Couple accused of conning investors

Michael Osborn, already in prison, charged with another scam

Michael and Shenae Osborn
  • Michael and Shenae Osborn

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.

Virgil Williams, a co-defendant in the case

Virgil Williams, a co-defendant in the case

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.

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Comments

OK, this is confusing: The judge says: "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."

So this guy goes to jail and some other guy gets elected president for the same offense?

swell: That is exactly what I thought when I was doing research on this item. After more than 50 years of researching and writing about con men, I was horrified by the similarities between a con artist and the current president. Psychiatrist friends of mine call him a psychotic narcissist.

For a long time I have thought about doing a study and a book about the psychology of con artists. They are a fascinating breed, and not much psychological research has been done on them. Many of them con themselves. Best, Don Bauder

So "Don the Con" gets the WH and this "small potatoes" con man gets hard prison time. As another Conman used to say (the Boxing promoter with the wild hair) "Only in America":.

SportsFan0000: When I initially read the words "Don the Con," I thought you were talking about me. Then "WH" tipped me off that you were talking about the president. Best, Don Bauder

Takes a long while for some truths to be revealed. Conning Don could do hard time. Some written history books will tell how Putin gave it to the nuclear narcissist bombshell blonde guy in the WH. What a legacy that would be for the leader of our "free world". Or else it's as he sees it, Don's world, we just live in it.

shirleyberan: This con man with so many aliases is already doing hard time. As to the one in the White House, it is true that Trump lives in his own imaginary world. It's painfully obvious. Best, Don Bauder

George Sharp: Yes, yours is a good website. I took information from it, and got added information from you. Best, Don Bauder

shirleyberan: I don't know that he will be locked up as soon as he gets out of prison. The SEC suit is civil; the SEC does not have criminal powers, although Department of Justice criminal suits often rise out of SEC charges.

I know I will be accused of being a misogynist, but I think his wife should take her medicine, too. That is assuming that the government will win the suit. Best, Don Bauder

Don - my chant was in reference to the great glee of POTUS as he intentionally instigated crowds to violence when he ran against Hillary. Showed evil intent. His followers bleated "Lock HER Up", over emails. Don't know why that was hokey-dokey. Thought it is illegal. Ain't no fines high enough. But how often is justice served up?

shirleyberan: I know you were talking about President Trump inciting crowds who chant "Lock her up!" In fact, crowds in Tennessee were screaming those words last night. I keep hoping this is a nightmare, and one day we will wake up to a sane POTUS, but, alas, I may have to accept reality. Best, Don Bauder

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