Hersch pleads guilty in fraud scheme

A Rancho Santa Fe man pleaded guilty Monday to mail fraud and conspiracy to structure financial transactions.

Richard M. Hersch entered a plea deal where he now faces a maximum term of 25 years in prison and must pay at least $9.2 million in restitution.

Hersch admitted that he operated an investment scheme in which he recruited investors by promising returns of 2 percent to 6 percent per week on investments into his company, All States ATM Inc., according to an FBI press release.

The FBI said Hersch told investors that his company had contracts with major horseracing tracks in California and around the country to operate his ATMs on the backside of the track. He also claimed to have a check cashing or loan service contracts for exclusive use of those with access to the backside.

The horseracing tracks identified by Hersch told the FBI that they have no contracts with him or All States ATM to provide financial services of any sort.

Hersch and others recruited more than 150 investors to invest approximately $25 million. He also admitted, during his plea, that he conspired with others to structure 15 transactions, totaling $141,500, for the purpose of evading the currency reporting requirements. Hersch and those working with him withdrew currency from a Wells Fargo Banks Account in amounts between $9,000 and $9,500, because they knew that cash withdrawals that are more than $10,000 trigger currency-reporting requirements.

Hersch is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 8, 2010, before Judge John A. Houston in the U.S. District Court in San Diego.

   
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