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Tip from U.S. Customs in Alaska helps nail DVD ‘pirate’ in Boca

The box that arrived at the U.S. Customs office in Anchorage, Alaska, from Bangkok, Thailand late last month was marked “22 DVDs.”
But the box – addressed to a Boca Raton address — weighed 13 pounds.
When suspicious customs officials opened it, they found 510 counterfeit DVD movies inside. And they called the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

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On Wednesday, an undercover sheriff’s deputy dressed as a Federal Express driver delivered the package to a house in the Mission Bay development, police said. A man signed for the package and took it inside.
Minutes later, officers went into the house and arrested Elliot Sinofsky, 55, of 10418 Lake Vista Circle, Boca Raton, charging him with possession of counterfeit DVD movies.
“In an upstairs bedroom, we found 3,000 to 4,000 counterfeit DVD movies,” said Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Detective Ronald Tomassi.
The detective said it took 10 officers three hours to “seize all the property in the house,” which he said was strewn with videodiscs, invoices and order forms.
The box of 510 discs – for which Sinofsky reportedly paid $196 – had a retail value of $10,000, the detective said.
“This is just one guy – with one box,” said Tomassi. “It happens all over the world.”
Film piracy cuts about a billion dollars a year from the film industry, said the sheriff’s detective, who has been in touch with the Motion Picture Association of America.
According to Tomassi, the suspect was allegedly selling fake DVDs on the Internet and on Ebay. Orders had come in from all over the nation – and the world, the officer said.
One order from a man in Pakistan was for 120 movies on disc.
Tomassi said Sinofsky was allegedly dealing in recently released American films as well as pornographic movies.
In addition to the DVDs, officers reportedly found packaging equipment systems, shrink wrap, labels, plastic DVD containers and computers “all used to enhance this operation.”
The lead detective said that Sinofsky confessed to conducting the piracy operation, claiming he had suffered leg injuries in a car accident several years ago and said he was unable to get a job.
Tomassi said the man limped badly and had difficulty walking.
He said Sinofsky, who turns 56 later this month, is married and has a college-age son who came home in the middle of his father’s arrest.
Sinofsky, the detective said, faces two felony counts – and may also be charged with federal law violations.
One of the charges leveled against Sinofsky Wednesday was possession of counterfeit DVDs. Tomassi said the suspect had neither a security code nor a U.S. copyright logo, which are required of legitimate sellers of DVDs.
The other felony count, the detective said, was possession of counterfeit labels for the movies.
Tomassi listed such titles as “Scarface,” “Phone Booth,” “Gangs of New York” and Walt Disney films among the faked DVDs.
He said the counterfeits were not of the same quality as legitimate DVDs, and the labels also had an amateurish look.
Sinofsky is being held at the Palm Beach County Jail.

Martinez on a roll in bid for U.S. Senate seat Poll ranks former HUD secretary high among nine Republicans looking to succeed Graham

Published Sunday, March 14, 2004
by Dale M. King

Mel Martinez is riding a wave of grassroots support.
“It’s going great,” said the candidate – one of 18 people, nine of them Republicans – already in the running for the U.S. Senate seat being given up this year by Democrat Bob Graham.

