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Valpo man accused in financial fraud arrested in California

Updated: April 25, 2014 6:09AM



A local legal battle has taken a strange twist after a Valparaiso man was arrested Wednesday in California on charges of trying to break into the house of a woman who is suing him in federal court in Hammond.

William D. Cantrell Jr., of the 3900 block of Goodrich Court, is charged with burglary and carrying a concealed weapon and is being held in the San Diego County Jail on $1 million bail, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

Police said they got a call about a prowler about 3 a.m. Wednesday from a San Marcos, Calif., woman and apprehended Cantrell on her property.

The woman sued Cantrell last summer, accusing him of swindling her out of $787,000 in life savings that she had invested with him. She invested the money in 2010 into what Cantrell called the Dragon Fund, and he gave her quarterly reports showing earnings of up to 16 percent, according to the lawsuit.

Thinking that after two years she had made a $245,000 profit, the woman asked Cantrell to send her $120,000 so she could buy a house for her mother, but after he stalled her several times he admitted that he had lost all the money soon after she had invested it, the lawsuit says.

Cantrell is representing himself in the suit and contends that he never promised the woman that her money would be safe and the quarterly reports could not be relied on for “forward-looking results.” He has not specifically addressed her claim that he admitted to stealing the money.

This month, the woman amended her suit to include allegations that Cantrell has sent letters to her friends with false claims of her having sexually transmitted diseases and also emails to her employer, threatening to report the nonprofit to the Internal Revenue Service unless it fired her.

The woman’s attorney confirmed that Cantrell is the same man who was arrested in San Diego, but she declined to comment on the case.



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