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O.C. BUSINESS PLUS

4 Accused of Ostrich Farm Scam

March 09, 2000|EDMUND SANDERS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Three Orange County residents were indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury for allegedly bilking investors in a bogus ostrich farm scheme.

The three are David Hudson III, 51, of Garden Grove, Michael Sylvester Whitney, 47, of Mission Viejo, and Loretta Joan Antrim, 72, of Laguna Hills. Also charged was Patrick Lynn Antrim, 50, who is serving a prison sentence for an unrelated fraud case. He is the son of Loretta Antrim.

None of the individuals could be reached for comment.

The indictment alleges that 83 investors lost about $819,000 in the Ostrich Group in Irvine, which claimed to be operating an ostrich-breeding business. In fact, no such business existed and the defendants spent most of the money on themselves, according to government lawyers.

All four are charged with six counts of mail fraud and four counts of securities fraud. Patrick Antrim and Hudson are also charged with six counts each of money laundering for allegedly using proceeds of the fraud to promote the Ostrich Group.

Patrick Antrim and Hudson face up to 190 years in prison if convicted. Loretta Antrim and Whitney face up to 70 years. The four are expected to be arraigned in federal court in Santa Ana, but a date has not been set.

Last year, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ordered all four to repay investors.

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