Teleservices Firm Owner Faces Jail Time

A man accused of running a $15 million investment scam through direct response television ads faces up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines after his conviction by a federal jury.

Jurors in federal court in West Palm Beach, FL, found Thomas Berger, owner of teleservices firm COMCOA, Boca Raton, FL, guilty of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud last week. Berger is scheduled for sentencing June 14.

Federal prosecutors said Berger's company sold telecommunications licenses for $7,000 while the same licenses were available from the Federal Communications Commission for $35. About 1,500 people were defrauded by the scheme, according to the charges.

Twenty-four others involved in the scam have been convicted, and another two remain fugitives, prosecutors said. The Securities and Exchange Commission first launched civil charges against Berger and his company in 1994. The company was later barred from doing business by court order.

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