Investor accused in Ponzi scheme missing

June 17, 2009 4:43:59 AM PDT
A suburban investor has been reported missing by his family. The disappearance of David Hernandez of Downers Grove comes as federal regulators accuse him of running a Ponzi scheme that allegedly bilked other investors out of millions of dollars.

He is the man behind the well known Chicago sports personality Mike North. David Hernandez bankrolled Mike North's Web site, coming up with millions of dollars from investors. But now investigators say it's all a Ponzi scheme and Hernandez has been missing for 24 hours.

David Hernandez lives with his wife, Gina, in Downers Grove. When he did not return home from work on Monday night she called police to file a missing persons report. Police said she last spoke to him by phone just before 7 Monday night and the things he said Monday night made her very concerned.

"The comments were enough to alarm her to feel that he was at risk," said Sgt. David Bormann, Downer's Grove Police.

On Monday, the 48-year-old Hernandez was accused of running a Ponzi scheme. The Securities and Exchange Commission said he bilked more than 100 investors out of $11 million at least in at least twelve states. The SEC said Hernandez told investors they were funding a pay day lending business. In reality, feds said he used the money for personal expenses and other businesses, including Chicago Sports Webio, a Web site featuring several well known Chicago sports talk personalities. It was created by host Mike North and also features longtime Chicago sportscaster Chet Coppock.

"He might be in Memphis, Tennessee, or Tijuana or Costa Rica but this guy, this guy is a classic scam artist," said Coppock.

Police say Hernandez was last seen driving an olive colored 2005 Ford Explorer. He was wearing a burgundy shirt and khaki trousers.

Coppock says he's still showing up for work at Chicago Sports Webio even though one of his recent paychecks bounced and another hasn't arrived.

"We'll be back on the air sooner rather than later, but in the meantime there's a collective feeling of embarrassment," said Coppock.

In 1998, David Hernandez pleaded guilty to embezzling nearly $700,000 from investors when he was vice president of a Chicago bank. But Downers Grove Police said that case has nothing to do with their investigation. They just want to know if anyone knows where David Hernandez is.


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