Law enforcement officers raided two Orange County companies Wednesday looking for evidence related to a scheme that allegedly defrauded more than 100 investors of over $4 million.
Investigators are looking for Robert L. Syrax, who ran two businesses, Gecko Holdings of Irvine and RLS Consulting in Costa Mesa. The companies solicited money from people to invest in what turned out to be a nonexistent online gambling venture, authorities said.
Officials seized documents and equipment relating to the fraud at one residence and the two businesses where the federal search warrants were served, but none of the 25 employees of the companies was there, said Sgt. Lloyd Downing of the County of Orange Boiler Room Apprehension Task Force, a multi-agency organization that targets telemarketing fraud.
"Everyone had picked up and left," Downey said. "They knew we were coming. Obviously, someone informed on us."
The companies ran telemarketing operations that offered to sell investors stock in the online gambling business, promising that the company would go public by mid-June, authorities said. The stock was priced at $2 a share, and investors allegedly were told the company anticipated that the shares would trade in the $6 to $8 range.