The Santa Clara County District Attorney has charged prominent South Bay businessman Ron Battistella with nine felony counts including grand theft, securities fraud and the sale of unqualified securities, the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit has learned.
The former member of the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Advisory Board was arrested Monday, more than a year after the Investigative Unit exposed him allegedly walking away from millions owed to investors.
In November 2012 Battistella's alleged victims reached out to NBC Bay Area saying the used car dealer promised them a ten percent return on investments that would help supply cars to his San Jose dealership. The investors claim they were defrauded.
The Investigative Unit first uncovered in May 2012 that Battistella failed to pay $70,000 to a Santa Cruz woman for the sale of her Ferrari. After the NBC Bay Area investigation aired, Battistella paid back the money he owed.
According to the felony complaint, Battistella's bookkeeper Julie Ann LeBlanc was also charged with nine felony counts. Both are scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.
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