The co-owner of a national telemarketing firm that prosecutors said bilked investors out of $25 million on worthless oil exploration leases pleaded guilty Friday to fraud charges.
Terry Risenhoover, 41, of Malibu admitted five counts of mail fraud and wire fraud, Assistant U.S. Atty. Terree Bowers said.
U.S. District Judge Ferdinand Fernandez accepted the pleas and scheduled sentencing for Feb. 19. Each of the charges carries a maximum prison term of five years. Risenhoover, who was allowed to remain free on bail, had been scheduled to stand trial next week.
His partner in Alaska Land Leasing Inc., David Kane, 55, of Malibu, pleaded guilty Oct. 14 to four counts of fraud and selling unregistered securities through the mail.
In addition for the government's agreement not to ask for more than three years in prison, Kane agreed to pay $1 million to a restitution fund for the victims, Bowers said.
Bowers said about 3,000 people throughout the country succumbed to telephone sales pitches from the Malibu company to invest in oil and gas leases on federal land in remote sections of Alaska owned by the federal government.
About $25 million was collected during 1982-84 on the land leases, which the government said had little or no prospect for producing oil.