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Though it’s early in the game, and Martinez is in the middle of a crowd of high rollers from both sides of the aisle, polls put him high on the list.
A poll released by the St. Petersburg Times and Miami Herald put Martinez even with former Rep. Bill McCollum of Longwood, another GOP candidate for Graham’s seat.
On the campaign trail, though, Martinez seems more content to talk about who he is and what he’ll do than about bashing fellow candidates.
He said he is being well received by Floridians as he moves across the state to seek support.
Former secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Martinez resigned from that seat in December to put his energy into campaigning.
Describing himself as a “compassionate conservative,” Martinez said he wants to show voters “my values, my strong family values, my knowledge and experience.”
Those last two counts made a believer out of Boca Raton Mayor Steven Abrams, who has already notched his support for Martinez’ bid for the Senate seat.
“I am supporting him, I think he is good for cities,” said Abrams. “This is based on his background as HUD secretary.”
Abrams got to know Martinez when he was in that federal post when the mayor sought assistance from Uncle Sam for Boca’s $6.2 million Pearl City master plan.
The mayor said he will also be attending a fund-raiser for Martinez shortly.
Martinez attributes his gains to six weeks of grassroots campaigning across the state.
“The enthusiasm and positive response I’ve received from voters has been encouraging,” he said. “We have come a long way in a short time, but we have a long road to victory.”
He said he plans to visit all 67 of Florida’s counties to convey his “conservative principles to voters from all walks of life.”
“Clearly,” he said, “all the hard work is paying off and my positive message is resonating.”
County Commissioner Mary McCarty, former chairwoman of the county Republican Party, had kind words for the candidate. “He’s very well qualified, he has a good resume.”
“The Republicans are fortunate to have a field of good candidates,” she said, adding, “We can’t lose.”
Martinez also won praise from President George W. Bush when the chief executive named him the 12th HUD secretary in January 2001.
“Since leaving his Cuban homeland as a boy, Mel Martinez has been the embodiment of the American dream and has had great success in helping the people of his community obtain affordable housing and urban services,” the president said.
The 56-year-old candidate fled to America in 1962 as part of a Catholic humanitarian effort called Operation Pedro Pan that eventually brought 14,000 children to this country. Catholic charitable groups provided Martinez, who was alone and spoke virtually no English, a temporary home at two youth facilities. He subsequently lived with two foster families, with whom he remains close. He was reunited with his family in Orlando in 1966.
He graduated from Florida State University College of Law in 1973. During his 25 years of law practice in Orlando, he was actively involved in community activities. He and his wife have three children and two grandchildren.
The poll shows Martinez’ popularity strongest in South Florida with its large Hispanic population and in Central Florida, where he served as Orange County chairman.

Commissioners reject

Published Wednesday, February 25, 2004
by Dale M. King

Palm Beach County’s drinking water supply that serves an estimated 420,000 people will be fluoridated, as planned.
County commissioners on Tuesday rejected a plea from fluoride foes that the program be delayed until the National Research Council completes its analysis of fluoridation. The report is expected by November.
Opponents did gain a little bit of ground from the panel that has been highly stacked in favor of adding the substance renowned for its teeth-strengthening abilities.
Commissioners agreed that if the report cites health problems, it would toss out the program.
Tuesday’s vote was 5-2, with Commissioners Mary McCarty and Tony Masilotti voting in favor of delaying the program.
Last August, McCarty and Chairwoman Karen Marcus voted against fluoridation of county water following a long and boisterous hearing. Masilotti did not attend August meeting.
To date, fluoride opponents have gained little ground in their efforts to stop the chemical from being added to the water.
Freshman Commissioner Jeff Koons proposed fluoridation last year following his successful drive to fluoridate West Palm Beach water in 1991.
South Florida Citizens for Safe Drinking Water has been fighting the addition of fluoride to drinking water, claiming it is toxic and actually does little, if anything, to help tooth enamel.
Fluoride proponents said the additive has proven itself an effective anti-cavity substance through a half-century of use in municipal water supplies and in toothpaste.
Leading a barrage of fluoride proponents at last year’s hearing was Dr. Jean Malecki, director of the county Health Department, along with a number of health organizations and dental societies.
To date, the county has spent about $50,000 on water system changes needed when fluoride is introduced. Another $600,000 worth of fluoride-related work is needed, and will be combined with $11.9 million in water plant improvements.

