I have noticed an increase in the volume of programs on sports networks that deal with the issue of who or what is number one, and why. “Who was a better quarterback? Montana or Elway or
who was a better pitcher Clemens or Gibson?” This is a harmless and sometimes interesting endeavor that often makes for interesting debate that usually doesn’t end in violence, unless of
course, it is between someone from New York and Boston or anyone from Philadelphia. We are going to conduct our own version of the great comparison battle. We are going to compare and decide who is more evil, Jason Voorhees the serial killer from the Friday the 13th movie series or investment con-artists. I know what you are thinking, “How can investment con-artists even
compare with the machete wielding, hockey mask clad Voorhees?” Well…In this piece I am going to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the investment con-artists are worse.
Jason Voorhees really needs no introduction or lengthy explanation. His resume is unprecedented. The fictional serial killer entered the evil genre in 1980, in the original Friday the
13th film; however he did not kill anyone in the first film, it was actually his mother who committed all the carnage. Jason eventually did get his stride appearing in a total of eleven films (with a
twelfth in preproduction). Voorhees is responsible for making 1970’s Detroit Red Wings hockey masks fashionable; he is impossible to kill, being brought back to life by random meteorological
events like lightening. Voorhees, in one film, even escapes from hell. The one dark spot on Jason’s record was his acceptance of the lifetime achievement award from MTV. We won’t hold
that against him because of his statistics; the website Fun Trivia puts the Voorhees body count at an astounding 154.
We receive countless reports and stories of investment scams weekly. I estimate that I am able to discuss less than 5% of what I receive on any given week on the radio show. For this debate, I
grabbed several stories from my stack that has grown to the size of the NYC phone book. California state securities regulators report that Donald Neuhaus allegedly has been hawking
phony viaticals to investors since 1999 by promising guaranteed returns of 16% to 31% and telling many clients that they would generate returns of over 100%. The California Department of
Corporations slapped Neuhaus and his cohorts with a cease and desist order in 2003. Rising from the dead Neuhaus continued his faulty promises through a number of their businesses. Thescam has supposedly been shut down according to a federal indictment filed last month in the U.S. district court in Sacramento. The body count is over 500 investors, with over $25 million in losses.
Michael Saquella, aka Michael Paloma, is a “repeat fraudster” according to the Securities and Exchange Commission who has a history of schemes to manipulate the prices of penny stocks. He was originally fined in 2002 by the SEC. Like bullets ripping through Jason Voorhees, it didn’t stop him. This past month the SEC said that it settled a civil complaint that charged him with
posing as a “legitimate financier” to seven cash strapped companies over the past four years. What he did was to get his hands on below market price stock and pulled the old Wall Street
pump and dump, artificially inflating the value of the stocks using fake press releases and phony magazine mass-mailings then dumping the shares, driving the prices down.
Steven Rodd was barred from the brokerage industry in 2003 because he lied to investors about the commissions he was charging them in a company called LinkTel which turned out to be a
Ponzi scheme. Not to be deterred by the pesky SEC, Rodd went on to sell phony savings accounts that promised high interest rates. The body count is estimated to be in the thousands
with over $317 million wiped out.
In a pristine Rhode Island setting, much like Jason Voorhees’ Crystal Lake stomping grounds, in a colonial-era tavern, David Ullom gives what seems to be an innocuous retirement seminar
along with a free dinner. What the 30 unsuspecting retirees and pre-retirees don’t know is that their “gracious” host has been booted from the securities business twice for nefarious deeds!
According to the SEC, FINRA, and the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation, there is no record of Mr. Ullom reapplying for a securities license. The body count and losses in this case
Frank Garza admitted to U.S. District Judge, Claudia Wilkin that from 1999 to 2001 he diverted his investor’s money for his own use, including buying a penthouse and building homes in Arizona. His company at the time, Garza & Associates, a tax service company, offered “rare investment opportunities” for their customers. Despite his admission, Garza, according to his attorney, currently works as a financial adviser. The body count is under 100, with losses in the millions.
The Securities and Exchange commission filed charges against Michael E. Kelly and those working with him in a massive investment scam targeting senior citizens. The fraud involved the
sale of securities in the form of “Universal Leases”. The SEC alleges that Kelly and staff between 1999 and 2005 raised $428 million for their scheme with $136 million coming from IRA accounts.
The SEC further alleges that a nationwide network of unregistered salespeople selling the Universal Leases collected undisclosed commissions of over $72 million. The body count is in
the thousands, the losses in the hundreds of millions. Prosecutors are pouring over thousands of documents and plan on calling over one hundred
witnesses in the Daniel W. Heath & Associates case that has turned out to be a grand Ponzi scheme. The Heath family used seminars and slick salesmanship to lure unsuspecting victims. Prosecutor’s state that many of their victims lost their entire life savings; what they can expect to get back is about 15 cents on the dollar. Prosecutors put the body count at over 1,400 victims
nationwide with losses close to $200 million.
I could go on and on with countless cases, but I think I have proven my premise; that investment con-artists are worse than Jason Voorhees. They are both equally resilient in making either
death or suspension defying comebacks; however the body count and damages wrought by the con-artists are by far greater. I know what your thinking… “Markowski has finally lost his mind, these con-artists never killed anyone.”
You are right, they haven’t. However, neither has Voorhees. Jason was a fictional character, the only pain he dispensed is for the people who sat through the films (I am not a slasher film fan). The carnage and pain that the con-artists have wrought is real and is destroying many people. If you want real horror, try waking up one day and realizing your nest egg you spent years building is gone. Reality is often much more frightening than fiction!
Galvin Andrew Defense Opens in Case of Alleged Investor Bilking Orange County Register August 29, 2007
Hirsh Lou Trial Starts in Alleged Ponzi Scam The Press-Enterprise August 27, 2007
Hall John Massive Elder Fraud Trial Begins Monday The Californian August 25, 2007
Lee Henry Former Bay Area Investor Pleads Guilty to Fraud The Chronicle August 25, 2007
Kelly Bruce Banned Brokers Fly Under Radar Screen Investment News June 25, 2007
Kelly Bruce For Repeat Fraudsters, Crime Does Pay Investment News September 17, 2007
The SEC SEC charges 26 Defendants in 428 Million Securities Fraud That Targeted Senior Citizens and Retirement
Savings May 9, 2007