Here in the SD FL we've had our fair share of celebrity lawsuits -- Paris Hilton, Kanye -- but local SEC chief Eric Bustillo has set his sights on the white whale himself, former CHiPs star Larry Wilcox:
An actor who starred as a cop in the hit 1970's television show, "CHiPs" is one of several penny stock promoters the Securities and Exchange Commission has charged with securities fraud.First of all, it's nice to see Larry gainfully employed.
In complaints made public on Thursday, the SEC alleges that the actor, Larry Wilcox, and more than a dozen other penny stock promoters engaged in a series of kickback schemes to manipulate the volume and price of microcap stocks and illegally generate stock sales.
Wilcox, who starred as Officer Jon Baker on the long-running television show "CHiPs", lives in West Hills, Calif., and is president and chief executive of The UC Hub Group, according to an SEC complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
The SEC alleges that Wilcox perpetrated kickback schemes with two other penny stock company executives--Anthony Mellone, who was the chief executive of Tri-Star Holdings Inc and Alex Parsinia of Zcom Networks Inc.
According to the SEC's complaints, the series of schemes generally involved penny stock promoters paying kickbacks to pension fund managers or stockbrokers who would use their clients' accounts to purchase the publicly traded stock of microcap issuers promoted by the defendants. Microcap companies typically have limited assets and its stocks tend to be low priced and trade in low volumes.
The SEC also alleges that some promoters aimed to disguise the kickbacks as payments to phony consulting companies.
The alleged schemes were uncovered, however, when the penny stock promoters unknowingly arranged illegal transactions with Federal Bureau of Investigation agents or sources participating in undercover operations, according to an SEC complaint.
Of those charged, 10 of the individuals, including Wilcox, face separate criminal charges, which were filed by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Those charges include conspiracy, securities fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud. Wilcox, 63 years old, is among those facing criminal charges.
"These penny stock promoters paid illicit kickbacks to people who they thought would help them profit at the expense of unsuspecting investors by manipulating the price of their stock or fraudulently selling their shares," said Eric I. Bustillo, director of the SEC's Miami office.
No word on when Eric will bust Erik "Ponch" Estrada for that stupid land deal in Arkansas he is always promoting on late-night TV.
Either that or for always wearing a ridiculously tight uniform and feathered hair back in the 70s (we'd all be in jail if that were a crime!).
Wilcox is represented by William Richey and has apparently already entered a plea.