Talk Show Host Fined $300,000 for Fraud

     SAN JOSE (CN) – A federal judge fined talk radio host Barbra Alexander $300,000 for a multimillion-dollar securities fraud, on top of the 9-year prison sentence she got last year.
     The SEC sued Alexander and her partners Michael Swanson and Beth Piña in 2010, for allegedly siphoning $2.5 million from “fraudulent sale of interests in two real estate investment funds.”
     Alexander was host of the syndicated radio show “MoneyDots” and the president of APS Funding in Monterey, Calif.
     She and Swanson promised investors 12 percent annual returns; Piña handled the bookkeeping.
     Piña reached a settlement with the SEC in June. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh fined Swanson on July 17, in the same summary order judgment she issued against Alexander. Swanson has been sentenced to 37 months in prison.
     Alexander and her cohorts took $7 million from investors, but the SEC said “a significant portion of the money invested did not fund short-term loans to third parties,” as promised. “Instead, over a third of investor funds – $2.5 million of the $7 million raised – was siphoned off by Alexander, Piña, and Swanson and funneled to themselves and the various entities they controlled. Alexander and the entities she controlled received $1.6 million, while Piña and Swanson and the entities they controlled equally split the remaining $900,000 of misappropriated funds.
     “For the second half of 2008 and all of 2009, while the three partners paid themselves at least $30,000 a month, APS Funding failed to make any legitimate loans. Instead, Alexander used investor funds to pay for her other businesses, home renovation, and for her radio shows, ‘MoneyDots.'”
     Alexander was convicted of 28 felony counts after a 10-day jury trial last year.
     Swanson was convicted of similar charges in 2013.
     Piña pleaded guilty to his charges in late 2012.
     The SEC filed a civil complaint, but it was stayed pending the resolution of the criminal cases. The SEC moved to lift the stay last July, which the court granted. The commission then moved for summary judgment, which the court largely granted.
     Judge Koh agreed with the SEC that the conspirators could not deny liability in the civil action in light of their criminal convictions.
     “Plaintiff actively opposed staying the instant civil litigation during the pendency of defendants’ criminal proceedings; defendants had every incentive to avoid the imposition of criminal liability; there is no risk of inconsistent judgments; and defendants each had the procedural protections of full criminal jury trials,” Koh wrote.

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