Southern California Operations Raided, Shut Down
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A series of raids have shut down several businesses that sold shaky investments in so-called wireless cable television deals, state regulators said.
Investigators for the Department of Corporations last week searched 10 offices allegedly selling the illegal investments by phone from Orange, Los Angeles and San Diego counties.
In the field of wireless cable, which is mostly unregulated, subscribers get a variety of broadcast signals through an antenna device at home.
Authorities say the field has caught the attention of unscrupulous operators in Southern California, long known for its profusion of phone con artists sometimes called ″boiler room″ operations.
″Nobody’s hit wireless on a concerted basis before,″ Bill McDonald, the department’s enforcement chief, said Monday. ″I think this product is dead.″
Two operations took up to $30 million from more than 3,000 investors since August 1992, said Corporations Commissioner Gary S. Mendoza. Many investors were elderly and unsophisticated, he said.
Some promoters promised returns of more than 600 percent over five years with low risk, said Mendoza. Sales commissions ranged from 39 percent to 50 percent, he said.
One of the targeted firms, Micro-Lite of Newport Beach, has been the general partner of wireless ventures in Boston and Baton Rouge, La., said a company statement denying any wrongdoing.
″We’re a clean company doing a clean business, as far as I know. We’re a legitimate telecommunications company,″ said Micro-Lite spokesman Mario Iacoviello.