A Scottish family, fleeing prosecution in Great Britain and Pennsylvania on a variety of fraud charges, was arrested Thursday in Los Angeles after setting up a credit fraud scheme in at least three locations here, authorities said.
David Wiseman, 61, his son, Anthony Wiseman, 32, and daughter, Michelle Wiseman, 26, all were ordered held without bail by a federal magistrate pending prosecution in Pennsylvania on federal racketeering and fraud charges. A fourth man, Gary Terence Ford-King, 33, chose to delay his bail hearing until next week.
Federal prosecutors say the Wisemans fled prosecution in Glasgow in 1983 on charges of conspiring to defraud two banks there. In Philadelphia, the family is accused of setting up a series of credit fraud schemes, establishing a series of sham businesses, ordering on credit nearly $3 million worth of merchandise ranging from ladies’ nylons to picnic supplies, then selling the merchandise and fleeing when the bills came in.
Assistant U.S. Atty. David Katz said the family is believed to have established at least three similar “bust out” operations--which leave creditors holding the bag when the perpetrators “bust out” into oblivion without paying the bills--in Southern California after coming here several months ago.
Los Angeles police hauled seven truckloads worth of merchandise, ranging from lamps to dog food, Easter candy and canned shrimp, out of the family’s T&D; Wholesale warehouses in Northridge, Los Angeles and Ontario.
“It does highlight how easy it is, unfortunately, to perpetrate one of these scams,” Katz said. “Here, they’re right off the boat and they’re getting major American companies to send them thousands of dollars worth of merchandise on credit, and it’s all a sham.”
Anthony Wiseman waived further hearings here and was to be returned to Pennsylvania. U.S. Magistrate George King set hearings for the others on May 29.