Site Search
County of Sonoma California
Office of the District Attorney

You are here:

People v. Aldo Joseph Baccala

  • SCR 619660
  • DAR 591050

This page contains regularly-updated information for the victims in the matter of People v. Aldo Joseph Baccala.

A joint Press Release was issued by the California Attorney General’s Office and the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office.

A copy of the charges filed (PDF: 339 kB) in this case is also available.

If You Are a Victim in the matter of People v. Aldo Joseph Baccala

As a crime victim, you hold a number of rights guaranteed to you by the California Constitution. Those rights are often referred to as The Victims’ Bill of Rights or Marsy’s Law.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Will I get my money back?

Short answer:

If Baccala is convicted of the crimes charged, the court will order Baccala to pay all of the victims back. Enforcement of restitution orders can be challenging, but the court is required to order restitution to crime victims in every case where a defendant’s criminal actions have resulted in a financial loss. Even with a restitution order, however, there is never any guarantee that victims will actually receive any money from Baccala.

Long answer:

In California, a victim of crime who incurs any economic loss as a result of the commission of a crime shall receive restitution directly from any defendant convicted of that crime. (Cal. Penal Code § 1202.4(a) PC). This is a constitutional right held by crime victims, (see California Constitution, Article I, Section 28, Subdivision (b), at (13)), and a criminal sentence which does not include a full restitution order is considered to be legally invalid. (See, e.g., People v. Brown (2007) 147 Cal. App. 4th 1213, 1225-1226; People v. Moreno (2003) 108 Cal. App. 4th 1, 10; and People v. Rowland (1997) 51 Cal. App. 4th 1745, 1751-1752).

What this means is that, at the time of sentencing, each victim who sustained a monetary loss, which remains unpaid, as a result of Baccala’s criminal activities must receive a restitution order to address that loss. (Cal. Penal Code § 1202.4(f)). A restitution order is a court order, similar to a civil judgment, which directs a criminal offender to pay the victim back any money stolen. A restitution order is not, however, limited to the amount actually stolen as the result of the crime. (People v. Chappelone (2010) 183 Cal. App. 4th 1159, 1172-73.) A restitution order may include additional economic losses incurred by crime victims, such as:

  1. Wages or profits lost by the victim due to time spent as a witness or in assisting the police or prosecution;
  2. 10% interest that accrues as of the date of sentencing or loss, as determined by the court;
  3. Actual and reasonable attorney’s fees and other costs of collection accrued by a private entity on behalf of the victim.
(Cal. Penal Code § 1202.4(f)(3)).

A restitution order does not, however, guarantee that the victims will recoup all of their losses. Depending upon the sentence, the California Department of Corrections or the local probation department will assist the victims in receiving payments from the offender. What this usually means is that the victims will receive payments until the total amount of restitution ordered by the court is satisfied. In a case such as this one, where there are many victims and extraordinary losses, the total amount ordered by the court in restitution may never be recovered.

A restitution order is generally a more powerful legal order than a civil judgment, which is the kind of order a court awards the winner of a civil lawsuit. Restitution orders are enforceable the same way a civil judgment is, (Cal. Penal Code § 1202.4(i)), but do not expire and are not dischargeable in bankruptcy proceedings.

FAQ Menu ↑

I am not a named victim in the criminal complaint, will I get a restitution order anyway?

Short answer:

Maybe.

Long answer:

In the last count of the criminal complaint (PDF: 339 kB), Count CLXIV (Count 164), Baccala is charged with a violation of California Corporations Code § 25541(a). You may still be considered a victim pursuant to this count, which charges that Baccala, from May 24, 2004 through August 8, 2008, willfully and unlawfully engaged in acts, practices and a course of business which operated as a fraud and deceit upon a person or persons in connection with the offer of a security to investors in The Little Flower, 8700 Lawyers Road, Charlotte, North Carolina, 6401 and 6441 Holder Road, Clemmons, North Carolina, Jenni-Lynn, 915 Hook Avenue, West Columbia, South Carolina, The Gardens of Statesville, 2147 Davie Avenue, Statesville, North Carolina, Premier Capital Lending, LLC, the Nevada Car Wash Group, LLC, and other promissory notes.

In order to be considered a victim pursuant to this count, the transaction(s) that you were involved in with Baccala must have occurred during the date range listed and must have involved one of the entities / promissory notes described. If you believe that you are a victim according to this count, please send us your contact information and mail documentation of your loss to the appropriate address.

One important point to consider is that the charges in this case are based upon an extensive review of the evidence by law enforcement professionals and by the attorneys who are prosecuting this case. Not everyone who lost money invested through Baccala can be a charged victim, due to the specific elements that the law requires the prosecution team to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

FAQ Menu ↑

When will I get a restitution order?

Short answer:

Restitution is ordered at sentencing, which occurs only if the defendant is convicted of the crimes charged. In other words, it depends upon the outcome of the proceedings and the length of time involved in prosecuting the case. This process could be as short as a couple of months or could last for a number of years, depending upon the complexity of the case and the decisions that the criminal defendant makes throughout.

Long answer:

When a felony criminal case is filed in California, there is a procedure that must be followed. First, the criminal complaint (PDF: 339 kB) is filed. In the complaint, all of the charges filed against the defendant are listed. Once the criminal complaint is filed, the defendant must be arraigned on the charges. The arraignment is the time when the defendant answers the charges filed against him. Normally, a defendant will enter a plea of Not Guilty at his arraignment, which preserves all of the defendant’s constitutional and statutory rights while his attorney reviews the evidence supporting those charges and meets with the defendant to determine possible defenses to the charges that have been filed.