Commissioners reject

Published Wednesday, February 25, 2004
by Dale M. King

Palm Beach County’s drinking water supply that serves an estimated 420,000 people will be fluoridated, as planned.
County commissioners on Tuesday rejected a plea from fluoride foes that the program be delayed until the National Research Council completes its analysis of fluoridation. The report is expected by November.
Opponents did gain a little bit of ground from the panel that has been highly stacked in favor of adding the substance renowned for its teeth-strengthening abilities.
Commissioners agreed that if the report cites health problems, it would toss out the program.
Tuesday’s vote was 5-2, with Commissioners Mary McCarty and Tony Masilotti voting in favor of delaying the program.
Last August, McCarty and Chairwoman Karen Marcus voted against fluoridation of county water following a long and boisterous hearing. Masilotti did not attend August meeting.
To date, fluoride opponents have gained little ground in their efforts to stop the chemical from being added to the water.
Freshman Commissioner Jeff Koons proposed fluoridation last year following his successful drive to fluoridate West Palm Beach water in 1991.
South Florida Citizens for Safe Drinking Water has been fighting the addition of fluoride to drinking water, claiming it is toxic and actually does little, if anything, to help tooth enamel.
Fluoride proponents said the additive has proven itself an effective anti-cavity substance through a half-century of use in municipal water supplies and in toothpaste.
Leading a barrage of fluoride proponents at last year’s hearing was Dr. Jean Malecki, director of the county Health Department, along with a number of health organizations and dental societies.
To date, the county has spent about $50,000 on water system changes needed when fluoride is introduced. Another $600,000 worth of fluoride-related work is needed, and will be combined with $11.9 million in water plant improvements.

Archaeology officials eyeing move to Cartoon Museum Graves Museum says Mizner Park

Published Thursday, April 1, 2004
by Dale M. King

Could dinosaur bones and artifacts replace Donald Duck and Goofy at the former International Museum of Cartoon Art in Boca Raton?
An archaeological museum that just sold off its building in Dania Beach is hoping to move its collection to the closed Mizner Park facility.

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“Our building has been sold and we are moving to another location,” said Rudy Pascucci, director of the Graves Museum of Archeology and Natural History. The Cartoon Museum is “the preferred site,” he said, adding that he realizes there is competition for the Boca venue.
Leading contender for the building that’s been shuttered since July of 2002 is a tolerance and human rights museum proposed by a group of residents led by the League for Educational Awareness of the Holocaust (LEAH).
“At this point, we have an agreement with LEAH,” said Gary Schweikhart, spokesman for Mort and Catherine Walker, who head the corporation that owns the Cartoon Museum building.
The LEAH-led group has put a down payment on the structure, and is awaiting approval from the Community Redevelopment Agency. The CRA controls development in downtown Boca Raton and Mizner Park.
Deed covenants on the land require the building to be used for cultural purposes.
In one last effort before moving ahead with the LEAH proposal, the city has advertised – once and for all – for proposed uses of the Cartoon Museum.
Schweikhart said the Graves Museum had expressed an interest in the building several months ago, but never made a proposal.
But one is coming within a month, said Pascucci. The city’s deadline for accepting proposals is May 5.
Pascucci said the Cartoon Museum “would be an ideal location for a national
history museum.”
He said he is a Boca Raton resident, as are three of the museum’s trustees. He said the facility is trying to strengthen its ties to both Florida Atlantic and Lynn universities in Boca Raton.
The museum has been located since 1992 in a 50,000-square foot former warehouse.
Pascucci said museum officials are checking out several sites for relocation.
It doesn’t have to move immediately, he noted. Once the new owner closes on the property, “we have several months. It’s not like you can back a moving van up to the door.”
If the museum doesn’t find a new site right away, it may move to temporary quarters or put its property in storage.
He said the museum has a collection of pre-Colombian pottery, actual dinosaur bones and wares unearthed in archaeological digs right in South Florida.
It is also home to FAU’s Pleistocene Era collection. It also has artifacts from the Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Chinese and Japanese dynasties. “We have the robe that belonged to the last emperor of China,” he said.
The Education Department offers tours, workshops and outreaches. “We also have the satellite school where children come to the museum and have school in the museum for the day,” Pascucci said.
The museum also offers classes through FAU’s Lifelong Learning Center.

Boca firm revives request to do research on body-freezing

A Boca Raton firm has apparently resurrected its proposal to do research on freezing dead humans for possible later revival.
Suspended Animation Inc. has notified local officials that it will present its proposal to the City Council at a hearing Tuesday at 6 p.m. in City Hall.
Planning and Zoning Director Carmen Annunziato said he has received a letter from Suspended Animation’s attorney saying she will attend Tuesday’s hearing and a presentation will be made.

