Former Investment Radio Hosts Charged in California Ponzi Scheme

Two former radio hosts who ran several investment infomercial shows were charged with another man of orchestrating a $3 million real estate Ponzi scheme.  Kenneth Powell, 58, Kathryn Rose, 62, and Paul Charles Lascola, 68, were all charged with multiple felony counts relating to a real estate investment operation promoted through weekend radio infomercial shows called "Academy of Real Estate," "Money Intelligence" and "The Ken & Katie Show" on KVTA 1520 AM in Ventura County, California.  Powell faces forty-two felonies; Rose twenty-nine; and Lascola twenty-four.  

Authorities allege that from 2005 to 2008, investors were encouraged to attend investment seminars after listening to the infomercials.  At those seminars, potential victims were offered annual returns ranging from twelve to fourteen percent for the construction and development of vacant lots in Taft, California.  victims were promised returns of between 12 percent and 14 percent for the construction and development of vacant lots in the Central Valley city of Taft.  These returns would be funded in part by profits realized after the developed homes were sold.  In reality, few, if any, homes were built on the parcels, most of which were encumbered with liens or were already under different ownership.  The scheme was perpetuated through the use of incoming investor funds to pay returns to previous investors.  

If convicted, each of the three faces several years in state prison, with Powell facing a maximum of 52 months, Rose up to 40 months, and Lascola 35 months.