3 Men Accused of Trying to Defraud Stockholders

Times Staff Writer

Two reputed organized crime figures and a San Fernando Valley man have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that they schemed to defraud General Enertech Corp. stockholders by fraudulently transfering hundreds of thousands of shares of the firm's stock.

A seven-count indictment, sought by the U.S. Justice Department's Organized Crime Task Force, named Michael A. Rizzitello, 59, of Canoga Park, Robert George Paduano, 43, of Newport Beach and Nicholas Nardi, 66, of Chatsworth.

The indictment accuses the three of securing the illegal transfer of more than 400,000 shares of General Enertech, a Montana firm, in 1981 by bribing an official of a stock registration and transfer firm, then selling the stock for about $144,000.

Tico Financial, a Tustin firm headed by Paduano, received 11,000 shares of Enertech, and another 200,000 shares were transferred to Tangible Investments Inc., headed by Nardi, the indictment charged.

Rizzitello, a reputed West Coast Mafia leader, is now serving a federal prison term in Texas for trying to take over Los Angeles' pornography and bookmaking trade. He was convicted on those charges in 1980, along with four other Southern California men believed by federal prosecutors to make up the upper echelon of the Los Angeles Mafia family.

Paduano was linked to organized crime in a 1978 report by the state attorney general's office, and has a history of arrests for crimes including arson, loan sharking and conspiracy to distribute cocaine, authorities said.

The current indictment stems from a two-year investigation. Three others indicted last year in connection with the case were convicted in February after an eight-week trial in federal court here.

Attorney Anthony P. Brooklier, representing Paduano, said Friday that the case is so old "(it) has whiskers on it. There is a real issue of pre-indictment delay and a statute of limitation problem."

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