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Two City Council members told the News in interviews late last year that they had heard the firm was going to pull out after receiving a unanimous rejection vote from the Planning & Zoning Board following a public hearing last November.
The News contacted the company last week, but was told that President David Shumaker and Chief Operating Officer David Hayes were out of town, and would be for several weeks – including this week.
A call to the firm’s lawyer was not returned.
In addition to the thumbs-down recommendation from the P&Z; Board, Suspended Animation’s proposal has been soundly protested by animal rights activists who demonstrated outside City Hall the night of the Planning & Zoning hearing.
“Cryopreservation” is a process of extreme low-temperature freezing of bodies for eventual reawakening.
In its application filed at City Hall, the firm says most of its work – some 95 percent – will be in research on the cryopreservation process.
The fact that Suspended Animation would be using rats and previously euthanized dogs in its experiments has raised the ire the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF) which organized the protest.
Also weighing in on the negative side is City Manager Leif Ahnell. In a letter going to the council in advance of Tuesday’s hearing, he is recommending rejecting the request for a conditional use permit for the research and testing facility at 1082 Rogers Circle in the South Congress Industrial Center.
Ahnell said human cryopreservation is not permissible in the zoning district where the building is located.
Also, he said, the Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers requires the firm to file for licensing unless it receives an exemption from the state legislature.
The city manager also said he does not know how the state will regulate the body-freezing industry.
In an earlier interview with the News, Shumaker said Suspended Animation wants to research how to slow tissue growth with extreme cold so that a body can be frozen now and thawed later. It is not a revival, he said, so much as a restoration of life processes.
“This is being done right now on a tissue and organ level,” he said. “But we haven’t been able to do it with an entire organism.”
The idea of freezing bodies gained new recognition when retired Boston Red Sox slugger Ted Williams was put on ice following his death.
Shumaker said about 1,000 people have signed up to be frozen.
The application said the firm’s building will remain virtually unchanged. Plans call for the creation of a couple of labs and a preparation room inside, but nothing that would change the exterior.
The Life Extension Foundation of Fort Lauderdale funds Suspended Animation Inc., its application says, and 5300 Palisades Avenue Association LLC of New Jersey owns it.

What’s so a-peeling?

Aging skin, sun damage, sagging skin and wrinkles may be a patient’s worst nightmare, but there is good news!
We continue to see advances in new non-surgical procedures to help patients improve their appearance. The result is more varied and affordable choices, regardless of your skin’s current condition – without having to undergo surgery.
People often think that surgery is the panacea for aging skin, but this is not true. In fact, people often don’t realize that surgery alone does not make aging skin look younger. While a facelift can tighten sagging muscles and remove excess tissue, it will not restore aging skin to its former youthful glow and vibrant appearance. For this, a chemical peel, laser skin resurfacing or CoblationÆ (a procedure that combines electrical energy with sterile salt solutions) is required.
One of the best procedures currently available for those looking to banish deeper wrinkles and eradicate skin damage is the Skin Rejuvenation Peel!”, the deepest of all the peels, which I consider to be the mother of all peels.

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I consider this peel to be the gold standard for rejuvenating skin non-surgically, as it is highly effective at removing deep lines and wrinkles, brown spots, sun damage and uneven pigmentation.
The Skin Rejuvenation Peel can also tighten the skin, shorten the earlobes (which grow longer as we age) and improve baggy areas under the eyes. The results can be remarkable with no cutting!
An added benefit to the Skin Rejuvenation Peel is the longevity of its effects, which have been described in medical literature to last up to 20 years. Very few procedures in plastic surgery can claim such lasting results.
How does it work?
For this peel, I use phenol and buffers, which are applied to the skin’s surface. The phenol penetrates the outer layers of the skin to remove years of sun damage, wrinkles, blemishes, brown spots, under eye circles, lip lines, forehead and frown lines, masking and discolorations, surface acne scars, and even pre-cancerous areas. The results are excellent.
If you are unhappy with your skin’s appearance, don’t assume that surgery is necessary. A variety of effective peels and other non-surgical techniques for improving the skin are available.
The key is to customize the peel to the patient’s individual needs.
Before having a peel or any other procedure, be sure to have your doctor fully explain what is involved, including duration, healing time and any discomfort that will be involved. It’s also important to find a doctor who is board certified in plastic surgery and has performed many of these procedure. It’s also a good idea to see before-and-after photos and to talk to patients. And most of all, be sure to find a doctor with whom you feel comfortable.

