Judge Orders Radio Host, Others, to Pay $3.9 Million
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A federal judge ordered former radio show host Irwin H. ``Sonny″ Bloch to pay $3.9 million in a securities fraud case that cost his listeners millions, regulators said Friday.
U.S. District Judge Allen G. Schwartz in New York issued the order against Bloch, his wife, Hilda Bloch, and six companies involved in the broad investment fraud case.
None of the defendants responded to or presented a defense to charges in the lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, said SEC attorney Andrew Geist.
Schwartz also ordered Bloch and the others not to offer securities or violate federal securities laws in the future. A violation of such an order can lead to criminal penalties.
The 58-year-old Bloch was arrested in May, 1995, in the Dominican Republic. He moved there from Tampa, Fla., in March 1995 to broadcast his program, ``The Sonny Bloch Show,″ as the investigation of his finances intensified. In Tampa, Bloch had broadcast his show six days a week for 15 years, where it eventually was syndicated on 170 stations heard across the nation.
The SEC complaint accused Bloch of bilking investors of $3.8 million through the sale of ``memberships″ in three companies formed to acquire AM radio stations.
Bloch, currently in a New York City jail, also faces federal criminal tax fraud, perjury and obstruction of justice charges in New York and a federal conspiracy and fraud case in New Jersey.
The criminal cases accuse Bloch of defrauding investors of nearly $21 million by promoting fraudulent wireless cable and radio investments, billed as suitable for retirement plans.
The broadcaster has denied wrongdoing and has accused investigators of violating his constitutional rights.
Schwartz ordered Bloch and his wife to repay $3.9 million, plus interest, from sale of securities in three companies within a broadcast radio group that Bloch controlled. A decision on possible civil penalties is pending.