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Defunct Firm Ordered to Pay Fraud Award

SECURITIES | BRIEFLY

July 26, 1997|John O'Dell

A defunct Huntington Beach investment firm that has been accused of swindling elderly clients of $25 million in an oil-lease scam has been ordered to pay $122,197 to a Lakewood woman. An arbitration panel for the National Assn. of Securities Dealers found that Pacific Coast Financial Services Inc., its owners and a subsidiary defrauded Winifred Brown, an 80-year-old legally blind widow, of most of her savings. The award is to be paid by Pacific, its Beacon Energy Inc. subsidiary and company principals Thomas Gans and Don Tullio Morandini, both of Long Beach. Pacific Coast, the arbitration panel ruled, sold Brown $117,000 worth of high-risk Beacon oil leases it falsely claimed were backed by government-insured bonds. The arbitrators found that Gans and Morandini told the firm's sales agents to make that claim. Neither executive nor their attorneys could be reached for comment. Several Pacific Coast brokers settled separately with Brown before the arbitration and testified against Gans and Morandini, said Montgomery G. Griffin, Brown's attorney. The ruling is the first in a series of legal actions being pursued against Pacific Coast, Gans and Morandini, who are listed as principals of the investment firm in its brochures.

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