For more information readers may order a copy of Dr. Man’s new guidebook to cosmetic surgery called “The New Art of Man: Faces of Plastic Surgery” at www.drman.com. Contact: Daniel Man, M.D., 851 Meadows Road, Suite 222, Boca Raton, Florida. Phone 561-395-5508. Visit Dr. Man online at www.drman.com. His office is located directly across from Boca Raton Community Hospital.

A sign of anti-Semitism?

Published Friday, March 19, 2004
by Ashley Harrell

After two weeks of fuming phone calls and anonymous complaints to the school district, a group of 30 Sunrise Park Elementary parents succeeded in removing a Temple Beth Shira banner from the front of the school – but not for long.
The sign, which displays a Star of David symbol as part of the temple’s logo, was taken down on the orders of Principal Alan Goldstein.

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But Thursday he reconsidered.
“The temple rented a space from us, and the legal department said it was okay,” said Goldstein. “That was the only organization that came to me. If a church or a mosque comes, they’re free to rent space as well.”
Although Goldstein said he removed the sign Wednesday in an attempt to avoid a separation church and state fiasco, he has made the decision to hang it back up after consulting the school district.
Legally, there is nothing to prevent the temple’s banner, or any other organizations’ banner, from being displayed in front of the school as long as the space has been paid for, according to Palm Beach County spokesman Nat Harrington.
“Several of our schools are currently leased for religious activities, which is legal. I’m not aware of any prohibition on advertising the activity at a school,” said Harrington.
But parents say that legal or not, the banner has no place at the entrance to their school five days a week.
“I don’t think that’s appropriate and neither do a lot of the other parents,” said a mother who declined to give her name. “The people who aren’t Jewish don’t want to feel like we’re taking our children to Hebrew school.”
Because the banner was the sole decoration draped in front of the school, parents complained that it appeared to be the name of the building.
They also argued that a nativity scene was disallowed on the campus during the holidays, and therefore the Jewish symbol should meet with the same fate.
“The Jewish community would be in uproar if there was a cross up,” said another anonymous parent. “It would be taken down in an hour’s time, but we have such a small voice in the community.”
Some of the parents said they were disturbed by rumors that the principal had plans to make the school a Jewish school eventually, and one said her daughter recently came home singing a Hanukkah song, which was unacceptable to her.
“It’s turning into what seems to be a Jewish school, and that’s not where I’m sending my daughter. She comes home drawing pictures of Jewish symbols and singing Jewish songs,” she said. “We are a large majority of people who help with the fundraisers and volunteer. It will really put a damper on things if we are not met in the middle on this.”
In an attempt to remove the sign two weeks ago, someone actually stole it, according to Cantor Bruce Benson of Temple Beth Shira, who replaced it with a new one.
“The arrogance in their belief that they have entitlement to decide who can do what is so outrageous that they stole the sign off school property in the middle of the afternoon. They apparently have no concern that what they were doing was illegal, immoral and unethical,” said Benson.
Shocked that a blatant act of anti-Semitism could take place in Boca Raton, Benson said he is saddened and outraged at the same time.
The sign hangs with the legal rights accorded to any church or civic group in Palm Beach County, according to Benson, who has been and continues to be in compliance with the law.
“Individuals who dislike the idea that the Jewish community should have equal rights to the non-Jewish community have embarked on a hateful and hurtful attack on everything that is decent and that America stands for,” he said.
Three church signs hang in front of Spanish River High school on Yamato Road, which parent Rick Alovis said is perfectly fine with him.
“Other schools do it, and why shouldn’t Sunrise Park?” said Alovis. “Listen, this is America. If the school board is allowing organizations to put up signs, then there shouldn’t be a problem. If a church wants to put up a sign here, they should lease some space.”
People who drive by the school are well aware that it’s a school, and not a temple, according to Alovis.
“If the sign needs to be tweaked, it should be tweaked, but there is no reason in the world that churches should be able to hang a sign and not a temple,” he said.
The agreement, which will be handed down in writing from the school board, states that certain language will be added to the sign to clarify that Temple Beth Shira only meets at Sunrise Park Elementary so as to eliminate the confusion that the building is in fact Temple Beth Shira.

