October 8, 2010, - 6:25 pm
As a kid growing up in the ’70s and ’80s, I used to watch “CHiPs,” about two motorcycle-riding cops in the California Highway Patrol, starring Erik Estrada as Officer Francis Llewellyn “Ponch” Poncherello and Larry Wilcox as Office Jonathan “Jon” Baker. “Ponch & Jon” in their aviator sunglasses were must see TV for my babysitter, and she would let us stay up and watch. I especially liked the show’s theme song, which has stood the test of time, even if the corny show and plots haven’t. I mean–come on–a cop show, during which (the late) Laura Branigan breaks out in song, singing “Gloria” on the streets?
CHiPs was originally written as Wilcox’s vehicle, and he was supposed to be the main star, not Estrada. But all of the girls liked the cheesy Estrada, and he became the major player of the show. Still, I always thought the all-American Wilcox was the better looking of the two and grew better looking as he got older. Even at age 63, he has aged well and still looks pretty good. Sadly, the aging’s likely to speed up a little, as yesterday, the feds filed civil and criminal charges against him in Federal Court in Florida. Read the federal complaint here. And here’s a brief summary of the accusations, which, according to the complaint, include Wilcox allegedly agreeing to kickbacks in an FBI undercover sting operation:
Federal authorities filed civil and criminal charges against a group of penny-stock promoters accused of manipulating the volume and price of microcap stocks in a series of alleged kickback schemes.
The Securities and Exchange Commission charged more than a dozen people, including Larry Wilcox, perhaps best known as Officer Jonathan “Jon” Baker on the television show “CHiPs,” which ran from 1977-1983.
Ten of the individuals, including Mr. Wilcox, face separate criminal charges, which were filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. Those criminal charges include conspiracy, securities fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud. . . .
A lawyer representing Mr. Wilcox wasn’t available to comment.
According to the SEC’s complaint filed in federal court in Florida, the plots generally involved the payment of kickbacks to purported pension-fund managers or stockbrokers, who were either undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation agents or cooperating witnesses. . . .
The SEC said the purported fund managers and stockbrokers would use their clients’ accounts to purchase the publicly traded stock of microcap issuers controlled or promoted by the individuals or companies charged in the alleged scheme.
“These penny-stock promoters paid illicit kickbacks to people who they thought would help them profit at the expense of unsuspecting investors by manipulating the price of their stock or fraudulently selling their shares,” said Eric I. Bustillo, director of the SEC’s Miami office.
The SEC alleges Mr. Wilcox, who lives in West Hills, Calif., conducted interrelated kickback schemes with two other penny-stock company executives. Mr. Wilcox and the other two men are accused of attempting to conceal the kickbacks by entering into a consulting agreement with a phony company created to receive the kickbacks. Mr. Wilcox’s company is the UC Hub Group.
Say it ain’t so, Officer Baker.
Tags: chips, civil charges, criminal charges, Erik Estrada, federal complaint, Jon, Larry Wilcox, Officer Jon Baker, Officer Jonathan "Jon" Baker, Ponch, Ponch and Jon, SEC, Securities and Exchange Commission, suit