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KPBS Midday Edition

New series looks into San Diego's largest Ponzi scheme

San Diego businesswoman Gina Champion-Cain showing her ID as she is walking into court, March 31, 2021.
Pool photo via KUSI
San Diego businesswoman Gina Champion-Cain showing her ID as she is walking into court, March 31, 2021.

Over the course of nearly a decade, Gina Champion-Cain swindled hundreds of millions of dollars from unsuspecting investors in what would be the largest Ponzi scheme in San Diego history.

Now, more than two years since she pleaded guilty to a 15-year prison sentence, a new series of stories from The San Diego Union-Tribune looks to tell the rise-and-fall story of Champion-Cain.

Reporter and co-author of the series Lori Weisberg joined Midday Edition on Monday to talk about the role the media played in helping to build a larger-than-life profile of Champion-Cain.

"It did elevate her status, but those in the know weren't speaking up at the time, saying, 'Wait a minute, she isn't really all she claims to be,'" Weisberg said.

One potential bright spot is that, unlike most Ponzi scheme victims, those who lost their money to Champion-Cain may recoup most of their losses.

"At the end of the day, it appears that these victims could potentially get 90% to 95% of their losses back, which, as the judge in this case just said a few days ago, that is phenomenal, almost unprecedented," Weisberg said.

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