In California, a criminal defendant has a right to a preliminary hearing (or probable cause hearing) before a case is set for trial. At the preliminary hearing, the People, represented by the prosecution team, must produce evidence sufficient to convince the magistrate (normally a Superior Court Judge) that there is probable cause to believe that the defendant committed the crimes charged. The defendant has a right to demand that this hearing occur within 10 court days or may choose to waive time and set the preliminary hearing several weeks (or months) out in order to review all of the evidence and discuss the case with his attorney. The preliminary hearing in a complex fraud case such as this one can take several weeks or months to complete and would normally involve a significant amount of testimony.

Following a preliminary hearing, the magistrate presiding over the hearing has to determine whether the People have provided evidence sufficient to establish that there is probable cause to believe that the charges and enhancement charged are true. The case is set for trial only if the magistrate finds that the People have met this burden at the preliminary hearing.

If the magistrate makes a probable cause finding following the preliminary hearing, the People then must file an information, which is a formal charging document similar to the criminal complaint. The information charges the defendant with all of the crimes and enhancements that have been supported by probable cause as established at the preliminary hearing. The information must be filed within 15 days of the magistrate’s probable cause finding at the preliminary hearing. The defendant will then be arraigned on the information – a hearing very similar to the original arraignment on the criminal complaint – and the case will be set for jury trial.

The defendant has a right to demand that his jury trial occur within 60 days of his arraignment on the information, or may waive time and allow the court to set the trial more than 60 days after his arraignment on the information. Once trial has been set, there are sometimes continuances that are granted by the court for a variety of reasons, which can delay the trial for weeks, months, or even years.

In a complex case like this, a trial can take several months to complete. At trial, the People have to convince a jury of 12 people beyond a reasonable doubt that the crimes charged were committed and were committed by the defendant.

If the jury finds the defendant guilty, then the case is set for a sentencing hearing before the trial judge. The defendant may demand to have the sentencing hearing within 20 days of his conviction, but may also waive time to allow the court, the attorneys, and / or the probation department to prepare for the sentencing hearing. If time is waived, the sentencing hearing could occur several months after the defendant is found guilty of the crimes charged.

It is not until the sentencing hearing occurs that the court will order restitution to the victims. If the court cannot determine the full amount of restitution by the sentencing date, the known amount may be ordered at sentencing and the excess amount of restitution owed may be reserved for a later date – once the proper amount of restitution can be determined. When the victims and / or probation and / or the People are able to establish additional losses for which the court should order restitution, the court and the defendant will be notified of the request. The court is required to order full restitution once that amount is established, but the defendant has a right to a hearing to contest that amount.

The process involved before a court can order restitution can be very lengthy; however, the process described above can be cut short at any point if the defendant pleads guilty to the charges filed. A guilty plea entered by a criminal defendant carries the same weight as a jury verdict and will be followed by a sentencing hearing. A defendant may also choose to waive his right to a preliminary hearing, which can shorten the length of time a criminal case will take to complete.

Because the criminal defendant’s decision on how to proceed with the charges pending against him have a significant impact on the amount of time a criminal prosecution will take, it is impossible to say with any certainty how long it will a case to navigate through the criminal justice system.

FAQ Menu ↑

Will I have to testify?

Short answer:

Maybe.

Long answer:

If this case proceeds to preliminary hearing – and then to trial – it is very likely that, if you are a victim, you will need to appear in court and testify. If you are needed, you will receive a subpoena which tells you when and where to appear for court. The subpoena will also provide you with information about who you will need to contact prior to testifying in court. It is very important that, if you are victim or witness involved in this case, you do not discuss this case with anyone else who might be a witness or victim in the case. Although not intended, such conversations can adversely affect the quality of the information you might hold about the case.

FAQ Menu ↑

What is Aldo Joseph Baccala charged with?

Baccala is charged with committing 164 different felony offenses and with two different enhancements, which speak to the amount of money involved in the case. Specifically, Baccala has been charged with:

  1. 131 counts of violating California Corporations Code § 25401 (Untrue Statement or Omission in Connection with Purchase or Sale of Security);
  2. 24 counts of violating California Penal Code § 487(a) (Felony Grand Theft);
  3. 8 counts of violating California Penal Code § 368(d) (Elder Financial Abuse);
  4. 1 count of violating California Corporations Code § 25541(a) (Securities Fraud).

He is also charged with the following special allegations:

  • California Penal Code § 186.11(a) (Aggravated White Collar Crime Enhancement for Loss Which Exceeds $500,000.00).
  • California Penal Code § 12022.6(a)(4) (Excessive Taking Enhancement Where Loss Exceeds $3,200,000.00).

FAQ Menu ↑

Victim Contact Information

Please carefully review our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) before contacting us.

This Web page was specifically designed to answer questions that the victims in the case of People v. Baccala might have. If this Web page does not answer your questions or concerns, please see below.

If You Are a Victim:

  • To Email a question to the prosecution team: DA_Aldo_Joseph_Baccala@sonoma-county.org.
  • To Mail information (including documentation of loss) to the prosecution team, the letters should be sent to:
    Office of the Attorney General
    Attn: Sharon Harris
    Senior Legal Analyst
    Re: People v. Baccala
    P.O. Box 944255
    Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
    Sonoma County DA’s Office
    Attn: Karen Schefer
    Legal Secretary
    600 Administration Drive, Room 212 J
    Santa Rosa, CA 95403
  • To Speak with someone about the case:
    Office of the Attorney General
    Sharon Harris: (916) 445-0058
    Sonoma County DA’s Office
    Karen Schefer: (707) 565-2311

Some content on this page is saved in an alternative format. To view these files, download the following free software.