ESCONDIDO — An elderly couple accused of cheating San Diego investors of more than $1.5 million were back in Vista Superior Court on Dec. 23 for an arraignment hearing.
Ronald Reiswig, 72, pleaded not guilty to 92 counts of security law violations. However, the plea of his wife, 65-year-old Janet Reiswig, wasn’t taken due to motions she filed prior to the hearing.
The Reiswigs are charged with 38 counts of selling unqualified securities, 37 counts of false statements in connection with the sale of securities and 17 counts of theft from elders, all felonies. Prosecutors allege the couple stole $1.9 million from 37 victims, 17 of whom were 65 years or older, from August 2006 to July 2007 through their two nonprofit businesses, U.S. America and Global Reserve, BJ.
Outside the courtroom, Deputy District Attorney Anna Winn said Janet Reiswig’s motions are related to her belief that “she’s a victim of harassment” and has been unfairly targeted by San Diego County prosecutors for crimes she has all ready been found innocent of.
Winn said the Reiswigs were cleared of any wrongdoing relating to the “bait and switch” of services from their Orange County business, in which they were advertising unrealistically high rates on Certificates of Deposit but then talked people into insurance annuities that the couple made commission on.
Additionally, Superior Court Judge Joel Pressman denied Janet Reiswig’s request for co-counsel in the case. She has represented herself since dismissing her court-appointed attorney at the couple’s first arraignment in June.
The Reiswigs next court appearance is a status conference scheduled for Feb. 20. If convicted on all charges, the couple faces more than 95 years in prison, Winn said.
Victims testified at the nearly weeklong preliminary hearing last month about their brief meetings with Janet Reiswig at the couple’s offices in La Jolla and Rancho Bernardo. The witnesses said they were responding to an ad in San Diego Union-Tribune by U.S. America for Certificates of Deposit insured under FDIC.
There was no positive identification of Ronald Reiswig by any of the 37 victims; however, Winn alleges that his endorsement and cashing of the victims’ checks provides insight to his behind-the-scenes role in the operation.
Authorities recovered $1.3 million from the Reiswig’s bank account.
Janet Reiswig is currently serving an 11-year, four-month prison sentence and Ronald Reiswig a 10-year prison sentence after an April conviction out of Orange County, court records show. The couple was found guilty of defrauding an elderly widow of $563,744 and stealing her identity, according to court documents.