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Almost One Year Ago—HL Leasing Ponzi Scheme?

John Otto

It will be one year ago tomorrow that Leasing News wrote the story about Heritage Leasing, Fresno, California. The same afternoon its president, founder, and well-known person in the equipment leasing industry took his life. It appears the estimated loans by investors total $132 million dollars from perhaps up to 1,000 investors.

There are up to 1,000 investors. All loans were unsecured, although the note purported to grant a security interest in a lease identified only by a number. No UCC’s were found regarding HL Leasing leases as presented. They do not appear to have existed and the FBI continues to investigate the case as a Ponzi scheme.

It appears the background of graduating from Harvard University is not true, or other information John Otto pretended to have accomplished. Heritage Pacific Leasing was run out of the Fresno office while HL Leasing was run out of his home by two employees as well as his wife with Dan Ramirez as president, who also was active in Heritage Pacific Leasing.

It appears both HL Leasing and Heritage Pacific Leasing are operating, servicing leases and/or residuals, while the FBI has confiscated the planes from Otto's charter company as well as other assets. There has not been a receiver appointed, a bankruptcy, and the FBI office out of Fresno states they are continuing their investigation, which is difficult because the founder is no longer around to answer questions.

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