How do we break this to Ponch?
Federal regulators on Thursday brought securities fraud charges against more than a dozen penny-stock promoters — including Larry Wilcox, who played California Highway Patrol officer Jonathan "Jon" Baker on the hit TV show "CHiPs" in the late 1970s and early '80s.
The Securities and Exchange Commission said it caught the promoters in "various illicit kickback schemes to manipulate the volume and price of microcap stocks and illegally generate stock sales."
The SEC, the U.S. attorney for southern Florida and the FBI set up a sting to lure stock promoters, according to an SEC statement.
The agency said the schemes it uncovered "generally involved the payment of kickbacks to purportedly corrupt pension fund managers or stockbrokers, who would use their clients' accounts to purchase the publicly traded stock of microcap issuers controlled or promoted by the individuals and companies charged today."
"What the promoters and insiders did not know was that the people with whom they arranged these illegal transactions were actually undercover FBI agents or confidential sources participating in undercover operations," the SEC said.
Wilcox, 63 and a resident of West Hills, "perpetrated interrelated kickback schemes with two other penny-stock company executives," one in Florida and one in Calabasas, the SEC alleged. The agency lists Wilcox's company as UC Hub Group Inc.
His lawyer couldn't be reached for comment.
"CHiPs," which ran from 1977 to 1983, starred Wilcox and Erik Estrada as motorcycle cops. Estrada played Francis "Ponch" Poncherello.
Wilcox appeared as a guest star on several other shows, including "The Love Boat" and "Fantasy Island." He also appeared in episodes of "Murder, She Wrote" and "MacGyver." He co-produced and starred in the TV movie "CHiPs '99."
Last year he had a cameo role as Officer Baker in the TV comedy "30 Rock."