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Lawyer, Padre Ex-Pitcher Fined in Securities Fraud

Courts: The men and two companies controlled by John F. D'Acquisto must pay $121,640.

February 06, 1998|JOHN O'DELL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LOS ANGELES — A federal judge has ordered Anaheim Hills attorney Thomas F. Goodman, former San Diego Padre pitcher John F. D'Acquisto and two D'Acquisto-controlled investment companies to pay $121,640 in fines and interest to close out a 1995 securities fraud case.

Goodman, who was D'Acquisto's attorney, said he has appealed the judgment, which was announced Thursday by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fraud charge "is not correct," he said. "I was merely the attorney, not a participant."

Goodman, D'Acquisto and D'Acquisto Financial Group Inc. and Doubleday Trust, both defunct San Diego firms, were accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of selling $7 million worth of fraudulent investments in 1994 and 1995.

The two men said in a 1995 court appearance that they had used investors' funds to acquire several racehorses, vacant land in Mexico and an interest in a Mexican minor league baseball team. The SEC charged that they had promised investors returns of 2% to 7% per week and that when the profits were not forthcoming they told investors their principal could not be returned.

D'Acquisto and his companies were fined $7.4 million in October 1996, and D'Acquisto's registration as an investment advisor was revoked by the SEC last year. But Goodman's case was separated and not resolved until late last month, SEC trial attorney James A. Howell said Thursday.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Barry T. Moskowitz found that Goodman participated in securities fraud by preparing and issuing prospectuses promoting fraudulent secured investment schemes, the SEC said.

Goodman was held jointly liable with D'Acquisto, Doubleday Trust and D'Acquisto Financial Group for paying the SEC $99,500 in profits gained through fraud, as well as $22,140 in accrued interest. The SEC attempts to return recovered funds to defrauded investors, Howell said.

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