Downers Grove man accused in Webio scheme talks

August 31, 2010 4:45:30 AM PDT
A west suburban man who pleaded guilty to charges he used a Ponzi scheme to bilk millions of dollars from investors is talking about the alleged scam and his run from the law.

David Hernandez is waiting to be sentenced for wire fraud.

It's been almost a year and a half since police took Hernandez into custody in connection with the Ponzi scheme that, according to federal authorities, cost hundreds of investors millions of dollars. He was also the man behind Chicago Sports Webio, which involved a number of big-name sports personalities. It all collapsed shortly after the feds announced charges and Hernandez fled town for downstate Bloomington-Normal.

For the first time, Hernandez describes the hours leading up to his attempted suicide.

"In hearing all the damage that I caused the people, first my family and the investors who did have a loss, everyone was screaming for my head and in my psychotic state, I thought they would get their pound of flesh," said Hernandez.

Hernandez has spent much of the last year in the den of his Downers Grove home. He has been out on bail but restricted by an ankle monitor to his residence. Since January he's been awaiting sentencing on his conviction for wire fraud. He knows the next several years of his life will be spent in prison.

"We're united. I'm faithful. I'm strong again. I'm beyond what occurred last year and building back up and that's what we have to be," said Hernandez.

It all came crashing down last June when the feds started looking into his alleged Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of several million dollars and caused the collapse of his Chicago Sports Webio venture that had brought several big names on board. Hernandez fled to a downstate hotel where he says he tried to commit suicide.

"I did ingest a box of D-con rat poison. And I did in fact cut my left wrist," he said.

Hernandez showed off what he says is the police report.

"The bathroom floor, toilet and tub were densely covered in blood. The occupant of the room was unresponsive," it read. But Hernandez survived.

Some of his victims are skeptical of his suicide and the myriad of health problems he says he's had since, including a tumor near his brain.

"David Hernandez is a con man. David Hernandez is a thief," said sports broadcaster Chet Coppock.

Coppock left ESPN Radio to work for the failed internet station.

"Dave Hernandez is a man devoid of a conscience. He doesn't feel bad for anybody. He feels terrible for David Hernandez...why? Because he got caught," said Coppock.

"If there's something I could do, I would," said Hernandez.

After months of counseling, Hernandez now says he feels stronger and wants to take responsibility for his crimes. He says he feels badly for the victims but becomes most emotional when talking about what his family has endured.

"My family are good people...take it out on me. I can take it, not them. What happened wasn't fake," said Hernandez.

A number of his victims say they lost their life savings to Hernandez.

Hernandez admitted to ABC7 he caused people to lose money but says he did make real investments and had a potentially successful business model.

The feds, meantime, have accused Hernandez of faking his illnesses to stay out of jail. They are trying to revoke his bail.


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