SANTA CLARA COUNTY — A 71-year-old retired South Bay foot doctor turned financial adviser has been charged with embezzling $900,000 from an elderly client.
According to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, “Dr. Roger P. Hertzberg convinced the San Jose woman that he had invested her money safely in money market funds and real estate all over the country. Investigators believe he spent the money on himself.”
It was discovered that Hertzberg was a wanted fugitive with a one-million dollar no-bail warrant for his arrest. He was wanted for multiple fraud cases stemming from victims located in Illinois, while he lived in Las Vegas, NV.
The victim told investigators that she had also loaned large amounts of money to Hertzberg before she realized he was failing to pay her back for the loan. According to the District Attorney’s Office “it is a breach of fiduciary duty for an investment adviser to borrow money from a client.”
Once the victim realized the suspect had stopped taking her calls and or returning any money she had loaned him, she finally realized that she had become a victim of fraud by the former foot doctor.
“It’s heartbreaking how many elderly people are victimized by criminals who take advantage of their vulnerability and trust,” prosecutor Cherie Bourlard said. “Often, the perpetrators are far away and difficult to track down. As this case clearly illustrates, we still look.”
Charges were filed after an investigation into the suspects activities led by District Attorney’s Elder Financial Abuse Unit discovered that in 2005, an elderly female victim had begun to invest her life savings with Hertzberg. During the time of contact, Hertzberg had moved to Milpitas from Nevada.
Despite promising a large check at the end of the year on a virtually no-risk investment, bank records showed that none of the money went into investments. The money that was stated to be invested in low risk annuities was funneled into the defendant’s own personal bank account.
Hertzberg was extradited from Las Vegas and arraigned Friday, July 29, 2016, on felony elder fraud charges. According to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, “Hertzberg, who is in custody on $750,000 bail, entered a plea of not guilty on August 4th at 1:30 in department 34 at the Santa Clara County Superior Court Hall of Justice.”
If Hertzberg is convicted, he faces up to 11 years in prison.