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Securities Fraud Orange County

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BUSINESS
December 21, 1997 | JAMES S. GRANELLI, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Two broker-dealers and their Irvine brokerage were fined $30,000 for allegedly violating trading rules in selling a company's initial public offering four years ago. Larry H. Friend, Stephen D. Weinress and their company, L.H. Friend, Weinress, Frankson & Presson Inc., did not admit the allegations against them in agreeing to the sanctions imposed by NASD Regulation Inc., the enforcement arm of the National Assn. of Securities Dealers.
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NEWS
February 27, 2001 | DARIN ESPER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Harvard-Westlake vs. Bell Gardens was a rematch of the 2000 Southern Section Division III championship game, but it was not a repeat. Bell Gardens showed the form that 85-game winning streaks are made of Monday at Belmont Plaza, winning its third consecutive girls' water polo title, 13-2, over Harvard-Westlake. Last year, the Wolverines (19-7) fared much better in a 14-11 loss. Harvard-Westlake outshot the Lancers (31-1), 32-31. The difference was that Bell Gardens was on target, while Harvard-Westlake's Meg Zepfel and Courtney Quinn made only two of 19 shots.
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BUSINESS
August 18, 1994 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Video Phone Promoter Charged With Fraud: The Orange County defendant, who continued soliciting investors after he was jailed for contempt of court, was charged with 30 counts of criminal fraud and money laundering. The federal grand jury indictment, handed down in Los Angeles, alleges that Michael Gartner, 32, masterminded a $12-million securities fraud by selling hundreds of shares in a nonexistent video phone system he said would link major business centers in Los Angeles and Orange counties.
BUSINESS
December 16, 2000 | E. Scott Reckard
A boutique Orange County brokerage that peddled day-trading services to Asian Americans was sanctioned and fined $115,000, and its chairman agreed to be barred permanently from the industry, regulators said. Providential Securities Inc. in Fountain Valley, which came under U.S. Senate scrutiny for alleged day-trading abuses, agreed to the fine to settle numerous charges of violating securities laws and the rules of the National Assn.
BUSINESS
June 4, 1997 | JAMES S. GRANELLI, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Michael Gartner, who once lived the high life in a rented mansion in the hills of San Juan Capistrano, was sentenced Tuesday to 51 months in prison for duping investors into paying $12 million for bogus securities in his video telephone company. Gartner also was ordered by U.S. District Judge Consuelo B. Marshall in Los Angeles to pay $8 million in restitution to some 600 defrauded investors of his Interlink Data Network in Costa Mesa.
BUSINESS
March 19, 1998 | P.J. Huffstutter
A state agency said Wednesday that it revoked the certified public accountancy license of Jon R. Erickson for his role in inflating the sales figures at Platinum Software Corp., where he was chief financial officer during 1993 and early 1994. The action by the state Board of Accountancy follows Erickson's 1996 consent agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission that banned him from serving as an officer or director of a publicly traded company for 10 years.
BUSINESS
September 10, 1994 | GREG JOHNSON, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A local man who bilked 125 investors out of $11 million signed an agreement Friday prohibiting him from future violations of securities laws. Richard Carl Huitt, 41, had already been sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to fraud in connection with a bogus second trust deed sales program. He was also ordered to pay $8.7 million in restitution.
BUSINESS
November 25, 1997 | JAMES S. GRANELLI, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Two Orange County brokers have been suspended by a federal securities regulator for allegedly violating broker-dealer rules. The enforcement arm of the National Assn. of Securities Dealers, which regulates the brokerage profession, suspended Glenn A. Dove of Sunset Beach for 15 days and fined Nicholas Mark Ellis of Irvine $20,000. Neither Dove nor Ellis admitted any wrongdoing in settling the disciplinary actions, which were released Monday by NASD Regulation Inc.
BUSINESS
February 17, 1994 | MICHAEL FLAGG, TIMES STAFF WRITER
The Orange County district attorney's office says it is considering an investigation that might lead to criminal charges against Newport Beach's Lincoln Mortgage & Loan Co. The state Department of Corporations has already filed a civil lawsuit accusing Lincoln's owner, Kenneth E. Sarvak, of fraud. Assistant Dist. Atty.
