Jeff Smith 2 p.m., April 16
SEC Seeks Contempt Order Against Vassallo
The Securities and Exchange Commission today (Sept. 21) filed in federal court to get a civil contempt order against Alfred Louis (Bobby) Vassallo, one of San Diego's egregious characters operating in the last two decades. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Vassallo fleeced a bunch of San Diegans in a Mexican telecom operation known as Presto Telecommunications. Meanwhile, he lived in a posh La Jolla home and sent his children to exclusive private schools in Europe. In 2005, Vassallo was enjoined permanently from committing securities fraud. This morning, the SEC said that Vassallo "blatantly and brazenly disobeys the court's permanent injunction." He has been scamming investors for five years since he said he wouldn't, noted the SEC. He has taken at least six investors for $391,000 by falsely claiming to control two wireless companies and falsely telling potential investors they can reap large profits. (He said he could double one investor's money.) Further, he has not paid the $2 million he was assessed in 2005, noted the agency.
Vassallo has conned investors in Tahiti and New Zealand, and funneled investor funds to foreign bank accounts, said the SEC. (Stashing funds in offshore tax havens is a Vassallo specialty. In the past, he has used such secrecy havens as Grenada, Nauru and the Isle of Man.) Vassallo has evaded investors' repeated requests to account for his expenditure of their money, said the SEC, and he has lied to investors about the reason for his 2005 injunction against fraud. In wooing investors since that injunction, Vassallo has "shown no inclination whatsoever" to obey the court order, said the SEC, as he used fraud and deceit to sell unregistered securities. The filing was signed by David S. Brown of the SEC's Los Angeles office.