This is a story about Michael Osborn, who has a number of aliases, including Michael Osborn Ison, Jerry Lambert, Michael Lamont, and Tom Furlong. Osborn has spent much time in San Diego, formerly having offices here.
On March 9, Osborn was charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with operating a fictitious investment scheme. He and his co-defendants will go to trial in the Southern District of New York. His co-defendants include Virgil Gene Williams of San Diego, a longtime associate; and Shenae Catherine Osborn, Osborn's wife.
Through a firm named VIPWallST, Osborn and confreres told some of their victims that they could quickly make 100 percent to 130 percent on their capital, according to the securities commission. They told the investors that VIPWallST would purchase notes that were convertible into penny stocks. They raised more than $400,000 from investors. Instead of investing the proceeds in notes, they "simply misappropriated most of the money for their own purposes and investors lost everything they invested," says the securities commission. In the alleged scam, Osborn used the alias Tom Furlong, and Shenae Osborn signed all the documents.
Osborn is now in prison in Pennsylvania for committing an earlier scam of the same kind; he had been arrested in May of 2015 for wire fraud and money laundering, having fleeced a bunch of people. In December of last year, he was sentenced to 77 months in prison, which he is now serving.
He was sentenced in Denver, where the trial had been held. It came out that he had two previous felonies: passing a bad check and stealing upscale autos. Those were in Orange County, according to the Denver SEC office.
In the Denver trial, the prosecutor pointed out how Osborn had relocated every few weeks without advance notice, "provided false information to the probation officer," and did not provide documentation requested.
Declared the judge to Osborn, "Your conduct indicates to me that you are a con man. You just think you can say whatever you want to, and you can get whatever money you want from people, and you don't have any remorse over it."
George Sharp is a San Diegan who sued Osborn and got a judgment. Osborn paid a little bit but still owes Sharp $400,000. According to information on Sharp's website, Osborn in the early part of this century had companies named Corporate Network and World Investment Network in La Jolla, and a Corporate Network office in Carlsbad. He also ran World Investments in Pacific Beach.
Says Sharp, "Michael is a brilliant guy. He knows SEC rules better than the SEC does. He is a great salesman. He keeps finding people to scam."
Sigh. Most con men are nice guys whom people love. That's how they get away with their cons.