BUSINESS
February 13, 1997 | JAMES S. GRANELLI, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A Laguna Niguel man, convicted nearly three years ago of defrauding investors of $1.8 million, has admitted in an unrelated case that he collected nearly $300,000 from the government by filing false claims for tax refunds. Randall Craig Hutchens, 43, used the names and Social Security numbers of nine adults to fabricate W-2 forms and file fraudulent refund claims for the 1995 tax year, according to Assistant U.S. Atty. Gregory Weingart.
BUSINESS
March 16, 1999 | E. SCOTT RECKARD, TIMES STAFF WRITER
An Orange County company accused by federal regulators of defrauding investors with false claims has been ordered to repay $3 million, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Monday. U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder issued a summary judgment March 4 against Microwest Industries Inc. and related companies, the SEC said. One of several individual defendants in the case, sales representative Thomas J. Perkins, was fined $5,500.
BUSINESS
January 22, 1999 | From Bloomberg News
A Hawaiian Airlines Inc. director agreed to pay $450,000 to settle charges that he profited by trading on inside information after overhearing colleagues on the airline's board discuss plans for a merger involving an Orange County nursing home company. The Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that William B. Lum learned that Sun Healthcare Group Inc. was negotiating a bid for Tustin-based Regency Health Services Inc.
BUSINESS
October 15, 1998 | LESLIE EARNEST, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Executives at St. John Knits artificially inflated the company's stock price by making false statements about its business prospects, according to a lawsuit filed this week. The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in San Diego, contends that Robert E. Gray, chief executive of the Irvine-based women's apparel maker, sold 100,000 shares of St. John stock for $2.9 million after company officials forecast 15% to 20% earnings growth earlier this year. St.
BUSINESS
September 25, 1998 | JONATHAN GAW, TIMES STAFF WRITER
In a nationwide crackdown on the allegedly fraudulent trading of small-company stocks, federal regulators Thursday filed 13 lawsuits, including one against an Irvine brokerage suspected of inflating the shares of troubled Internet shopping service Shopping.com. A Securities and Exchange Commission suit charged that Waldron & Co. and its former president, Cery B. Perle, illegally boosted Shopping.
BUSINESS
September 1, 1998 | P.J. HUFFSTUTTER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Waldron & Co., the Irvine investment banking company being investigated by federal regulators for possible stock manipulation, fired its president, Cery B. Perle, on Friday. Company sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Perle's dismissal is linked with Waldron's ties to Shopping.com, the troubled Internet shopping service that is also under scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
BUSINESS
August 4, 1998 | BARBARA MARSH, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Paul R. Safronchik, the former chief executive of the now-defunct Home Theater Products International Inc., was sentenced Monday to three years in federal prison for a scheme in which his company logged millions of dollars of bogus sales. Prosecutors said investors in the Anaheim company lost more than $20 million as a result of the scheme. Safronchik, 37, of Aurora, Ore., also was ordered by Judge Gary L. Taylor to pay $300,000 in restitution to investors.
BUSINESS
March 16, 1999 | E. SCOTT RECKARD, TIMES STAFF WRITER
An Orange County company accused by federal regulators of defrauding investors with false claims has been ordered to repay $3 million, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Monday. U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder issued a summary judgment March 4 against Microwest Industries Inc. and related companies, the SEC said. One of several individual defendants in the case, sales representative Thomas J. Perkins, was fined $5,500.
BUSINESS
June 16, 1998 | PATRICE APODACA, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Premier Laser Systems Inc.'s former auditor said it recommended that an internal investigation into the company's finances for its last fiscal year be expanded to include questionable transactions in early 1997 as well. The Irvine-based maker of dental and medical lasers did not follow that advice, prompting Ernst & Young to resign as Premier's auditor last month, the accounting firm said in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
BUSINESS
June 16, 1998 | PATRICE APODACA, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Premier Laser Systems Inc.'s former auditor said it recommended that an internal investigation into the company's finances for its last fiscal year be expanded to include questionable transactions in early 1997 as well. The Irvine-based maker of dental and medical lasers did not follow that advice, prompting Ernst & Young to resign as Premier's auditor last month, the accounting firm said in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
BUSINESS
June 3, 1998 | Dow Jones
In a partial reversal, the dispute-resolution office of NASD Regulation Inc. directed an arbitration case against Wedbush Morgan Securities Inc. to proceed. The case arose from a complaint by Eagle Opportunities Fund Ltd., a short-seller that claimed it was forced to buy the stock of Internet retailer Shopping.com in Corona del Mar at inflated prices. On May 15, NASD administrators dropped the case against Wedbush and Irvine brokerage Waldron & Co.
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