L.A. radio talk host indicted in alleged Ponzi scheme
The former host of a popular Persian-language financial radio talk show has been indicted on charges that he defrauded investors -- including some of his show’s listeners -- out of $20 million in a long-running Ponzi scheme.
John Farahi, 54, was accused of falsely promising clients of his company, New Point Financial Services, that he would invest their money in corporate bonds insured by the Troubled Asset Relief Program. He actually spent the money on personal expenses, paying returns to early investors and on highly speculative options trades in which he lost millions of dollars, prosecutors said.
The scheme ran from 2005 until 2010, according to an indictment returned late Wednesday by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles.
Farahi hosted a daily financial talk show, “Economy Today,” for about eight years on Los Angeles' KIRN-AM (670) until 2010, when the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit that accused him of defrauding New Point investors.
Farahi’s former attorney, David Tamman, was also charged in the indictment. He’s accused of conspiring with Farahi to obstruct an SEC investigation of the fraud scheme.
Tamman did not immediately respond to a telephone message seeking comment. Farahi could not be reached.
-- Stuart Pfeifer
Photo: A briefing room at SEC headquarters in Washington. Credit: Bloomberg News