A federal jury in Santa Ana this afternoon convicted the final three defendants connected to an Orange County-based telemarketing scheme that defrauded golfers out of almost $5 million.
After hearing four weeks of evidence and deliberating for two days, the jury convicted the three men of four counts of wire fraud and four counts of mail fraud. Those found guilty are:
* Glenn Totten, 44, of Thousand Oaks;
* Rick Winters, 52, of Costa Mesa; and
* Marvin Walker, 47, of Costa Mesa.
* Previously in this case, six defendants pleaded guilty.
* Totten, Winters and Walker were associated with Professional Golf Products (PGP), a Huntington Beach operation that had golf clubs assembled from component parts and marketed them over the telephone to golfers across the nation. Totten managed one of PGP’s telemarketing rooms in Lakewood. Winters was the sales manager of a telemarketing room located in Santa Ana. Walker was a telemarketer in PGP’s Fountain Valley telemarketing room.
* Telemarketers acting on behalf of PGP solicited golfers to participate in PGP’s test-play program, under which golfers allegedly could try high-quality golf clubs made by major manufacturers for 60 days, all with no financial obligation. To allegedly insure the test-player’s return of the golf clubs at the end of the test-play, PGP required a credit card security deposit, usually between $1,000 and $1,600. PGP cheated test-players out of approximately $4.9 million in security deposits when it failed and refused to issue refunds of the security deposit, despite test-players having returned the golf clubs within the 60-day test period. Some test-players lost their security deposits because they allegedly failed to comply with onerous return conditions, such as having to request PGP’s advance permission before returning the golf clubs. The onerous return conditions were not disclosed to the test-players prior to their credit cards being charged.
* The three defendants convicted at trial are scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Alicemarie H. Stotler on March 8, 2004. Each count of wire fraud and mail fraud carries a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in federal prison.
* Earlier this year, five other defendants pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud. They are:
* Joe Crawford, 46, of Lakewood;
* John Tepel, 52, of Huntington Beach;
* Thorin Scott, 43, of Huntington Beach;
* Tony Perotta, 44, of Costa Mesa, who pleaded guilty on the first day of trial; and
* Steven Parker, 49, of Redondo Beach.
* The ninth defendant in the case, Larry Brock, 40, of Garden Grove, pleaded guilty to misprison of a felony. All six defendant who pleaded guilty are scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Stotler in March 2004.
* The case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Orange County Sheriffs Department. These agencies received substantial support from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS-Criminal Investigation.