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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

Man to Serve 18 Months in Stock Scheme

Court: Convicted perjurer Jerry Fraschilla, boyfriend of former Mouseketeer, is also ordered to pay $65,000 restitution.

November 17, 1998|TRACY WILSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Four days after a local jury rejected his trip-and-fall lawsuit against the city of Ventura, convicted perjurer Jerry Fraschilla was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for his role in a securities fraud scheme.

U.S. District Judge Lourdes G. Baird also ordered Fraschilla, a 61-year-old Oxnard resident, to pay approximately $65,000 in restitution for his crimes.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Jack Weiss said Fraschilla also will be on supervised probation for three years after his release. One of terms of the release is that Fraschilla not engage in stock purchases without prior approval of the federal probation department, Weiss said.

Fraschilla, who could not be reached for comment Monday, was not taken into custody after the sentencing hearing in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The ex-Marine and former businessman was ordered to report to federal authorities Jan. 4 to begin serving his sentence.

In August, Fraschilla pleaded guilty to 21 counts of securities fraud, mail fraud, perjury and obstruction of justice for participating in an alleged stock-buying scheme with his longtime girlfriend, Darlene Gillespie.

An original member of the 1950s television show "The Mickey Mouse Club," Gillespie, 56, is awaiting trial on the same charges. She has pleaded not guilty.

The couple were arrested Dec. 3, 1997, at their Oceanaire Street home on suspicion of engaging in a fraudulent stock-buying practice. Authorities said the couple purchased stock in 1992 and 1993 without means or intent of paying for it.

Federal officials accused Fraschilla and Gillespie of opening accounts at six stock brokerages under a fictitious name and in the names of companies they controlled.

A federal indictment alleged that the couple placed orders for more than 194,000 shares of common stock valued at $827,000 with closed and overdrawn bank accounts.

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil lawsuit against the pair in 1994. The suit was settled a year later, after the couple agreed to pay a fine and reimburse the money they lost.

FBI investigators later concluded that the couple lied during depositions taken during the SEC's civil action and gave authorities false documents, officials said.

*

Last week, Fraschilla asked a Ventura County jury to award him $90,000 as compensation for an alleged March 1997 jogging accident in which he tripped and fell on the Ventura Pier.

Testifying on his own behalf, Fraschilla told jurors that he stumbled over a warped piece of wood and injured his back. His lawyer told the jury during the proceedings that Fraschilla needed money for back surgery.

But attorneys for the city and one of its contractors introduced evidence showing that the plaintiff had a history of back problems. They also questioned whether the accident was faked.

After deliberating three hours, the jury rejected Fraschilla's lawsuit and awarded no damages.

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