Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.
QUESTION: No too long ago, Thomas B. Hammond, a former president of the Fair Oaks Chamber of Commerce as well as being a financial a certified financial planner, was arrested for operating a Ponzi scheme. What was the outcome of the trial?
Submitted by: Christianright, Sacramento
ANSWER: Thomas Brown Hammond, a Fair Oaks investment adviser, was sentenced in June to four years and nine months in federal prison in connection with a Ponzi scheme that involved stealing money from clients' retirement accounts.
Hammond, 62, pleaded guilty in January to embezzling money from employee retirement accounts. U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez ordered him to pay $536,521 in restitution to his victims.
Authorities said Hammond advised clients to invest money in a "private portfolio" that he maintained. He told them that his portfolio earned a steady interest rate that exceeded the rate that clients were earning in their current investments. But Hammond took the money that his clients gave him to invest in the private portfolio and deposited it in a standard business account at American River Bank. He then withdrew this money and used it for his personal expenses.
According to a roster of federal prison inmates, Hammond is at the Federal Correctional Institution - La Tuna in Anthony, Texas.