October 5, 2011
FBI REPORTS - SANTA ANA, CA-The owner and operator of a Downey firm has pleaded guilty to wire fraud in a scheme that collected nearly $1 million from victims who were falsely promised that their money would be used to host Christian rock concerts.
Lauren Baumann, 43, of Downey, the owner of Stewardship Estates, LLC, pleaded guilty late yesterday before United States District Judge Josephine S. Tucker.
Baumann admitted in court today that she solicited loans from investors with claims that the money would be used to finance "battle of the bands" events featuring Christian rock bands and other music groups that would generate profits from ticket sales and company sponsorships. In some cases, Baumann told investors that the funds would also be used to purchase, refurbish, and resell homes.
In fact, a substantial portion of the investors' funds was used to pay earlier investors, who thought they were receiving profits from Baumann's venture. Baumann also used investor funds to pay approximately $10,000 a month to rent a historic mansion in Downey and to pay private school tuition for her children, among other personal expenses.
As a result of Baumann's scheme, more than two dozen victims in Orange and Los Angeles counties suffered losses totaling nearly $560,000.