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....
Award-winning investigative journalist Nick Schou is managing editor of OC Weekly. He is the author of Kill the Messenger: How the CIA’s Crack Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb (Nation Books 2006), which provided the basis for the 2014 Focus Features release starring Jeremy Renner and the L.A. Times-bestseller Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love’s Quest to bring Peace, Love and Acid to the World, (Thomas Dunne 2009). He is also the author of The Weed Runners (2013) and Spooked: How the CIA Manipulates the Media and Hoodwinks Hollywood (2016).