicted at trial, he could face up to 159 years and eight months in prison as well as $27 million in fines.

City News Service

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