November 13, 2009 | 11:51am
|In this pyramid scheme, only the boat was real|
Yesterday, the Weekly
ran my cover story
about the shady relationship between an OC Hospital company and a Las Vegas-based medical lender and what it might have to do with a doctor framed on gun charges. On the same day, the OC Register
reported the latest news
in the SEC investigation into that lender, Medical Capital Holdings, Inc., and its two chief executives, Joey Lampariello and Sidney Field. Suffice it to say that just when you think you've heard the worst about this case, it gets even sleazier.
The SEC first filed suit against Medical Capital and froze the company's assets back in June, claiming the company wrongly collected $18.3 in administrative fees from investors, few of whom will ever see their money again. In September, the court receiver examining the company's assets reported that almost 90 percent of the firm's stated assets of more than $540 million didn't even exist.
As I already reported
, some of the things Medical Capital invested in were questionable to say the least: a company called EMark Advertising that produces internet porn spam emails and which submitted a bunch of phony-looking corporate bios to get its cash. Then there was the company that produced downloadable video clips of bikini-clad girls for cellphones, and oh yeah, a multi-million-dollar party yacht that Lampariello and Field used for themselves.
But wait, it gets worse. Now the SEC is apparently charging Medical Capital with cheating investors by raising cash from new investors to pay off old investors and sticking the new investors with bogus accounts that weren't worth the paper they were printed on. This is exactly the type of fraud that Bernie Madoff committed, which kind of highlights a question that's been on my mind lately.
Where the hell are the handcuffs and why aren't they wrapped around Lampariello and Field's hands? My guess is that the answer is that the level of shadiness in this whole story is so high and the volume of it is so large that it will take months of further investigation before the feds know the whole story and figure out what to type up on the warrants. Stay tuned....