• Scam Diego alerts

The Securities and Exchange Commission, the agency that is being closely watched because of its egregious failures such as turning a blind eye to the Madoff Ponzi scheme, has recently done one laudable job and muffed another in San Diego.

First, the praise. Today (Oct. 26), U.S. District Judge Irma E. Gonzalez turned over to the U.S. Attorney's office the case of Alfred Louis (Bobby) Vassallo for criminal contempt of court prosecution. As has been noted here in several columns and blog items, Vassallo fleeced San Diego investors in a scam called Presto Telecommunications. In 2005, the federal court ordered Vassallo to pay about $2 million in various costs and penalties, enjoined him from committing sales of unregistered securities, misrepresenting ownership and control of companies and misappropriating investor funds. But Vassallo has not paid a cent. The SEC made a convincing case that he has done everything he had been enjoined from doing, including misappropriating investor funds. He is taking the Fifth, but now faces long-overdue criminal charges. Actually, Presto is just one of a long string of capers Vassallo has been involved in, but it looks like there will be some action.

Then the pabulum. According to the Union-Tribune, four former City officials have settled SEC allegations of misleading bond buyers about the City's pension health. Former City Manager Michael Uberuaga, former Auditor Ed Ryan, former Deputy City Manager Patricia Frazier and former Treasurer Mary Vattimo have agreed to settle the SEC charges. They will say they acted negligently. Frazier, Ryan, and Uberuaga will pay fines of $25,000 and Vattimo $5,000. The case has been heard and eviscerated in federal court, where the settlements were filed Friday, according to the U-T.

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Comments

a2zresource Oct. 27, 2010 @ 1:27 a.m.

We await the outcome of the Presto criminal contempt matter, and I a personally glad all of the city job titles list above were prefaced with "former".

You'd think that the settlement terms of admitting negligence just might be a bond rating factor. I wonder if the voters realize that the timing of the settlement and the potential impact on the city's general obligations... oh never mind. I'm sure you are already sketching out a future feature on that topic.

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a2zresource Oct. 27, 2010 @ 2:41 a.m.

A funny thought: I wonder how many search engines made a decision to categorize this blog post entitled "SEC: One Touchdown, One Fumble" as something about a college football recap... or maybe you are too cool for school!

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sussanfrank Oct. 27, 2010 @ 4:53 a.m.

I agree what will happen now. i am waiting for that results.

Sussan frank rhinestone iron

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Don Bauder Oct. 27, 2010 @ 7:10 a.m.

Response to post #1: Fraud was originally charged. It got reduced to negligence. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 27, 2010 @ 7:13 a.m.

Response to post #2: Frankly, that never occurred to me. The SEC is an acronym for one of the toughest college conferences in the nation. Yes, I wonder what search engines did with this. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 27, 2010 @ 7:15 a.m.

Response to post #3: I have no idea how long your wait will be. Best, Don Bauder

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paul Oct. 27, 2010 @ 8:22 a.m.

"I wonder what search engines did with this"

I just searched for SEC and football on google, and your blog post was listed number 2!

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Don Bauder Oct. 27, 2010 @ 11:29 a.m.

Response to post #7: I'm told the SEC (the Securities and Exchange Commission) posted it on its internal blog. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell Oct. 27, 2010 @ 9:33 p.m.

When Bobby goes to jail and the inmates get through with him his nickname will be Vaseline Vassallo.

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 27, 2010 @ 11:09 p.m.

When Bobby goes to jail and the inmates get through with him his nickname will be Vaseline Vassallo.

===

I am sort of shocked the guy is not already in jail, in for a long time.

I guesss white collar fraud is not viewed as a serious crime in San Diego.

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Don Bauder Oct. 28, 2010 @ 8:57 a.m.

Response to post #9: Unless he gets sent to a country club prison, as so many white collar criminal are. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 28, 2010 @ 9:01 a.m.

Response to post #10: Of course white collar crime is downplayed in San Diego. That's been going on for a long time. The Justice Department wants U.S. attorneys to focus on the border. The current DA and city attorney are both looking the other way on white collar crime. The AG is currently ineffective. Why do you think so many sharks locate to San Diego? They can see it is a wide-open town for money hustlers. Best, Don Bauder

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