Newport Man Accused of Stealing $3M in Ponzi Scheme Arrested in Panama
A Newport Beach man accused of embezzling nearly $3 million from investors in a Ponzi real estate fraud scheme was extradited back to Orange County this week to face trial, the Orange County district attorney’s office reported.
Thomas Franklin Tarbutton, 54, is charged with 29 felony counts including grand theft and forgery. If convicted on all counts, he faces up to 30 years and eight months in state prison. Tarbutton was being held on $2 million bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in a Santa Ana courtroom.
Between 2004 and 2010, prosecutors say Tarbutton defrauded nine people in a Ponzi real estate fraud scheme. The D.A.’s office reported Tarbutton solicited money from private investors for borrowers looking for funds from non-bank lenders. Instead of funding the loans as promised, prosecutors said Tarbutton used the money for his own benefit or to repay earlier investors.
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