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SCAM WATCH

Phony health inspector targets restaurant owners

Also, two men are arrested in connection with an alleged film investment scheme, a group issues a warning about a telephone scam involving false reports of computer viruses, and a man is accused of defrauding investors of $9.5 million.

March 15, 2011|By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times

Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for.

Restaurants targeted –- A man posing as a health inspector has been trying to get credit card information from Los Angeles County restaurant owners, county Supervisor Don Knabe said in a news release. The man has directed restaurant owners to call a telephone number, which has a recording that asks them to input banking information, Knabe said. Los Angeles County health inspectors always present a county-issued photo identification card upon request and will never accept payment for an inspection or charge a fee for a county letter grade, Knabe said.

Film investments –- Two Southern California men have been arrested on suspicion of defrauding victims of more than $300,000 by making false claims that they would use the money to produce an independent movie with big-name movie and music stars. Bart Slanaker and Joseph Roth operated a North Hills boiler room at which salespeople would cold-call victims, offering them a chance to invest in an independent movie called "There for Hope," the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles said in a news release.

Computer virus removal –- Cyber criminals have been gaining access consumers' home computers and downloading personal data, the Internet Crime Complaint Center warns in a bulletin. In the scam, a caller will tell victims that their computers are infected with a virus and direct them to a website that reportedly will help fix the problem, the bulletin said. When victims click on a link on the website, the caller is able to access the victim's computer and obtain personal information.

Disbarred lawyer –- A Beverly Hills man has been indicted on charges that he operated an investment scheme in which victims lost $9.5 million. Mark Roy Anderson, 56, told victims that they could make enormous profits by investing in various oil companies, the indictment alleged. He failed to tell victims that he had been convicted of mail fraud and disbarred in Nevada, prosecutors said.

stuart.pfeifer@latimes.com

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