Vassallo told La Jollans of his famous friends and business associates to gain their confidence — money.
Alfred Louis "Bobby" Vassallo, former La Jollan and inveterate name-dropper, has confessed to wire fraud and will be sentenced August 24. He pleaded guilty in federal court in Santa Ana in April.
The Texan blew into La Jolla more than a dozen years ago and said he knew George W. Bush, used to mow Ross Perot's lawn, and had been feted by Prince Albert of Monaco. He set up a so-called telecommunications company named Presto and wooed investors with big claims of future profits.
The Securities and Exchange Commission in 2004 charged Vassallo with defrauding more than 500 investors of more than $26 million. He had told his victims that he had business relationships with AT&T, Sprint, and Cisco Systems, among other large companies. Not true. He was ordered to repay $2 million to investors but did not.
In 2011, he was criminally indicted in Santa Ana on three counts of wire fraud. The government zeroed in on one cuckolded investor. Vassallo had told that person that he would more than double his money by investing in a wireless communication venture in Tahiti and elsewhere in French Polynesia. But he did not tell him of the prior charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission, or that he had not paid the money he owed.
This spring, Vassallo pleaded guilty to one wire-fraud charge, including taking money from an investor through false and fraudulent claims.