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2 North Coast financial advisers arrested in AGA probe

The arrests cap a yearlong investigation by state officials into one of the largest alleged investment frauds in the state in recent memory.

Investigators have said the probe turned up more than 2,000 investors, many of them elderly, who claimed to have lost more than $200 million in various land deals.

The alleged fraud has had a deep impact in Sonoma County. Dozens of investors who thought they were investing the low-risk real estate deals that would earn them steady retirement returns have lost everything.

The warrants outlining the charges against the men were not available Thursday evening.

But a source close to the case said all three men were charged with securities fraud, elder abuse, and first-degree residential burglary. The burglary charge relates to the fact the men went to the victims? homes with the purpose of defrauding them, the source explained.

Armitage and Guidi allegedly steered hundreds of investors into risky real estate investments, neglecting to tell them that the man behind the deals ? James Koenig ? was a convicted felon.

The deals ranged from the purchase of senior centers to the development of a golf course near Tracy to corporate notes backed by no real estate.

They face more than a dozen lawsuits accusing them of defrauding their mostly elderly clients out of their life?s savings. Civil cases accuse the men of a variety of fraud charges, including secretly owning side companies that managed the investments; charging exorbitant fees; putting vulnerable elderly investors into highly risky investments; using money from new investors to pay off earlier ones; and concealing Koenig?s criminal fraud conviction.

Armitage and Guidi shuttered their Santa Rosa firm, AGA Financial, last summer, following the news that Koenig?s firm, Asset Real Estate and Investment of Redding, had been raided by state investigators.

Armitage declared bankruptcy earlier this year, but investors were unable to recover anything from his estate, largely because his two homes ? a 4,000-square-foot home in an exclusive Healdsburg neighborhood and a 75 percent ownership in a castle-themed home outside Redding ? were highly leveraged.


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