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AutoCare Accused in SEC Filing

November 16, 2002|Kathy M. Kristof | Times Staff Writer

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed an emergency request in U.S. District Court in Riverside this week to halt the sale of securities in Carlsbad-based California AutoCare Corp., an auto repair company that the SEC said is controlled by Joseph Sanfellipo of Laguna Beach.

The court issued a temporary restraining order late Thursday and appointed a receiver and froze the assets of the defendants, SEC senior trial counsel Karen Matteson said. Matteson alleged that Sanfellipo's company raised $1 million from about 1,000 investors over a two-month period by materially misstating the company's operations and prospects.

The SEC accused Sanfellipo and three others, James E. Gasper of Solana Beach, Kimball R. Vance of La Quinta and Elihu M. Sigal of Palm Desert, of violating federal broker-dealer registration provisions. Sanfellipo was also accused of violating anti-fraud provisions of federal securities laws.

None of the defendants could be reached for comment Friday. Calls to company offices were not returned.

Sanfellipo was the target of a previous SEC action. In 1998, he was ordered by the commission to cease and desist from future securities fraud violations in connection with the sale of securities in Packaging Plus, which the SEC alleged had materially overstated its assets, revenue and income.

A hearing on whether a preliminary injunction should be issued against the defendants is scheduled for Nov. 25.

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