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California

4 Ordered to Pay $4.5 Million in Securities Fraud

March 23, 2000|JEFF LEEDS

A federal judge has found executives of two companies liable for an alleged securities fraud that cost investors $46 million, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Wednesday.

Four executives from the two companies, Alliance Leasing Corp. of San Diego and Prime Atlantic Inc. of Jacksonville, Fla., were ordered to pay about $4.5 million for allegedly duping more than 1,500 investors nationwide into pouring money into a commercial equipment leasing business.

Prime was ordered to pay about $13.3 million. Lawyers for the SEC said Alliance received the investor funds, then paid Prime an undisclosed 30% commission.

Investors were told they would receive a 14% annual return on their money, but that never materialized, the SEC said. Prospects for collection on the civil judgments against the defendants--Charles Browne and Susan Browne of Alliance and David Halsey and Braccus Giavanno of Prime--remain uncertain. Regulators earlier froze about $22 million in the two companies' accounts.

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