Election violence surfaces in South Florida

Election-related violence is on the rise this week in South Florida as impassioned Republicans and Democrats duke it out at rallies and the polls.
Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans and Independents in Palm Beach County, where voters last week began casting early ballots for the Nov. 2 general election, and strained feelings are already leading to hostility. In Boca Raton this weekend, county Republicans filled out police reports for shattered car windows at a Friday rally and a vandalism incident Sunday night at their headquarters.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Jenni Garrison, executive director of the Republican Party of Palm Beach County, said yesterday. “This is our first presidential election since 2000 and people are already nervous and scared about using the new machines. This contentiousness just adds to their anxiety.”

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Garrison said the nastiness is also evident from Republican volunteers, adding that she hopes both parties will crack down on it.
“I’ve already removed people from polling places for behaving inappropriately and antagonizing Democratic voters,” Garrison said. “We’ve also removed inappropriate signs. We’re not out there to harass the voters and behave like four-year olds. We’re there to support our president.”
Sunday’s incident occurred at the GOP’s Boca headquarters on North Federal Highway between 7 and 11 p.m. The unknown perpetrator tampered with the deadbolt on the office door, locking party workers out of the office when they discovered that their keys no longer worked.
“The brown shirts have arrived and they’re all Democrats,” said Sid Dinerstein, county GOP chairman.
Also on Sunday night, a student leading a Republican protest at Florida Atlantic University saw her Ford Explorer vandalized by Democrats attending a John Kerry rally. University police responded to the incident and eventually broke it up.
“Some people surrounded us and started yelling obscenities and racist comments at me,” said Dana Roberts, FAU College Republican chairwoman. “I’m African-American and they were yelling that I’ve sided with the Ku Klux Klan. There were people telling them to stop, but they poured beer on the car and vandalized it with Kerry bumper stickers.”
Between 5 and 7 p.m. Friday, an unknown Kerry supporter drove by a GOP rally near a K-Mart on Palmetto Park Road and threw rocks and sand at rally-goers. Several car windows were broken.
“I was singled out as the leader and had rocks thrown in my face,” said Jack Furnari, president of the Boca Raton Republicans.
Sources at Boca PD yesterday confirmed the two police reports, but declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) said there have been no arrests at polling places patrolled by her department.
“We do have a law enforcement presence at polling places in our jurisdiction,” said Commander Diane Carhart, Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman. “No election-related crime has been reported to my knowledge.”
Florida, along with Ohio and Pennsylvania, is one of three states where the presidential election is still a statistical dead heat between George W. Bush and John Kerry.
The Republican and Democratic candidates for president in recent weeks have joined party leaders for a multi-million dollar storm of negative campaigning and advertising throughout the state. Bush and Kerry, at rallies designed to motivate their party faithful, have accused each other of trying to scare the electorate in the same breath they relentlessly attack one another as radicals who very frighteningly don’t represent mainstream American values.
“This is the big week,” said state Rep. Adam Hasner, a Republican representing South Palm Beach County. “Everyone’s a little bit on edge.”

Scoundrels on line

Published Friday, January 30, 2004
by Dale M. King

Deep in the bowels of the World Wide Web lies an accumulation of scoundrels.

