A former Coachella Valley man has been charged by the DA’s Office with selling more than $5.5 million in fraudulent securities to primarily elderly Riverside County victims.
Sheldon Jeffrey Katz, DOB: 7-12-41, has been charged with a total of 146 counts including making fraudulent statements in connection with the offer or sale of a security, theft from an elder, grand theft, and employing a fraudulent scheme in connection with the offer or sale of a security. Katz also is charged with a sentencing enhancement of fraud or embezzlement of more than $500,000.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Katz and the DA’s Office is requesting a bail amount of $5.544 million.
In June 2019, the DA’s Bureau of Investigation, with the assistance of the California Department of Insurance, started an extensive investigation and ultimately identified 71 investments in Katz’s “Tax 4 Liens” scheme.
Investigators determined there were 45 victims, either individuals or couples, who were primarily elderly residents of Riverside County. Those victims invested about $5.544 million with Katz, who did not repay any of the investors.
On March 17, 2021, DA investigators, assisted by the Chandler Police Department, served a search warrant at Katz’s home in Chandler, Arizona where evidence was seized as part of the ongoing investigation.
Katz, who also was a licensed insurance agent in California, targeted potential investors via mailers inviting them to dinner seminars at upscale restaurants. Katz would then market his financial products, telling investors he had a successful background investing in tax liens issued by government agencies. He marketed his Tax 4 Liens investments using verbiage such as “a fully guaranteed CD like product”, and “your investment is totally secured by the deeds and liens that the company holds. Further guaranteed by the property which it acquires. Your money is safe.” Katz issued his investors Secured Promissory Notes.
The investigation revealed that Katz did not have a successful background of investing in tax liens and deeds. Investigators also found that Katz fraudulently used the money he received from the victims to maintain his scheme, to maintain his various real estate activities, and his ownership in multiple sushi restaurants, as well as other non-authorized personal expenses.
The DA’s Office is asking that anyone who invested in Tax 4 Liens, attended any of Katz’s seminars, or has any additional information email case agent, DA Investigator Paul Bracciodieta, at PaulBracciodieta@rivcoda.org or call at (951) 955-7439.
Our office also has resources available to help protect you against or to report fraud that can be found on our website, www.rivcoda.org, under the Resources tab.