California Shuts Down 11 Securities Marketers

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A sweep of Southern California telemarketing operations during the final three months of 2000 led to the shutdown of 11 securities marketing campaigns, the California Department of Corporations said this week.


Operation Tough Call also resulted in warnings issued to 74 additional firms that were notified that they may be in violation of securities or telemarketing laws.


The companies running the campaigns were ordered to cease operations after being charged with illegally or fraudulently offering stock or partnership interests to consumers. The companies were seeking to raise more than $200 million, according to the Department of Corporations.


Firms that were shut down included:


• Big Picture Entertainment Group Inc., Sherman Oaks, CA, which was charged with the fraudulent sale of securities, false filings with the Department of Corporations and violation of a previously issued cease and desist order. One of its principals, Richard F. Lee, was convicted of the charges. He was sentenced last week to 18 months in jail and was ordered to pay $750,000 in restitution.


• Aqcess Technologies, Costa Mesa, CA, and a telemarketing firm, Golden Global Pacific, Irvine, CA, which were ordered to cease telemarketing activities on Nov. 16 because of charges of fraudulently selling securities and unlicensed broker activity.


• Diamondshow.com, La Jolla, CA, and four telemarketing companies in its employ, including World Wide Financial Group, Hollywood, CA; CGB Financial, Woodland Hills, CA; American Business Center, La Jolla, CA; and Investment Partners de Mexico, Las Vegas, NV. They were ordered to cease telemarketing on Nov. 6 last year following charges of fraudulently selling securities.


• Global Internet Gaming Inc., Marina Del Rey, CA, which the Department of Corporations sued Dec. 13 because of a complaint alleging that the company fraudulently sold securities and violated a previously issued cease and desist order.


• Taramar Venture Capital, Los Angeles, which was ordered to cease telemarketing activities on Oct. 19 because of charges that it fraudulently sold securities. Its principal, Marvin Butler, is under indictment for a prior charge of mail fraud and money laundering.


• Telephonic Yellow Pages Inc., Lakewood, CA, which received a civil injunction to cease telemarketing operations on Dec. 16 because of charges of fraudulently selling securities and false filings with the Department of Corporations. Four of its principals face criminal indictments.


Other businesses that the Department of Corporations ordered to cease telemarketing operations as a result of Operation Tough Call include Edge Business Services, Beverly Hills, CA; Modern Marketing Co., Costa Mesa, CA; ICON Trading Inc., Northridge, CA; Wasatch Pharmaceutical Inc., Midvale, UT; and Provision Capital Funding, San Diego.


The FBI, the Federal Trade Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the San Diego Boiler Room Task Force, the County of Orange Boiler Room Apprehension Task Force, postal inspectors and local law enforcement agencies participated in the investigations, in addition to the Department of Corporations.


Operation Tough Call was funded by a 1999 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.
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