Los Angeles radio personality John Farahi won't be advising listeners on investment matters any time soon.
On Monday, Farahi, who hosted the popular financial talk show “Economy Today” on Persian-language KIRN-AM radio, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for running a Ponzi scheme that targeted wealthy folks in L.A.'s Iranian-Jewish community.
United States District Judge Phillip S. Gutierrez sent Farahi to prison and ordered him to pay over $24 million in restitution to 59 victims. The Farahi scandal sent shockwaves through the Iranian-Jewish community.
David Tamman, Farahi's Santa Monica-based attorney, was convicted of 10 counts last year, Courthouse News Service reports, “including obstruction of justice, altering records in a federal investigation, and being an accessory after the fact to Farahi's crimes.”
Farahi, who operated New Point Financial Services in Beverly Hills, used his KIRN-AM talk show to promote his bogus investment strategy, which gave him a reportedly lavish lifestyle.
All that came crashing down in January 2010 when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued Farahi for defrauding more than 100 investors, which was followed by an investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Federal prosecutors charged Farahi with numerous counts of serious wrongdoing, including “16 counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud, five counts of offering for sale unregistered securities, four counts of loan fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, one count of conspiring with Tamman, four counts of obstruction of justice, five counts of alteration of documents, one count of suborning perjury, one count of concealing a material fact, and one count of witness tampering,” L.A. Weekly's Dennis Romero reported back in 2011.
Farahi could have faced 717 years in prison, but he made a deal with prosecutors in June 2012 before he would end up dying in jail.
KIRN-AM general manager John Paley told the Los Angeles Times in 2010 about the Farahi scandal, “It's troubling. We immediately discontinued the program. We had no choice — until there's a resolution.”
Guess Paley got his resolution.
Contact Patrick Range McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org.