October 11, 2010, - 3:25 am
File this one under “Life Imitates Art.” Sort of.
Larry Wilcox played a cop on TV, but DebbieSchlussel.com can now exclusively report that this summer, in real life, Wilcox apparently served as an undercover informant for the FBI, Justice Department, and Securities and Exchange Commission.
On Friday, I told you about the criminal charges against former ’70s and ’80s cop show “CHiPs” star Wilcox for securities fraud in the penny stocks arena. But, unlike the rest of the mainstream media, I actually read through the file, and I can report that Wilcox already pleaded guilty, in July, to one count of criminal conspiracy to commit securities fraud. The Los Angeles Times now incorrectly reports that Wilcox is scheduled to plead guilty. In fact, his plea agreement–read it here–was entered into on July 2nd and entered into the federal court record on Thursday of last week (October 7th). Because he has already pleaded guilty, the only thing still yet to happen for Wilcox in the case is sentencing, which isn’t likely to occur until after the trial and/or pleas of his co-defendants, Anthony Mellone and Alex Parsinia.
And DebbieSchlussel.com can exclusively report that Larry Wilcox apparently served as an FBI undercover informant against his co-defendants, Mellone and Parsinia, neither of whom entered into a plea agreement and were probably unaware of the looming federal criminal charges until or just before they were filed on Thursday. More details . . .
Wilcox’s July plea agreement wasn’t made public until Thursday because, as part of his plea agreement and in exchange for a commitment from federal prosecutors to recommend a downward departure from the sentencing guidelines (a/k/a a reduced sentence), Wilcox agreed to serve as an undercover informant for the feds (per usual, the recommendation for the reduced sentence will be based on the quality of his cooperation and information). Since Wilcox’s is the only guilty plea in the case, it appears that only he was approached and flipped against his co-conspirators. The specifics are contained in a July 2, 2010 letter from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida to Wilcox’s attorney, William Richey, which is included as pages 14 and 15 of Wilcox’s plea agreement. The letter is signed by Wilcox, his attorney, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Dwight O’Quinn.
It appears that, as part of the deal for a reduced sentence, for the last three months, Wilcox was either wearing a wire, producing documents, otherwise informing on, and/or otherwise cooperating in the prosecution of Mellone and Parsinia, which may have included grand jury testimony.
It’s something that would sound far-fetched if you pitched it as a Hollywood script: a former actor who played a cop on TV hit in the ’80s gets caught in securities fraud in real life and agrees to become an informant for the feds. (The only thing close I can think of is the guy from “One Tree Hill,” who got away with selling false IDs and social security numbers, apparently to illegal aliens.)
But life is often stranger and less believable than fiction. And Larry Wilcox–formerly Officer Jonathon “Jon” Baker on CHiPs was a real-life FBI informant to save his hide from prison.
Even Erik Estrada–with his real-life cop reality show–can’t top that.
Tags: "Exclusive", actor, Alex Parsinia, Anthony Mellone, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Dwight O'Quinn, chips, confidential informant, criminal conspiracy to commit securities fraud, downward departure, Erik Estrada, FBI, Federal court, feds, guilty plea, Informant, July, Larry Wilcox, Officer Jon Baker, Officer Jonathon "Jon" Baker, one count, penny stocks, plea agreement, pleaded guilty, pled guilty, Ponch & Jon, securities fraud, sentence, sentencing, sentencing guidelines, Southern District of Florida, U.S. Attorney, undercover, undercover informant, Wilfredo A. Ferrer, William Richey