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A mouse click on a secretive Web site may unfold the sins and shortcomings of a variety of white-collar rats.
Link by link, names are associated with other names in what the Web’s anonymous author surmises to be a vast conspiracy.
Readers who sink into this cyber-nadir will see creatures flittering around like bats in a cave that never see the light of day.
Many of those named on the site see little light of day, since they are languishing in jail cells. Others, though, have tasted their just desserts and decided to become “inactive,” the Web site says. Some have gone back into mainstream society, having paid for their crimes and gone back to the straight and narrow.
Still, the cabal of culprits remains locked in a vast electronic maze, their identities encoded on metallic chips with a cornucopia of other data.
For weeks, the Boca Raton News has been investigating the presence of white-collar criminals, scammers and purveyors of securities fraud who have holed up in the guarded and gated communities around the city.
The public has responded with e-mails asking for more, saying the articles have “just scratched the surface.”
The Web site listing a vast array of ne’er-do-wells offers some with Boca connections.
One who shows up with disquieting frequency is Charles Ira “Chuck” Fremer, identified as director of Foreign Currency International and Capital Concept Marketing, both with addresses at 4700 NW Second Ave., Boca Raton.
In 2001, the Pennsylvania Securities Commission issued a cease and desist order against Capital Concept Marketing and Fremer “to halt the offer and sale of unregistered securities” in that state.
Scott Lane, assistant director of the commission’s Division of Enforcement, Litigation and Compliance, said the firm offered in October 2001 the sale of accounts receivable purchase agreements for payday advance loans offering a 36 percent rate of return. A month later, Lane said, Fremer’s firm – on behalf of U.S. Funding Co.– offered funding agreements said to pay 20 to 25 percent.
Soon after, the state stepped in and ordered the company “to make no more solicitations.”
In addition, a complaint from the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey accused U.S. Funding Corp. and Angelica Gwinnett of Paramus, N.J., of “defrauding investors” by allegedly selling the high-rate-of-return securities from October 2001 to April 2002.
The complaint says U.S. Funding skimmed 35 percent as a commission for Capital Concept Marketing. Swinnett allegedly took $300,000 of investor funds and “misappropriated” it. Among those “misappropriations” as a weekend in Las Vegas, the complaint says.
Fremer’s name also shows up as an agent of a number of South Florida firms.
The News could not find a telephone number for Fremer.
Another person whose name popped up frequently was Jayson Scott Kline. He was identified on the Web as a serial scammer who was barred in 1992 from selling securities for “[failure] to uphold high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade in the conduct of his commodity futures business.”
A 1992 news release from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission says Kline, along with Richard Love of Sunrise and Bachus & Stratton Commodies of Pompano Beach violated anti-fraud provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act.
Those involved “neither admitted nor denied the allegations in the CFTC’s complaint.”
Kline was listed as an associate of Fremer. Both allegedly owned companies called Foreign Currency International, Kline in Georgia, Fremer in Florida.
In 1998, a district attorney in Georgia investigated Kline. He is also listed as a director of Gibraltar Monetary Corp., located at 4700 NW Second Ave., Boca Raton – which lists Fremer as its main director. Thomas Clancy of Sunrise is the firm’s third director.
The list says Joseph J. Marchiano, a director of Alpine Financial Corp. of 1900 Glades Road, Boca Raton, also ran afoul of the securities law.
A CTFC news release says Marchiano was acting as a registered introducing broker, but was actually not registered. He was ordered to pay a $10,000 civil penalty.
In addition, he was also named in an earlier proceeding involving American Futures Group. The CTFC said that from September 1991 to December 1993, Marchiano, George J. Perk and Thomas G. Reeves “violated the anti-fraud provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC regulations by, among other things, cheating and defrauding customers and potential customers by making false, deceptive or misleading representations and omitting material facts concerning the likelihood of profit and risk of loss.’
The complaint says employees in American Futures Group’s Aventura office “induced customers to reinvest proceeds or purchase additional commodity options contracts,” practices known as “rolling” and “loading” for the “sole purpose of maximizing commissions, at the expense of customers.”
Another name on the site is that of attorney Kim Mollica of Boca Raton. She is not, however, accused of any wrongdoing.
The site lists her as an agent for nearly two dozen South Florida firms – including the Miss Nude Florida Pageant Inc.
The News left a message at her office this week, but the call was not returned.